Cesar Awards: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Wins Best Film; Christopher Nolan Feted With Honorary Tribute

Cesar Awards: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ Wins Best Film; Christopher Nolan Feted With Honorary Tribute

Justine Triet became the second female filmmaker in the Cesar Award’s 49-year history to win the best director trophy for “Anatomy of a Fall,” which also won best film, original screenplay, actress for Sandra Huller, supporting actor for Swann Arlaud and editing at the French film industry’s big night. Thomas Cailley’s supernatural drama “The Animal Kingdom” also dominated the race, picking up a raft of prizes, including cinematography, costumes, visual effects and music. The ceremony unfolded at the Olympia Theater in Paris on Friday evening and aired lived on Canal+.

Triet’s movie, which is vying for five Oscars, stars Hüller as a novelist who is put on trial following the mysterious death of her husband at their remote chalet. The movie is produced by Marie-Ange Luciani at Les Films de Pierre and David Thion at Les Films Pelleas.

Triet dedicated her best film award to all women, “those who feel trapped in their choices, in their solitude, those who exist too much and those who don’t exist enough, to those who were wounded and liberate themselves by speaking out.” She also paid tribute to the actresses that have shined in all her films, from Lætitia Dosch to Adele Exarchopoulos, Virginie Efira and Sandra Hüller.

Hüller made her acceptance speech in fluent French (which she said she learned for “Anatomy of a Fall”). “It’s not possible! I’m a German actress!” she exclaimed. Hüller said “the language, the origin was never an obstacle on the set (of ‘Anatomy of a Fall’) but rather a possibility.” It should always be that way,” she said.

“The Animal Kingdom,” another film that world premiered at Cannes, is a creature-filled dystopia and a father-and-son drama, played by Romain Duris and Paul Kircher, who were both nominated for Cesar Awards. Produced by Pierre Guyard at Nord Ouest Films, “The Animal Kingdom” is an ambitious film weaving some contemporary concerns over the future of mankind.

The first awards of the evening went to Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color”) for her role in “All Your Faces,” while Valérie Donzelli, and Audrey Diwan won best adapted screenplay with “Just The Two Of Us.” “Junkyard Dog,” meanwhile, won best male revelation for Raphaël Quenard and first film, beating strong contenders such as “Bernadette” starring Catherine Deneuve as the former first lady and wife of Jacques Chirac.

One of the highlights of the evening was the honorary tribute to “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan who was introduced on stage by Marion Cotillard, who starred in “Inception” and “Dark Knight Rises.” In his acceptance speech, Nolan paid homage to France’s love of cinema and auteurs. He said when he made his second film, “Memento,” “no one in the world wanted to show it, and then Philippe Hellmann from UGC decided to show it at the Grand Rex Theater in Paris. He said the success that the film had there “changed (his) life.” Even since, Nolan said he has a “great appreciation for the French audience, French distributors and this love of cinema that has always struck me.” Nolan has indeed been holding the world premieres of many of his movies at the Grand Rex Theater, including “Oppenheimer.” While on stage, he reminisced about his experience showing “Interstellar” at the Grand Rex, where a 16mm projector had been specially installed. “When I tell this story in Hollywood (…), no one believes me,” he said. While Nolan was celebrated at the Cesar Awards, “Oppenheimer” lost to Monia Chokri’s “The Nature of Love,” which won best foreign film.

The evening’s other Cesar honoree was Agnes Jaoui, a beloved French actor, screenwriter and filmmaker who formed a duo with the late Jean-Pierre Bacri for over three decades. Her best-known films include “The Taste of Others,” which won two Cesar Awards and was nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar in 2001, as well as the Cannes competition entry “Look at Me” in 2004. 

The Cesar Awards, which became the center stage of France’s #MeToo movement in 2020 – after actor Adele Haenel walked out of the ceremony upon hearing Roman Polanski win best director — opened the stage to Judith Godreche, who recently accused Benoit Jacquot and Jacques Doillon of sexual assault. Both Jacquot and Doillon have denied the accusations. Doillon has also announced through his lawyer that he was going to sue Godrèche for defamation.

Greeted on stage with a standing ovation, Godreche said she felt “like a revenant from America who comes knocking at an armored door.” The actor has lived in the U.S. for many years and recently made a comeback with a semi-autobiographical mini-series “Icon of French Cinema” which world premiered at Deauville Festival.

“Since a bit of time, the voices are freeing themselves (…) the power almost seems to shift. Could it be possible for us to look at truth up front, take our responsibilities, be the actors and the actresses of a world that questions itself.”

“For some time now, I’ve been talking and talking, but I don’t hear you. Or merely. (…) I know it’s scary to lose subsidies, to lose roles, to lose jobs. I’m scared, too.”

Below is the list of Cesar Awards nominations and winners (in bold):

Best Film
“Anatomy of a Fall,” Justine Triet
“Junkyard Dog,” Jean-Baptiste Durand
“All Your Faces,” Jeanne Herry
“The Goldman Case,” Cédric Kahn
“The Animal Kingdom,” Thomas Cailley

Best Director
Justine Triet, “Anatomy of a Fall”
Catherine Breillat, “Last Summer”
Jeanne Herry, “All Your Faces”
Cédric Kahn, “The Goldman Case”
Thomas Cailley, “The Animal Kingdom”

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Little Blue Girl”
Léa Drucker, “Last Summer”
Virginie Efira, “Just The Two Of Us”
Hafsia Herzi, “The Rapture”
Sandra Hüller, “Anatomy of a Fall”

Best Actor
Romain Duris, “The Animal Kingdom”
Benjamin Lavernhe, “L’Abbé Pierre – A Century of Devotion”
Melvil Poupaud, “Just The Two Of Us”
Raphaël Quenard, “Yannik”
Arieh Worthalter, “The Goldman Case”

Best Supporting Actor
Leila Bekhti, “All Your Faces”
Galatea Bellugi, “Junkyard Dog”
Élodie Bouchez, “All Your Faces”
Adèle Exarchopoulos, “All Your Faces”
Miou Miou, “All Your Faces”

Best Supporting Actor
Swann Arlaud, “Anatomy Of A Fall”
Anthony Bajon, Junkyard Dog
Arthur Harari, “The Goldman Case”
Pio Marmaï, “Yannick”
Antoine Reinartz, “Anatomy of a Fall”

Female Revelation
Celeste Brunnquell, “No Love Lost”
Kim Higelin, “Consent”
Suzanne Jouannet, “The Royal Way”
Rebecca Marder, “Grand Expectations”
Ella Rumpf, “Marguerite’s Theorem”

Male Revelation
Julien Frison, “Marguerite’s Theorem”
Paul Kircher, “The Animal Kingdom”
Samuel Kircher,  “Last Summer”
Milo Machado Graner, “Anatomy of a Fall”
Raphaël Quenard, “Junkyard Dog”

Best Original Screenplay
Justine Triet, Arthur Harari, “Anatomy of a Fall”

Jean-Baptiste Durand, “Junkyard Dog”
Jeanne Herry, “All Your Faces”
Nathalie Hertzberg, Cédric Khan, “The Goldman Case”
Thomas Cailley, Pauline Munier, “The Animal Kingdom”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Valérie Donzelli, Audrey Diwan, “Just The Two Of Us”
Vanessa Filho, “Consent”
Catherine Breillat, “Last Summer”

Best Animated Feature
“No Dogs Or Italians Allowed,” Alain Unghetto
“Chicken For Linda!,” Chiara Malta, Sébastien Laudenbach
“Mars Express,” Jérémie Périn

Best Documentary
“Atlantic Bar,” Fanny Molins
“Four Daughters,” Kaouther Ben Hania
“Little Girl Blue,” Mona Achache
“Our Body,” Claire Simon
“On The Adamant,” Nicolas Philibert

Best First Film
“Bernadette,” Léa Domenach
“Junkyard Dog,” Jean-Baptiste Durand
“The Rapture,” Iris Kaltenbäck
“Vermin,” Sebastien Vanicek
“Vincent Must Die,” Stéphan Castang

Best Foreign Film
“Kidnapped,” Marco Bellocchio
“Fallen Leaves,” Aki Kaurismäki
“Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan
“Perfect Days,” Wim Wenders
“The Nature Of Love,” Monia Chokri

Best Sound
Julien Sicart, Fanny Martin, Jeanne Delplancq, Olivier Goinard“Anatomy of a Fall”
Rémi Daru, Guadalupe Cassius, Loïc Prian, Marc Doisne, “All Your Faces”
Erwann Kerzanet, Sylvain Malbrant, Olivier Guillaume, “The Goldman Case”
Fabrice Osinski, Raphaël Sohier, Matthieu Fichet, Niels Barletta, “The Animal Kingdom”
David Rit, Gwennolé Le Borgne, Olivier Touche, Cyril Holtz, Niels Barletta, “The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)”

Simon Beaufils,  “Anatomy of a Fall”
Jonathan Ricquebourg, “The Taste of Things”
Patrick Ghiringhelli, “The Goldman Case”
David Cailley, “The Animal Kingdom”
Nicolas Bolduc, “The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)”

Best Editing
Laurent Sénéchal, Anatomy Of Fall
Francis Vesin, All Your Face
Valérie Loiseleux, Little Girl Blue
Yann Debet, The Goldman Case
Lilian Corbeille, The Animal Kingdom

Best Costumes
Jürgen Doering, Jeanne du Barry
Pascaline Chavanne, The Crime Is Mine
Tran Nu Yên Khé, The Taste Of Things
Ariane Daurat, The Animal Kingdom
Thierry Delettre, The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)

Best Production Design
Emmanuelle Duplay, Anatomy of a Fall
Angelo Zamparutti, Jeanne du Barry
Toma Baquéni, The Taste Of Things
Julia Lemaire, The Animal Kingdom
Stéphane Taillasson, The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)

Best Visual Effects
Thomas Duval, Acid
Lise Fischer, Cédric Fayolle, The Mountain
Cyrille Bonjean, Bruno Sommier, Jean-Louis Autret, The Animal Kingdom
Oliver Cauwet, The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)
Léo Ewald, Vermin

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