Palme d'Or winner wins best picture prize

Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Class” drew the best picture nod at France’s Lumiere Awards on Monday night.

Helmer Laurent Cantet was joined by the film’s students, all non-pros, at a standing ovation.

“The Class” had garnered four noms along with Francois Dupeyron’s “With a Little Help From Myself” and Martin Provost’s “Seraphine.” Short-listed in the Oscar’s foreign-language category, “The Class” also is considered a favorite for the Cesars, which take place next month.

Dupeyron won the director prize for “With a Little Help From Myself,” a tragicomedy about the ups and downs of a family of immigrants in the outskirts of Paris. Pic, which bowed in France in November, has screened in the Toronto, Tokyo and Rome fests.

“I was completely free making this film,” Dupeyron said. “It’s now more and more difficult to make films the way we envision them because of pressure from TV networks which partly finance.”

Yolande Moreau won the actress nod for her performance in “Seraphine,” which has tallied more than 500,000 admissions in France and has recently been picked up in key territories including the U.K. and the U.S.

Vincent Cassel nabbed actor kudos for his role as France’s most dangerous-yet-charismatic bank robber in the two-part film “Mesrine.”

The script nod went to Samuel Benchetrit for “I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster,” which nabbed last year’s Sundance World Cinema Screenwriting Award.

Conceived as the French equivalent of the Golden Globes by Unifrance’s former president Daniel Toscan du Plantier, the Lumieres Awards are voted on by Paris-based journalists.

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