×

‘Elle,’ ‘Divines’ Celebrated at France’s Lumieres Awards

Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” and Houda Benyamina’s “Divines” won the main prizes at this year’s Lumieres Awards, France’s equivalent to the Golden Globes.

“Elle,” which competed at Cannes, won the Lumieres prizes for best film, director and actress for Isabelle Huppert. The French thesp, who just won the Golden Globe, will vie for an Oscar and a Cesar next month.

Verhoeven did not attend the ceremony, which was held Monday in Paris, as he is currently in the U.S. But in a prepared video, he thanked the Lumieres Academie, his producers Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt, and Huppert, whom he praised for her “talent, audacity and everything she brought to the film.” Alluding to the current political turmoil in the U.S., Verhoeven also said he hoped to make his next film in France.

Ben Said called “Elle” a “French miracle” which “could not have been made in another country.” “Me, the son of an immigrant, I am so proud to be French today,” added the producer, whose recent credits include “Aquarius” and “Maps to the Stars.”

Huppert said she was particularly moved to receive the best actress prize from the foreign press in Paris because she has always been attracted to working with foreign filmmakers and in new territories all over the world. The actress added that she had dreamed of working with Verhoeven since discovering his Dutch films as a teenager.

Popular on Variety

Benyamina’s “Divines,” which world-premiered at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, won best first film, and its two lead actresses, Oulaya Amamra and Déborah Lukumuena (pictured above), shared the prize for best female newcomer.

Lukimena and Amamra, who are also nominated for Cesars, thanked Benyamina and producer Marc-Benoit Creancier for entrusting them with challenging roles even though they were unknown actresses.

Albert Serra’s “The Death of Louis XIV” and Claude Barras’ “My Life as a Zucchini” won two awards each. “My Life as a Zucchini,” which is nominated for an Oscar, won best animated feature and script for Celine Sciamma, a critically acclaimed filmmaker whose credits include “Girlhood.”

“The Death of Louis XIV” nabbed the awards for best actor, for French New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud, and cinematography, for Jonathan Ricquebourg.

Damien Bonnard won best male newcomer for his performance in Alain Guiraudie’s “Stay Vertical,” which competed at Cannes.

Mohamed Ben Attia’s “Hedi” won best French-language foreign film, while Safy Nebbou’s “In the Forest of Siberia” won best music (for Ibrahim Maalouf).

The Lumieres Academie also paid tribute to Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director and general delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, and to Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard.

Upon receiving the Lumieres Award (in association with Variety), Fremaux quipped that “receiving an honorary award was like dancing a slow [dance] with your sister,” because it’s a non-contested prize. “But still, it’s delightful.”

Fremaux also took the opportunity to pay homage to Jean Hernandez, a well-respected distributor and arthouse theater programmer who recently died. “If cinema is as rich as it is today, it is thanks to people like Jean Hernandez.”

Fremaux added that he was grateful to former Cannes president Gilles Jacob for giving him the position of artistic director, and to filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, whom he “owes everything to, or almost everything.”

Tavernier presides over the Lumiere Institute in Lyon and the annual Lumiere festival, which is headed by Fremaux and is dedicated to heritage films.

Tavernier, who was on hand at the ceremony, won the best documentary award with his film “Journey Through French Cinema.”

More Film

  • Dan Scanlon (L) and US producer

    Berlin: Director Dan Scanlon Discusses Pixar’s 'Onward,' and His Michigan Inspiration

    Pixar’s “Onward” saw its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the film’s director, Dan Scanlon, and producer, Kori Rae, talked to the press at the festival about the film, which follows brother elves on a magical quest to reconnect with their late father. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voice the brothers who [...]

  • Johnny Depp arrives for the 'Minamata'

    Johnny Depp on 'Power of the Small' at Launch of 'Minamata' at Berlin Film Festival

    Johnny Depp arrived at the Berlin Film Festival Friday to support the film “Minamata,” in which he plays celebrated war photographer W. Eugene Smith. In the film, based on real events, Smith is pitted against a powerful corporation responsible for poisoning with mercury the people of Minamata in Japan in 1971. Directed by Andrew Levitas, [...]

  • "Last Film Show"

    Berlin: Orange Studio Launches 'The Last Film Show,' 'Old Fashioned, 'Love Song For Tough Guys' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Under the new leadership of industry veteran Kristina Zimmermann, Orange Studio, the film/TV division of the French telco group Orange, is launching three new projects at Berlin’s European Film Market: “Last Film Show,” “Old Fashioned” and “Love Song for Tough Guys.” Directed by Pan Nalin (“Samsara”), “Last Film Show” follows Samay, a 9-year-old boy living [...]

  • Bootlegger

    Best Friend Forever Acquires Cannes' Cinefondation Prizewinning 'Bootlegger' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brussels-based company Best Friend Forever has acquired international sales rights to Caroline Monnet’s feature debut “Bootlegger” which won best screenplay at Cannes’ Cinefondation in 2017. A well-known contemporary artist, Monnet has shed light on Indigenous identity and has debunked stereotypes through her works, which have been shown at the Whitney Biennial in New York, Palais [...]

  • Greed

    'Greed': Film Review

    I’ve got this friend who makes his own clothes. Not the generic kind cut from dowdy prairie-dress patterns, but chic, design-it-yourself garments that look better than most anything you’d find on a ready-to-wear rack. I figure he’s the only person I know who’s not guilty of contributing to the kind of sweatshop misery writer-director Michael [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content