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‘Elle’ Wins Best Film, Actress for Isabelle Huppert at France’s Cesar Awards

PARIS — Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” won best picture and best actress for Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert at the 42nd Cesar Awards, the country’s top film prize.

Out of 16th Cesar nominations, Huppert had only won once for her performance in Claude Chabrol’s “La Ceremonie.” Huppert has been on a laureled path since “Elle” competed at Cannes: she notably won the Golden Globe award for best actress in a drama. Set in France and produced by Said Ben Said and Michel Merkt, “Elle” has been described as a powerful rape-revenge thriller laced with dark humor. The movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics before Cannes.

The biggest surprise of the night was Xavier Dolan nabbing best director and editing with “It’s Only the End of the World,” which also earned Gaspard Ulliel the best actor prize. Dolan is currently shooting “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” in Prague.

Dolan won over Verhoeven (“Elle”), Houda Benyamina (“Divines”), François Ozon (“Frantz”), Anne Fontaine (“Les Innocentes”), Bruno Dumont, “Slack Bay,” and Nicole Garcia’s “From the Land of Moon.”

George Clooney, who received the honorary Cesar, rocked the boat with a political speech calling out President Donald Trump. Welcomed on stage with a standing ovation, Clooney said Trump has exploited rather than created the current climate of fear and uncertainty in the U.S.

“As citizens of the world, we’re going to have to work harder and harder not to let hate win. … We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine and remember that we are not descended from fearful men,” said Clooney, concluding his speech with a quote from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Clooney received the honorary Cesar award from the hands of his pal Jean Dujardin, the Oscar-winning actor from “The Artist.” The pair drew some laugher when Clooney asked Dujardin, whose English is limited, to translate his speech in France.

Clooney attended the ceremony with his pregnant wife, Amal Clooney, and sat in the front row between Alain Terzian, the president of the Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, and Dujardin.

Houda Benyamina’s directorial debut, “Divines,” which won the Camera d’Or in Cannes and earned a Golden Globe nomination, won best first film, female newcomer for Oulaya Amamra, and supporting actress for Déborah Lukumuena. A politically-minded and contempo friendship tale, “Divines” stars Amamra and Lukumuena as two friends determined to make money fast in order to escape to a better life.

Conceived by Benyamina following the 2005 riots that erupted near Paris, “Divines” was acquired by Netflix following its premiere at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

Ken Loach’s Cannes’ Palme d’Or-winning “I, Daniel Blake” won best foreign film prize. “I, Daniel Blake,” a contemporary social drama about an ailing carpenter fighting to stay on welfare in the U.K., beat out Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann,” which is vying for best foreign-language film at the Oscars and was a favorite the win the Cesar nod. Other foreign-language nominees were Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea,” which is up for best picture at the Oscars; Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World,” from Canada; Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation,” from Romania; Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Aquarius,” from Brazil; and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “The Unknown Girl,” from Belgium.

As expected, the ceremony did not have a president, following the controversy and protests which led Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski to give up the honorary role. Polanski had been appointed to preside by the Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques.

Claude Barras’s “My Life as a Courgette,” which is also competing for an Oscar, won best animated feature over Sébastien Laudenbach’s “La Jeune Fille Sans Mains” and Michael Dudok De Wit’s “La Tortue Rouge,” another animated feature Oscar nominee.

Here is the list of Cesar Awards winners:

Best Film:

“Divines” produced by Marc-Benoit Créancier, directed by Houda Benyamina
“Elle” produced by Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt, directed by Paul Verhoeven
“Frantz” produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, directed by François Ozon
“Les Innocentes” produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, directed by Anne Fontaine
“Slack Bay” produced by Jean Bréhat, Rachid Bouchareb, Muriel Merlin, directed by Bruno Dumont
“From The Land of The Moon” produced by Alain Attal, directed by Nicole Garcia
“Victoria” produced by Emmanuel Chaumet, directed by Justine Triet

Best Director:

Houda Benyamina, “Divines”
Paul Verhoeven, “Elle”
François Ozon, “Frantz”
Anne Fontaine, “Les Innocentes”
Xavier Dolan, “It’s Only The End of The World”
Bruno Dumont, “Ma Loute”
Nicole Garcia, “Mal De Pierres”

Best Actress:

Judith Chemla, “Une Vie”
Marion Cotillard, “From The Land of The Moon”
Virginie Efira, “Victoria”
Marina Foïs, “Irréprochable”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sidse Babett Knudsen, “La Fille de Brest”
Soko, “La Danseuse”

Best Actor:

François Cluzet, “Médecin de Campagne”
Pierre Deladonchamps, “Le Fils de Jean”
Nicolas Duvauchelle, “Je Ne Suis Pas Un Salaud”
Fabrice Luchini, “Ma Loute”
Pierre Niney, “Frantz”
Omar Sy, “Chocolat”
Gaspard Ulliel, “It’s Only The End of The World”

Female Newcomer:

Oulaya Amamra, “Divines”
Paula Beer, “Frantz”
Lily-Rose Depp, “La Danseuse”
Noémie Merlant, “Le Ciel Attendra”
Raph, “Ma Loute”

Male Newcomer:

Jonas Bloquet, “Elle”
Damien Bonnard, “Rester Vertical”
Corentin Fila, “Being 17”
Kacey Mottet Klein, “Being 17”
Niels Schneider, “Diamant Noir”

Best Supporting Actress:

Nathalie Baye, “Juste La Fin Du Monde”
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, “Ma Loute”
Anne Consigny, “Elle”
Déborah Lukumuena, “Divines”
Mélanie Thierry, “La Danseuse”

Best Supporting Actor:

Gabriel Arcand, “Le Fils de Jean”
Vincent Cassel, “Juste La Fin Du Monde”
Vincent Lacoste, “Victoria”
Laurent Lafitte, “Elle”
Melvil Poupaud, “Victoria”
James Thierrée, “Chocolat”

Best First Film:

“Cigarettes et Chocolat Chaud” directed by Sophie Reine, produced by Isabelle Grellat, Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer
“La Danseuse” directed by Stéphanie Di Giusto, produced by Alain Attal
“Diamant Noir” directed by Arthur Harari, produced by David Thion, Philippe Martin
“Divines” directed by Houda Benyamina, produced by Marc-Benoit Créancier
“Rosalie Blum” directed by Julien Rappeneau, produced by Michael Gentile, Charles Gillibert

Best Cinematography:

Stéphane Fontaine, “Elle”
Pascal Mart, “Frantz”
Caroline Champetier, “Les Innocentes”
Guillaume Deffontaines, “Ma Loute”
Christophe Beaucarne, “Mal De Pierres”

Best Adapted Screenplay:

David Birke, “Elle”
Séverine Bosschem, Emmanuelle Bercot, “La Fille de Brest”
François Ozon, “Frantz”
Céline Sciamma, “Ma Vie de Courgette”
Nicole Garcia, Jacques Fieschi “Mal de Pierres”
Katell Quillévéré, Gilles Taurand, “Réparer Les Vivants”

Best Original Screenplay:

Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina, Malik Rumeau, “Divines”
Sólveig Anspach, Jean-Luc Gaget, “L’Effet Aquatique”
Sabrina B. Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine, “Les Innocentes”
Bruno Dumont, “Ma Loute”
Justine Triet, “Victoria”

Best Costumes:

Anaïs Romand, “La Danseuse”
Pascaline Chavanne, “Frantz”
Catherine Leterrier, “Mal de Pierres”
Alexandra Charles, “Ma Loute”
Madeline Fontaine, “Une Vie”

Best Production Design:
Jérémie D. Lignol, “Chocolat”
Carlos Conti, “La Danseuse”
Michel Barthélémy, “Frantz”
Riton Dupire-Clément, “Ma Loute”
Katia Wyszkop, “Planetarium”

Best Editing:

Loic Lallemand, Vincent Tricon, “Divines”
Job Ter Burg, “Elle”
Laure Gardette, “Frantz”
Xavier Dolan, “Juste La Fin Du Monde”
Simon Jacquet, “Mal de Pierres”

Best Sound:

Brigitte Taillandier, Vincent Guillon, Stéphane Thiébaut, “Chocolat”
Jean-Paul Mugel, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz, Damien Lazzerini, “Elle”
Martin Boissau, Benoît Gargonne, Jean-Paul Hurier, “Frantz”
Jean-Pierre Duret, Sylvain Malbrant, Jean-Pierre Laforce, “Mal de Pierres”
Marc Engels, Fred Demolder, Sylvain Réty, Jean-Paul Hurier, “L’Odyssée”

Best Original Music:

Gabriel Yared, “Chocolat”
Ibrahim Maalouf, “Dans Les Forêts De Sibérie”
Anne Dudley, “Elle”
Philippe Rombi, “Frantz”
Sophie Hunger, “Ma Vie de Courgette”

Best Foreign Film:

“Aquarius” directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho
“Graduation” directed by Cristian Mungiu
“The Unknown Girl” directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
“It’s Only the End of the World” directed by Xavier Dolan
“Manchester By The Sea” directed by Kenneth Lonergan
“I, Daniel Blake” directed by Ken Loach
Toni Erdmann” directed by Maren Ade

Best Animated Film:

“La Jeune Fille Sans Mains” directed by Sébastien Laudenbach, produced by Jean-Christophe Soulageon
“My Life as a Courgette” directed by Claude Barras, produced by Armelle Glorennec, Eric Jacquot, Marc Bonny
“The Red Turtle” directed by Michael Dudok De Wit, produced by Vincent Maraval, Pascal Caucheteux

Best Documentary :

“Dernières Nouvelles Du Cosmos” directed by Julie Bertuccelli, produced by Yaël Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez
“Fuocoammare, Par-Delà Lampedusa” directed by Gianfranco Rosi, produced by Serge Lalou, Camille Laemlé
“Merci Patron !” directed by François Ruffin, produced by Édouard Mauriat, Anne-Cécile Berthomeau, Johanna Silva
“Swagger” directed by Olivier Babinet, produced by Marine Dorfmann, Alexandre Perrier
“Voyage À Travers Le Cinéma Français” directed by Bertrand Tavernier, produced by Frédéric Bourboulon

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