Robin Campillo’s “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” a bold group portrait of Parisian AIDS activists at ACT UP in the early 1990s, scooped six Cesar Awards, including best film, original script, male newcomer, supporting actor and music at tonight’s ceremony which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors.

Campillo made the most political speech of the evening. The director said many of the social issues people fought for 25 years ago are still current today. Campillo spoke about an pending law which will put refugees in greater danger. “As it was the case 25 years ago, silence is death,” Campillo concluded.

Produced by Marie-Ange Luciani and Hugues Charbonneau, “BPM” world-premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It was later chosen to represent France in the foreign-language Oscar race but surprisingly failed to get shortlisted.

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Loveless,” which is also nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, won the Cesar award for best foreign film, beating Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” Damien Chazelle’s “”La La Land” and Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes’s Palme d’Or winner “The Square,” among other strong contenders.

Albert Dupontel’s “Au Revoir La-Haut” won five Cesar awards, including best director, while Hubert Charuel’s “Petit Paysan” won three awards, including best first film and actor for Swan Arlaud.

One of the evening’s highlights included the honorary Cesar given to Penelope Cruz presented by Pedro Almodovar and Marion Cotillard.

Almodovar said Cruz belongs to a breed of strong yet fragile women and Mediterranean screen icons such as Sophia Loren, Juliette Binoche and Anna Magnani.

Cruz, who was visibly moved, said France has always been “generous” with her ever since she starred in “Dom Juan” more than 20 years ago. “France is a place where artists have an important place and where there is a love for culture and freedom which inspires us,” said Cruz.

The actress, who recently wrapped Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows,” in which she stars opposite Javier Bardem, also paid tribute to Almodovar whom she said made her decide to become an actress, and thanked him for the homage he gives to women through his films.

Cruz later talked about #MeToo and Time’s Up to journalists in the press room. “It’s the beginning of a necessary change in the world everywhere and not just in our industry. Hopefully it will give a voice to women who don’t have very public jobs and who need a lot of attention and care; as in cases of domestic violence,” said Cruz.

This year’s Cesar Awards took place against the backdrop of several female-driven campaigns aimed at highlighting inequality, harassment and promoting change in the film industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Earlier this week, two initiatives were launched by prominent French film industry figures — 5050 Pour 2020, which promotes gender equality in the movie business; and #NowWeAct (Maintenant On Agit), the French equivalent to Time’s Up which was set up by the Fondation des Femmes and is being backed by France’s Cesar Academy. White ribbons were given to every guest at this evening’s Cesar Awards to support #NowWeAct. Speaking to a French newspaper LeJDD on Wednesday, Alain Terzian, the president of the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, said “we must be obsessed by the issue of equality between women and men.”

Beyond white ribbons, the Cesar Awards did not promote wearing black as was seen at the Golden Globes. Isabelle Huppert wore a shiny white outfit, while Penelope Cruz, the honorary Cesar winner, wore a bright purple gown.

#Metoo was addressed throughout the evening. The show’s host Manu Payet asked all the guests to stand up in support of #NowWeAct and alluded to 5050 Pour 2020 when describing the best female newcomer award. “The best female newcomer prize is the same as the male’s with a 30% pay cut,” joked Payet.

Meanwhile, French comedy actress Blanche Gardin, who announced the best female newcomer, joked that “It’s great that producers now know they can’t rape actresses (but) can we still have sex with them to get parts? Because if we can’t we’ll have to start learning lines, do auditions… and we don’t have time,” quipped Gardin, spurring burst of laughter in the audience.

Meanwhile, Pérez Biscayart, who won best newcomer for “BPM,” paid homage to women who are currently fighting to decriminalize abortion in Argentina.

Below is the list of winners (in bold):

“BPM,” Robin Campillo
“Au revoir là-haut,” Albert Dupontel
“Barbara,” Mathieu Amalric
“Le Brio,” Yvan Attal
“Patients,” Grand Corps Malade, Mehdi Idir
“Petit Paysan,” Hubert Charuel
“C’est La Vie,” Eric Tolédano, Olivier Nakache

Robin Campillo, “BPM”
Albert Dupontel, “Au revoir Là-Haut”
Mathieu Amalric, “Barbara”
Julia Ducournau, “Grave”
Hubert Charuel, “Petit Paysan”
Michel Hazanavicius, “Le Redoutable”
Eric Tolédano & Olivier Nakache, “C’est La Vie”

Juliette Binoche, “Bright Sunshine In”
Jeanne Balibar, “Barbara”
Emmanuelle Devos, “Numéro Une”
Marina Foïs, “L’Atelier”
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “La Promesse De L’Aube”
Karine Viard, “Jalouse”
Doria Tillier, “Monsieur Et Madame Adelman”

Swan Arlaud, “Petit Paysan”
Daniel Auteuil, “Le Brio”
Jean-Pierre Bacri, “C’est La Vie”
Guillaume Canet, “Rock’n Roll”
Albert Dupontel, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Louis Garrel, “Le Redoutable”
Reda Kateb, “Django”

Iris Bry, “Les Gardiennes”
Laetitia Dosch, “Jeune Femme”
Eye Haïdara, “C’est La Vie”
Camélia Jordana, “Le Brio”
Garance Marillier, “Grave”

Benjamin Lavernhe, “C’est La Vie”
Finnegan Oldfield, “Marvin Ou La Belle Education”
Pablo Pauly, “Patients”
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, “BPM”
Arnaud Valois, “BPM”

Niels Arestrup, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Laurent Lafitte, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Gilles Lellouche, “C’est La Vie”
Vincent Macaigne, “C’est La Vie”
Antoine Reinartz, “BPM”

Laure Calamy, “Ava”
Anaïs Demoustier, “La Villa”
Sara Giraudeau, “Petit Paysan”
Adèle Haenel, “BPM”
Mélanie Thierry, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”

Isabelle Pannetier, “BPM”
Mimi Lempicka, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Pascaline Chavanne, “Barbara”
Anaïs Romand, “Les Gardiennes”
Catherine Bouchard, “La Promesse De L’Aube”

Emmanuelle Duplay, “BPM”
Pierre Quefféléan, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Laurent Baude, “Barbara”
Pierre Renson, “La Promesse De L’Aube”
Christian Marti, “Le Redoubtable”

“Le Grand Méchant Renard Et Autres Contes,” Benjamin Renner, Patrick Imbert
“Sahara,” Pierre Coré
“Zombillénium,” Arthur De Pins, Alexis Ducord

Jeanne Lapoirie, “BPM”
Vincent Mathias, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Christophe Beaucarne, “Barbara”
Caroline Champetier, “Les Gardiennes”
Guillaume Schiffman, “Le Redoubtable”

Albert Dupontel, Pierre Lemaitre, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Xavier Beauvois, Drédérique Moreau, Marie-Julie Maille, “Les Gardiennes”
Grand Corps Malade, Fadette Drouard, “Patients”
Eric Barbier, Marie Eynard, “La Promesse De L’Aube”
Michel Hazanavicius, “Le Redoubtable”

Robin Campillo, “BPM”
Christophe Pinel, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Francois Gedigier, “Barbara”
Julie Lena, Lilian Corbeille, Grégoire Pontecaille, “Petit Paysan”
Dorian Rigal Ansous, “C’est La Vie”

Julien Sicart, Valérie De Loof, Jean-Pierre Laforce, “BPM”
Jean Minodo, Gurwal Coïc-Gallas, Cyril Holtz, Damien Lazzerini, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Olivier Mauvezin, Nicolas Moreau, Stéphane Thiébaut, “Barbara”
Mathieu Descamps, Séverin Favriau, Stéphane Thiébaut, “Grave”
Pascal Armant, Sélim Azzazi, Jean-Paul Hurier, “C’est La Vie”

“Grave,” Julia Ducournau
“Jeune Femme,” Léonor Serraille
“Monsieur & Madame Adelman,” Nicolas Bedos
“Patients,” Grand Corps Malade, Mehdi Idir
“Petit Paysan,” Hubert Charuel

“12 Days,” Raymond Depardon
“A Voix Haute – La Force De La Parole,” Stéphane De Freitas, Ladj Ly
“Carré 35,” Eric Caravaca
“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck
“Visages Villages,” Agnès Varda, JR

Arnaud Rebotini, “BPM”
Christophe Julien, “Au Revoir Là-Haut”
Jim Williams, “Grave”
MYD, “Petit Paysan”
Mathieu Chedid, “Visages Villages”

Robin Campillo, “BPM”
Mathieu Amalric, Philippe Di Folco, “Barbara”
Julia Ducournau, “Grave”
Claude Le Pape, Hubert Charuel, “Petit Paysan”
Eric Tolédano, Olivier Nakache, “C’est La Vie”

“The Nile Hilton Incident,” Tarik Saleh
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“L’Echange Des Princesses,” Marc Dugain
“Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev
“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
“Noces,” Stephan Streker
“The Square,” Ruben Ostlund