PARIS - Paul Verhoeven's Elle with Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert, Francois Ozon's period drama Frantz and Bruno Dumont's Slack Bay lead the nominations at the 42nd Cesar Awards, France's equivalent of the Oscars.
Elle and Frantz scored 11 Cesar nominations each. "Slack Bay" received nine.
Elle, which competed at Cannes, has already earned Huppert a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination for best actress. 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 humour. Huppert recently received a honorary prize from the French culture ministry and promotional organisation UniFrance. The movie was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Cannes.
Her nomination for Elle marks Huppert's 16th Cesar nod. She has won only once, for her performance in Claude Chabrol's La Ceremonie.
Frantz, starring Pierre Niney (Yves Saint Laurent), turns on a young German woman (Paula Beer) who travels to the grave of her fiance in France and comes across a mysterious Frenchman (Pierre Niney) who met her husband on the battlefield. Frantz was produced by Nicolas and Eric Altmayer at Mandarin Cinema.
Watch 'Yves Saint Laurent' at SBS On Demand
Slack Bay, which, like Elle, competed at Cannes, is a surreal comedy set at the beginning of the 20th century in a suburb in northern France where two peculiar families clash. The film's all-star cast includes Juliette Binoche and Fabrice Luchini. The movie was produced by Rachid Bouchareb and Jean Brehat.
Other strong contenders include Houda Benyamina's directorial debut Divines, which won the Camera d'Or in Cannes, was nominated for a Golden Globe and is now competing for seven Cesars, including best film, first film, director, script, and female newcomer.
A friendship tale with a strong political resonance, Divines stars Oulaya Amamra and Deborah Lukumuena as two friends determined to make money fast and escape to a better life. The movie was conceived by Benyamina following the 2005 riots that erupted after the deaths of two boys who had been running from police in a high-rise ghetto near Paris. Produced by Marc-Benoit Creancier at Easy Tiger, Divines world premiered at Cannes' Directors Fortnight and was picked up by Netflix for worldwide distribution.
Two Oscar-nominated feature, Claude Barras's My Life as a Zucchini, which also opened at Directors' Fortnight, and Michael Dudok de Wit's The Red Turtle which premiered at Cannes' Un Certain Regard, as well as Sebastien Laudenbach's The Girl Without Hands are vying for best animated film at the Cesar.
The Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, which organises the Cesar Awards, became embroiled in controversy after appointing French-Polish director Roman Polanski as president of the ceremony. After protests by women's groups, Polanski, who is wanted in the U.S. for the rape of a minor in a 40-year-old legal case, announced Tuesday via his lawyer that he had given up the presidency. The role is an honorary one, entailing the delivery of a speech at the awards ceremony.
Alain Terzian, the president of the academy, defended the decision to appoint Polanski to the presidency at Wednesday's Cesar nominations news conference.
Polanski is "one of the world's most critically acclaimed filmmakers, and that's the only thing which we should look at: a consideration of artists and their accomplishments. And that's what we've done," said Terzian, citing the many international awards the director has received, including four Golden Globes and an Oscar. Terzian also noted that Polanski presided over the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.
Here's the full list of Cesar nominations:
"Divines" produced by Marc-Benoit Creancier, directed by Houda Benyamina
"Elle" produced by Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt, directed by Paul Verhoeven
"Frantz" produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, directed by Francois Ozon
"Les Innocentes" produced by Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer, directed by Anne Fontaine
"Ma Loute" produced by Jean Brehat, Rachid Bouchareb, Muriel Merlin, directed by Bruno Dumont
"Mal de Pierres" produced by Alain Attal, directed by Nicole Garcia
"Victoria" produced by Emmanuel Chaumet, directed by Justine Triet
Houda Benyamina, "Divines"
Paul Verhoeven, "Elle"
Francois Ozon, "Frantz"
Anne Fontaine, "Les Innocentes"
Xavier Dolan, "Juste La Fin Du Monde"
Bruno Dumont, "Ma Loute" Nicole Garcia, "Mal De Pierres"
Judith Chemla, "Une Vie"
Marion Cotillard, "Mal de Pierres"
Virginie Efira, "Victoria"
Marina Fois, "Irreprochable"
Isabelle Huppert, "Elle"
Sidse Babett Knudsen, "La Fille de Brest"
Soko, "La Danseuse"
Francois Cluzet, "Medecin de Campagne"
Pierre Deladonchamps, "Le Fils de Jean"
Nicolas Duvauchelle, "Je Ne Suis Pas Un Salaud"
Fabrice Luchini, "Ma Loute"
Pierre Niney, "Frantz"
Omar Sy, "Chocolat"
Gaspard Ulliel, "Juste La Fin Du Monde"
Oulaya Amamra, "Divines"
Paula Beer, "Frantz"
Lily-Rose Depp, "La Danseuse"
Noemie Merlant, "Le Ciel Attendra"
Raph, "Ma Loute"
Jonas Bloquet, "Elle"
Damien Bonnard, "Rester Vertical"
Corentin Fila, "Quand On A 17 Ans"
Kacey Mottet Klein, "Quand On A 17 Ans"
Niels Schneider, "Diamant Noir"
Best Supporting Actress
Nathalie Baye, "Juste La Fin Du Monde"
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, "Ma Loute"
Anne Consigny, "Elle"
Deborah Lukumuena, "Divines"
Melanie Thierry, "La Danseuse"
Best Supporting Actor
Gabriel Arcand, "Le Fils de Jean"
Vincent Cassel, "Juste La Fin Du Monde"
Vincent Lacoste, "Victoria"
Laurent Lafitte, "Elle"
Melvil Poupaud, "Victoria"
James Thierree, "Chocolat"
Best First Film
"Cigarettes et Chocolat Chaud" directed by Sophie Reine, produced by Isabelle Grellat, Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer
"La Danseuse" directed by Stephanie Di Giusto, produced by Alain Attal
"Diamant Noir" directed by Arthur Harari, produced by David Thion, Philippe Martin
"Divines" directed by Houda Benyamina, produced by Marc-Benoit Creancier
"Rosalie Blum" directed by Julien Rappeneau, produced by Michael Gentile, Charles Gillibert
Stephane Fontaine, "Elle"
Pascal Mart, "Frantz"
Caroline Champetier, "Les Innocentes"
Guillaume Deffontaines, "Ma Loute"
Christophe Beaucarne, "Mal De Pierres"
Best Adapted Screenplay
David Birke, "Elle"
Severine Bosschem, Emmanuelle Bercot, "La Fille de Brest"
Francois Ozon, "Frantz"
Celine Sciamma, "Ma Vie de Courgette"
Nicole Garcia, Jacques Fieschi "Mal de Pierres"
Katell Quillevere, Gilles Taurand, "Reparer Les Vivants"
Best Original Screenplay
Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina, Malik Rumeau, "Divines"
Solveig Anspach, Jean-Luc Gaget, "L'Effet Aquatique"
Sabrina B. Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine, "Les Innocentes"
Bruno Dumont, "Ma Loute"
Justine Triet, "Victoria"
Anais Romand, "La Danseuse"
Pascaline Chavanne, "Frantz"
Catherine Leterrier, "Mal de Pierres"
Alexandra Charles, "Ma Loute"
Madeline Fontaine, "Une Vie"
Best Production Design
Jeremie D. Lignol, "Chocolat"
Carlos Conti, "La Danseuse"
Michel Barthelemy, "Frantz"
Riton Dupire-Clement, "Ma Loute"
Katia Wyszkop, "Planetarium"
Loic Lallemand, Vincent Tricon, "Divines"
Job Ter Burg, "Elle"
Laure Gardette, "Frantz"
Xavier Dolan, "Juste La Fin Du Monde"
Simon Jacquet, "Mal de Pierres"
Brigitte Taillandier, Vincent Guillon, Stephane Thiebaut, "Chocolat"
Jean-Paul Mugel, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz, Damien Lazzerini, "Elle"
Martin Boissau, Benoit Gargonne, Jean-Paul Hurier, "Frantz"
Jean-Pierre Duret, Sylvain Malbrant, Jean-Pierre Laforce, "Mal de Pierres"
Marc Engels, Fred Demolder, Sylvain Rety, Jean-Paul Hurier, "L'Odyssee"
Best Original Music
Gabriel Yared, "Chocolat"
Ibrahim Maalouf, "Dans Les Forets De Siberie"
Anne Dudley, "Elle"
Philippe Rombi, "Frantz"
Sophie Hunger, "Ma Vie de Courgette"
Best Foreign Film
"Aquarius" directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho
"Baccalaureat" directed by Cristian Mungiu
"La Fille Inconnue" directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
"Juste La Fin Du Monde" directed by Xavier Dolan
"Manchester By The Sea" directed by Kenneth Lonergan
"Moi, Daniel Blake" directed by Ken Loach
"Toni Erdmann" directed by Maren Ade
Best Short Film
"Apres Suzanne" directed by Felix Moati, produced By Benjamin Elalouf, Leah Weil, Elsa Rodde
"Au Bruit des Clochettes" directed by Chabname Zariab produced by Judith Lou Levy
"Chasse Royale" directed by Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret, produced by Marine Alaric
"Maman(s)" directed by Maimouna Doucoure, produced by Zangro
"Vers La Tendresse" directed by Alice Diop, produced by Christophe Barral, Toufik Ayadi
Best Animated Short Film
"Cafe Froid" directed by Francois Leroy, Stephanie Lansaque, produced by Marc Jousset, Perrine Capron
"Celui Qui A Deux Ames" directed by Fabrice Luang-Vija, produced by Sophie Fallot
"Journal Anime" directed by Donato Sansone, produced by Nicolas Schmerkin
"Peripheria" directed by David Coquard-Dassault, produced by Nicolas Schmerkin
Best Animated Film
"La Jeune Fille Sans Mains" directed by Sebastien Laudenbach, produced by Jean-Christophe Soulageon
"Ma Vie de Courgette" directed by Claude Barrass, produced by Armelle Glorennec, Eric Jacquot, Marc Bonny
"La Tortue Rouge" directed by Michael Dudok De Wit, produced by Vincent Maraval, Pascal Caucheteux
"Dernieres Nouvelles Du Cosmos" directed by Julie Bertuccelli, produced by Yael Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez
"Fuocoammare, Par-Dela Lampedusa" directed by Gianfranco Rosi, produced by Serge Lalou, Camille Laemle
"Merci Patron !" directed by Francois Ruffin, produced by Edouard Mauriat, Anne-Cecile Berthomeau, Johanna Silva
"Swagger" directed by Olivier Babinet, produced by Marine Dorfmann, Alexandre Perrier
"Voyage A Travers Le Cinema Francais" directed by Bertrand Tavernier, produced by Frederic Bourboulon