‘Diving Bell’ nabs Prix Lumieres prize

Schnabel’s drama wins best picture

Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a biopic of the vivid inner life of a paralyzed French fashion editor, took best picture at this year’s Prix Lumieres in Paris.

The Lumieres are Gaul’s equivalent of the Golden Globes, with winners being decided by a committee of some 200 foreign journalists based in France.

“Diving Bell,” which had earned Schnabel a director nod at Cannes, was a massive critical, if not commercial, hit in the U.S., with just over 315,000 first-run tickets sold.

Mathieu Amalric (“Munich”) also won for actor for his portrayal of the stricken editor in “Diving Bell.”

Director nod went to Abdellatif Kechiche for “The Secret of the Grain,” which also netted Hafsia Herzi honors for top female newcomer.

Male newcomer kudo was awarded to Jocelyn Quivrin for his work in Jan Kounen’s big-budget black comedy “99 Francs,” which, despite taking more than $10.8 million domestically and counting more than 1.23 million admissions, was considered an underperformer in France.

The French domestic and international hit of 2007, “La Vie en rose,” earned the actress nod for Marion Cotillard, as well as event sponsor TV5Monde’s World Public Award. The Edith Piaf biopic sold more than 5.23 million tickets in Gaul, grossing more than $46 million.

Alfred Lot took the screenplay prize for his thriller “La Chambre des morts,” which he also directed.

Helmer Nadir Mokneche’s Franco-Algerian drama “Delice Paloma” won for French-language foreign film.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the low-key affair was master of ceremonies’ Claude Lelouch’s glowing tribute to thesp Jean-Pierre Marielle for his 50 years and 54 films as an actor.