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‘Gods and Men,’ ‘Ghost Writer’ top Cesars

French friend 'Social Network'

Xavier Beauvois’ “Of Gods and Men” and Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” topped kudos Friday night at Gaul’s 36th Cesar Awards ceremony, hosted by Jodie Foster as honorary president.

David Fincher’s “The Social Network” took the foreign-lingo prize, beating Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus.”

A tale of monks killed by Algerian fundamentalists amid post-colonial strife, “Of Gods and Men” snatched film and supporting actor for Michael Lonsdale while Polanski’s”The Ghost Writer” nabbed director and adapted screenplay (shared with co-scribe Robert Harris).

“Of Gods and Men,” produced by Why Not Films (“A Prophet”), bowed at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. While it failed to make it into the foreign-language Oscar longlist, pic has been a critical and commercial success in Gaul.

“I finished this film while in jail, so I would like to thank all the people who helped me and supported me until the very end,” said the Polish-born French helmer. “The Ghost Writer” is one of the rare English-language pics eligible for the best pic Cesar as it is a French-majority co-production.

Political satire “The Names of Love” was the evening’s surprise winner, taking original screenplay for Baya Kasmi and Michel Leclerc, and thesp for 25-year-old Sara Forestier, who plays a politician sleeping her way up the ladder.

With laffers like Francois Ozon’s “Potiche,” Michel Leclerc’s social satire “The Names of Love” and Pascal Chaumeil’s “Heartbreaker” nommed for multiple kudos, this year’s Cesars appeared to celebrate comedies, a genre often overlooked by the French Academy.

Nominated for eight Cesars, “Gainsbourg” took three, including actor for Eric Elmosnino and first film for comicbook artist-turned-helmer Joann Sfar.

Pic was Universal Pictures Intl.’s first co-production in Gaul and animation vet producer Marc du Pontavice’s first feature. The fantasy-filled biopic was nabbed by Music Box Films for U.S. distribution. Sfar beat strong contenders in the first film category, including Chaumeil’s “Heartbreaker,” and Geraldine Nakache and Herve Mimran’s “All That Glitters,” both of which were commercial successes.

Social dramedy “All That Glitters” snatched the newcomer prize for Leila Bekhti, who played a twentysomething with big dreams. Venezuelan thesp Edgar Ramirez took the newcomer nod for his perf in Olivier Assayas’ Golden Globe-winning pic “Carlos.”

Foster opened the ceremony by paying homage to Gallic masters in perfect French.

“It’s a big deal for a California girl like me to serve as the Cesar’s honorary president,” Foster said. “It’s as if I had been adopted by the family of French cinema, Claude Chabrol, Jean Renoir, Louis Malle, Philippe de Broca and many others.”

Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist” took the Cesars’ first animation nod. Quentin Tarantino was feted by the French Academy of Arts and Sciences with an honorary Cesar. Presented by Diane Kruger and Christopher Waltz, who starred in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” the homage featured clips from the helmer’s cult pics.

Complete list of winners:


“Of Gods and Men,” Xavier Beauvois


Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer


Eric Elmosnino, “Gainsbourg”


Sara Forestier, “The Names of Love”


Michael Lonsdale, “Of Gods and Men”


Anne Alvaro, “The Clink of Ice”


Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”


Leila Bekhti, “All That Glitters”


Herve de Luze, “Ghost Writer”


Caroline charpentier “Of Gods and Men”


Joann Sfar, “Gainsbourg”


Baya Kasmi, Michel Leclerc, “The Names of Love”


Robert Harris, Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer”


Caroline de Vivaise, “The Princess of Montpensier”


“Logorama,” François Alaux, Hervé de Crecy, Ludovic Houplain


Alexandre Desplat, “The Ghost Writer”


Hugues Tissandier, “Les Aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec”


Daniel Sobrino, Jean Goudier, Jean-Baptiste Brunhes, “Gainsbourg”


“The Social Network,” David Fincher


“The Illusionist,” Sylvain Chomet


“Oceans,” Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud

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