'The Artist' (what else?) takes top honors at César Awards

Posted by · 3:08 pm · February 24th, 2012

Jean Dujardin may be the frontrunner to take the Best Actor Oscar in Hollywood on Sunday, but he had to endure a defeat on his home turf tonight, as the French superstar lost the César Award to the comparatively unheralded Omar Sy, who plays a young man from the projects hired to look after a wealthy quadriplegic in the domestic smash “Untouchable.” (The film, incidentally, was crucified by Variety’s Jay Weissberg, who describes it as racist claptrap; the Weinsteins have the remake rights.)

I doubt Dujardin is too bothered: clearly, voters for the France’s answer to the Academy Awards loved “The Artist” enough that they felt free to throw someone else a bone in one major category. The Oscar frontrunner took six awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius and Best Actress for Bérénice Bejo, questionably nominated in the supporting race across the pond. If I’m keeping score correctly, this is Bejo’s first actual trophy of the season — it’s nice for her that it came in the correct category.

“The Artist” wasn’t the only English-language film honored in the Gallic ceremony: longtime French favorite Roman Polanski, together with playwright Yasmina Reza, took Best Adapted Screenplay honors for “Carnage.” This is the veteran director’s sixth César, and comes back-to-back with last year’s Best Director win for “The Ghost Writer.” English-language cinema took a back seat, however, in the Best Foreign Film category, where “A Separation” beat the likes of “Drive,” “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan.”

Maiwenn’s Cannes-honored police drama “Polisse” may have pipped “The Artist” in the nomination tally, leading the list with 13 nods, but had to settle for two minor wins (one of them tied) in the Most Promising Actress and Best Film Editing categories. Still, it fared better than foreign-language Oscar submissions “Declaration of War” and “Le Havre,” both of which came away empty-handed.

Anyway, this is the certainly the first time we can expect a number of the Césars’ choices to be mirrored at the Oscar ceremony. Vive la France, and all that. Full list of winners below:  

Best Film: “The Artist”

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best Actor: Omar Sy, “Untouchable”

Best Actress: Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist” 

Best Supporting Actor: Michel Blanc, “The Minister”

Best Supporting Actress: Carmen Maura, “The Women of the Sixth Floor”

Best Original Screenplay: “The Minister”

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Carnage”

Best Foreign Film: “A Separation”

Most Promising Actor: Grégory Gadebois, “Angèle and Tony”  

Most Promising Actress: (tie) Clotilde Hesme, “Angèle et Tony”; Neyda Yadri, “Polisse”  

Best Cinematography: “The Artist”

Best Art Direction: “The Artist”

Best Costume Design: “House of Pleasures”

Best Film Editing: “Polisse”

Best Original Score: “The Artist”

Best Sound: “The Minister”

Best First Film: “When Pigs Having Wings”

Best Animated Film: “The Rabbi’s Cat”

Best Documentary: “Larzac”

Best Short Film: “L’accordeur”

Remember to keep track of the ups and downs of the 2011-2012 film awards season via The Circuit.

For more views on movies, awards season and other pursuits, follow @GuyLodge on Twitter. 

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