Jeunet pic takes 12 noms in most categories

PARIS — Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “A Very Long Engagement” has grabbed 12 nominations for the Cesars, France’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, announced Monday.

Pic racked up 12 nods in most categories including French film, director, actress for Audrey Tautou, screenplay for Jeunet and co-writer Guillaume Laurant, and cinematography for Bruno Delbonnel.

Olivier Marchal’s Gaumont-produced police thriller “36″ and France’s Oscar entry and 2004 box office topper “Les Choristes” both received eight noms.

Arnaud Desplechin’s auteur hit “Kings and Queen,” recent winner of the Prix Louis Delluc for French film of 2004, garnered seven noms.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s “L’esquive,” another well-liked arthouse film, notched up six noms, including film, director and screenplay.

Unusually, the frontrunners also included a comedy, Yann Moix’s debut film, “Podium,” with five noms including actor for Benoit Poelvoorde’s turn as an impersonator of the 70s French pop icon Claude Francois.

Nominations for best film from the European Union went to Ken Loach’s “Just a Kiss,” Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education,” Jonathan Nossiter’s wine biz docu “Mondovino,” Ingmar Bergman’s “Saraband” and Emir Kusturica’s “Life is a Miracle.”

Foreign film nominations went to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “21 Grams,” Walter Salles’ “Motorcycle Diaries,” Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11″ and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.”

Will Smith and Gallic actor/singer-songwriter Jacques Dutronc will receive honorary Cesars.

The Cesars awards ceremony takes place in Paris Feb. 26.

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