César 2012 The Ultimate Consicration of The Artist ?
words by Sarah BonneFoi
he upcoming French ceremony of the ‘Césars’ might or might not be another star in The Artist’s prize list. Ever since its release, it has won three Golden Globes, seven BAFTA’s and most recently the Goya award for best foreign movie. The Artist is certainly not going to stop from winning - and be given too much press coverage - since it is nominated in ten categories for both the César and the Oscar ceremonies. The César ceremony will also grant Kate Winslet an honorary award, given by Roman Polanski who recently worked with her on Carnage. The 37th César’s, taking place on the 24th February at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Paris, is an equivalent of sorts to the Academy Awards as it is the most prestigious award ceremony in French cinema. Among the most famous movies, Amélie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet won the award for Best Movie in 200. Last year Of Gods and Men (left) received unanimous praise as well. This ceremony is a hymn to French cinema, the most rewarded actors and actresses being Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani (5 Césars) and Michel Serrault. It also illustrates the dynamism of the film industry. This year the competition seems to be between The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius - ten nominations - and Polisse by Maïwenn - thirteen nominations. Not yet released in the UK, Polisse deals with the daily life of a child protection unit in Paris and a photographer who is assigned to cover it. The movie casts some of the most talented French actors such as Karin Viard, Marina Foïs and Nicolas Duvauchelle. It made quite a controversy since Joey Starr - French rapper famously known for his positions taken against police force - plays a policeman in it. The movie was shown during the Cannes festival last year and benefited from two national releases; in October and in February.
The past year has been very vibrant in terms of movies, a dynamism which is reflected in the César nominations. Unknown to the British public, Intouchables (Untouchables) by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledo became in only nine weeks the second most successful film at the French box office with 19 million admissions, behind the 2008 film Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks). The movie tells the story of an improbable friendship between Philippe, a wealthy tetraplegic and Driss, a young offender of Senegalese descent, who is his live-in carer. Nominated in nine categories, the movie could potentially steal a few awards from The Artist and Polisse.
“Intouchables became in only nine weeks the second most successful film at the French Box office”
The originality this year is that many movies present in Cannes last year are also at the Césars: Pater, The Artist, L’Exercice de l’Etat (The Minister), La guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War), Polisse and Le Havre. The Minister by Pierre Scholler is another favourite in the competition with twelve important nominations. There are also some absent from the ceremony, most notably Un amour de jeunesse (First Love) by Mia Hansen-Love, Tomboy by Céline Sciamma and Les neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro) by Robert Guédiguian. However, the category for Best Foreign Movie is likely to confirm some of the best surprises of this year with nominations for A Separation by Asghar Farhadi and Melancholia by Lars von Trier.
Also expect some fun and frolicks from the Césars which is saying something for an awards ceremony. Just ask Harrison Ford and Sean Penn, some of Hollywood’s biggest and sometimes grumpiest stars, who have been at the receiving end of the Césars idiosyncratic humour. And as the Césars prove year in yeat out, there is in fact an awards ceremony that’s worth staying up to early hours for. Don’t miss the Césars on Friday 24th February which is screening online uninterrupted at canalplus.fr