You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

‘Elle’ Star Isabelle Huppert Wins Best Actress, Xavier Dolan Wins Best Director at France’s Cesar Awards

Variety logo Variety 2/24/2017 Elsa Keslassy
© Provided by Variety

PARIS — Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert won best actress 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. 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 at Cannes.

The biggest surprise of the night was Xavier Dolan winning best director and editing with “It’s Only The End of the World” which also competed for best foreign film. Dolan, who seemed stunned to win the prizes, is currently shooting “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” in Prague.

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.

Clooney received the honorary Cesar award from the hands of Dujardin. The pair drew some laugher when Clooney asked Dujardin, whose English is notoriously 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 Clooney’s pal, French actor Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”).

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, among other prizes.

A politically-minded and contempo friendship tale, “Divines” stars Amamra and Deborah Lukumuena as two friends determined to make money fast and 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 at France’s Cesar Awards on Friday.

“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; Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World,” from Canada; Cristian Mungiu’s “Graduation,” from Romania; Kleber Mendonça Filho’s “Aquarius,” from Portugal; 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.


More from Variety

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon