Friday, February 28, 2014

César Award Winners

PICTURE: Me, Myself and Mum (Les Garçons et Guillaume, Á Table!)
DIRECTOR: Roman Polanski, Venus In Fur
ACTOR: Guillaume Gallienne, Me, Myself and Mum
ACTRESS: Sandrine Kiberlain, Nine Month Stretch
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Niels Arestrup, Quai d'Orsay
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Adéle Haenel, Suzanne
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Nine Month Stretch- Albert Dupontel
FOREIGN FILM: The Broken Circle Breakdown
DOCUMENTARY: On the Way to School
ANIMATED FEATURE: Loulou L'Incroyable Secret
DEBUT FEATURE: Me, Myself and Mum
CINEMATOGRAPHY: The Young and Prodigious Mr. Spivet- Thomas Hardmeier
ART DIRECTION: Mood Indigo- Stéphane Rozenbaum
COSTUME DESIGN: Renoir- Pascaline Chavanne
ORIGINAL SCORE: Michael Kohlhaas- Martin Wheeler
EDITING: Me, Myself and Mum- Valérie Deseine
SOUND: Michael Kohlhass
SHORT FILM: Just Before Losing You
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: Mademoiselle Kiki et Les Montparnos

The French equivalent of the Academy Awards have announced and if U.S. audiences haven't heard of any these films, don't fret-- none of the top prize winners have really had widespread American releases and none of these films really have much of a way of factoring into the Oscars this Sunday.  The novelty of Roman Polanski being named Best Director for Venus Is Fur (which premiered at Cannes last year, but hasn't had a stateside release yet) is probably the biggest story.  Outside of the that Foreign Film Oscar contender The Broken Circle Breakdown won as did AMPAS-approved short film Just Before Losing You (which is incredible and an absolutely must see as an aside.)

France's hot newcomers.

MALE NEWCOMER: Pierre Deladonchamps, Stranger By the Lake
FEMALE NEWCOMER: Adéle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color

The more interesting César choices (or at least choices made for films that have a bit of an exposure in the United States, to varying degrees) came in their breakthrough acting categories where a pair of fine (and very naked-- physically and emotionally) performances won.  There's an interesting dichotomy in honoring Deladonchamps and Exarchopoulos, both performers broke through in two separate, yet equally controversial queer titles that have gotten film critics and cinephiles all hot and bothered since they both premiered at last years Cannes Film Festival.  Stranger By the Lake is a gripping, beautifully filmed and distilled study of behaviors at a bucolic gay cruising site-- it's a slow burner of a film-- one that likely features a record number of shots of male full frontal for a legit movie-- until it morphs into a creepy, Hitchcockian thriller.  It's a beautifully terse film...I've been meaning to do a proper write-up on it (let me know if there's interest in that.)  Blue Is the Warmest Color, on the other hand is the buzzier title and the 2013 Palme D'Or winner. 

HONORARY CÉSAR: Scarlett Johansson
Hollywood made one big impression at the Césars with Johansson and her great recent movie revival (Her, Don Jon, the upcoming Under the Skin) receiving an honorary prize.  She seems a bit young for this type of thing, but hell, the Oscars aren't embracing her talents, so why not?

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