Cravenne created Oscar inspired French trophy

This year’s Cesar Awards will pay bittersweet homage to their originator, Georges Cravenne, who died Jan. 9 at 94.

Cravenne created the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema in 1974 and the Cesar Awards a year later. Ever since, France’s equivalent of the American motion picture academy and its Oscar ceremony and statuette have honored Gallic film artisans, thesps and execs.

Cravenne was admired in French industry circles for his skills as a fixer, press agent and friend to the stars. “He was one of a kind, with a classiness and work ethic his peers couldn’t approach,” Brigitte Bardot tells Variety.

“Sometimes I would skip a press conference or a premiere of one of my films (which he was launching),” she says. “I used to drive him up the wall, but he never once held it against me.”

Cravenne became obsessed with Hollywood’s Oscars in his younger days. The French equivalent was launched years later when Cravenne found the perfect expression for his vision in a gilded statue made by Marseille sculptor Cesar Baldaccini, hence the name. At that moment, another five-letter legend was born.

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