Ford presents helmer with award at fest in Deauville

PARIS — Six months after winning director Oscar for “The Pianist,” Roman Polanski finally got his hands on the prized statuette Sunday — on French soil.

Fulfilling a promise he made at March’s Academy Awards ceremony, Harrison Ford handed the statuette to the helmer who directed him in “Frantic” in an impromptu ceremony at the Festival of American Film in Deauville.

“Maybe we should kiss … with tongues,” Polanski quipped before a posse of photographers.

But unlike Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera at last month’s MTV Music Video Awards, the helmer and the actor settled for a more gentlemanly handshake as they smiled for the cameras.

Polanski, who watched the Academy Awards on TV at his home in France, cannot enter the U.S. after fleeing the country 25 years ago following his conviction on a sexual assault charge and now lives and works in Paris.

He is prexy of the jury at Deauville, which kicked off Friday when Ford was guest of honor at the opening night screening of “Hollywood Homicide.” A smiling and obviously touched Ford was also made an honorary citizen of Deauville.

Saturday’s showing of “Seabiscuit” with scripter-helmer Gary Ross, Spyglass’ Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum and star Tobey Maguire in attendance was well-received, although the true story behind the equine meller is virtually unknown in Gaul.

On Sunday night, juror Ben Kingsley delivered a heartfelt official tribute to helmer James Ivory.

At a press conference with much of the cast of “Le Divorce” sharing the podium, Ivory said, “I see the film as a rebuttal to all the nonsense that went on in the United States a few weeks ago with French wine being poured down drains and French fries being renamed ‘freedom fries.’ If what’s happening now is a divorce, it’s the kind of divorce where people still sneak back to sleep with each other. We’ve been friends and lovers for over 200 years.”

Fest ends Sept. 14.

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