France's César Award Nominations (Equivalent of the Oscars) Announced ('Divines' Picks Up 7 + Omar Sy, Corentin Fila, 'Swagger')

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April 20th 2017

César Awards 2017 César Awards 2017

A day after the Academy in the USA announced its nominations for the 2017 Oscars, France's own Academy has done the same for its equivalent - the César Awards.

Per tradition, the nominations were announced this morning by academy president Alain Terzian, during a breakfast presentation at the famed Fouquet’s restaurant on the Champs-Élysées.

Of note, given this blog's specific interests (each is accompanied by a trailer):

--- The critically acclaimed and much talked-about films at last year’s Cannes film festival, described as one of the best young-adult films to come out of France in recent years, “Divines” tells the story of Dounia, a tough but naive teenager living in the 'hood, who sees getting rich or dying trying as her most viable option to get out. French filmmaker of Moroccan descent Houda Benyamina’s directorial debut received rave reviews from critics and was awarded the Caméra d’Or, an award of the Cannes Film Festival for the best first feature film presented in one of the event’s selections. Critics heap praise on Oulaya Amamra’s (sister of the filmmaker) “breakout” performance as Dounia, the star of the film. Both the filmmaker and the actress are nominated in the Best Director and Best New Actress categories. Also in the Best Supporting Actress category, co-star Deborah Lukumuena is nominated; and the film is nominated for Best Film and Best Best Original Screenplay. In total, the film picked up 7 nominations. The film was picked up by Netflix and is available to stream for USA audiences.

--- Omar Sy is nominated for a second time in the Best Actor category for his performance in "Cholocat," following his historic 2012 win in the same category for his performance in the global blockbuster "Intouchables." Omar Sy stars "Chocolat," which is based on the life of Rafael Padilla – a former Cuban-born slave, who became a performer in France during the Belle Epoque era. He died in Bordeaux on November 4, 1917. French-Moroccan actor/director Roschdy Zem directed "Chocolat," which was released in France last year, but is still without a USA distributor. The film picked up 4 nominations in total.

--- Corentin Fila (son of Congolese filmmaker, David-Pierre Fila) picked up a nomination in the Best New Actor category, for his performance in "Being 17." Directed by André Téchiné, “Being 17” stars Sandrine Kiberlain, Kacey Mottet Klein and Corentin Fila in a tale of burgeoning gay romance that follows the pampered teenage son of a soldier and a doctor who lives with his mother in Army barracks in the south of France while his father is on a military mission in the Central African Republic. Téchiné directs from a script he co-wrote with Céline Sciamma (whose name you’ll recognize as the director of 2015’s contentious sensation, “Girlhood,” which was covered extensively on this blog). Corentin Fila made his film acting debut with “Being 17,” and has received a lot of praise for his performance. So expect to hear more from this young actor – the son of a Congolese filmmaker with his own extensive resume – in the future. Fila's co-star in "Being 17," Kacey Mottet Klein, is also nominated in the same category. The film was picked up for USA distribution by Strand Releasing, and opened in a limited theatrical run last fall. It's currently available on DVD in the USA.

--- And finally, French music video director Olivier Babinet's visually striking, atypical portrait of French youth, the documentary feature titled “Swagger,” is nominated in Best Documentary Film category. Described as “a teen-movie documentary,” the docu-drama (part non-fiction/part fiction) takes audiences on a journey into the astonishing minds of eleven teenagers growing up in one of the most underprivileged neighborhoods in France. Despite their life difficulties, the kids of the Aulnay and Sevran municipalities have dreams and ambitions which they share via a mix of one-on-one interviews and “impressively staged bursts of pure fiction,” including “a drone sequence where a fleet of CG spaceships invade the housing projects.” Ultimately, “Swagger” aims to uncover the pockets of creativity that those on the outside don’t get to see behind the dominant images of the rough environment that these kids live in. The filmmaker reportedly spent two years working with kids at the center of the film, before deciding to make a film about their lives. “Swagger” premiered as a Cannes Acid sidebar selection in May of last year, and opened in France in November, but has yet to screen outside of Europe as of the time of this posting. It looks like something that selective film festivals in the USA might pick up, serving as an alternative to the usual film depictions of underprivileged kids (mostly African and Middle Eastern) in France. But, as of today, the film is without an American distributor.

That's it in terms of nominees of African descent! The 2017 César Awards ceremony will be held on February 24, 2017.

See the full list of nominations below. And for our French readers, feel to chime in on any names or films that aren't highlighted above that should be.

Best Film




The Innocents

Slack Bay

From the Land of the Moon


Best Director

Houda Benyamina for Divines

Paul Verhoeven for Elle

Francois Ozon for Frantz

Anne Fontaine for The Innocents

Xavier Dolan for It’s Only the End of the World

Bruno Dumont for Slack Bay

Nicole Garcia for From the Land of the Moon

Best Actress

Judith Chemla for A Woman’s Life

Marion Cotillard for From the Land of the Moon

Virginie Efira for Victoria

Marina Fois for Faultless

Isabelle Huppert for Elle

Sidse Babett Knudsen for 150 Milligrams

Best Actor

Francois Cluzet for Irreplaceable

Pierre Deladonchamps for The Son of John

Nicolas Duvauchelle for A Decent Man

Fabrice Luchini for Slack Bay

Omar Sy for Chocolat

Gaspard Ulliel for It’s Only the End of the World

Best Supporting Actress

Nathalie Baye for It’s Only the End of the World

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi for Slack Bay

Anne Consigny for Elle

Deborah Lukumuena for Divines

Melanie Thierry for The Dancer

Best Supporting Actor

Gabriel Arcand for The Son of John

Vincent Cassel for It’s Only the End of the World

Vincent Lacoste for Victoria

Laurent Lafitte for Elle

Melvil Poupad for Victoria

James Thierree for Chocolat

Best New Actress

Oulaya Amamra for Divines

Paula Beer for Frantz

Lily-Rose Depp for The Dancer

Noemie Merlant for Heaven Will Wait

Raph for Slack Bay

Best New Actor

Jonas Bloquet for Elle

Damien Bonnard for Staying Vertical

Corentin Fila for Being 17

Kacey Mottet Klein for Being 17

Niels Schneider for Dark Inclusion

Best Foreign Film

Aquarius by Kleber Mendonca Filho (Portugal)

Graduation by Cristian Mungiu (Romania)

The Unknown Girl by The Dardenne Brothers (Belgium)

Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan (United States)

I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach (United Kingdom)

Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade (Germany)

Best Original Screenplay

Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina and Malik Rumeau for Divines

Solveig Anspach, Jean-Luc Gaget for The Aquatic Effect

Sabrina Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer and Anne Fontaine for The Innocents

Bruno Dumont for Slack Bay

Justine Triet for Victoria

Best Adapted Screenplay

David Birke for Elle

Severine Bosschem, Emmanuelle Bercot for 150 Milligrams

Francois Ozon for Frantz

Celine Sciamma for My Life as a Zucchini

Nicole Garcia, Jacquest Fieschi for From the Land of the Moon

Katell Quillevere, Gille Taurand for Heal the Living

Best Documentary Film

Derniers Nouvelles du Cosmos by Julie Bertucelli

Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi

Thanks Boss! by Francois Ruffin

Swagger by Olivier Babinet

Journey Through French Cinema by Bertrand Tavernier

Best First Film

The Fabulous Patars by Sophie Reine

The Dancer by Stephanie di Guisto

Dark Inclusion by Arthur Harari

Divines by Houda Benyamina

Rosalie Blum by Julien Rappeneau

Best Original Score

Gabriel Yared for Chocolat

Ibrahim Maalouf for In the Forests of Siberia

Anne Dudley for Elle

Philippe Romi for Frantz

Sophie Hunger for My Life as a Zucchini

Best Sound

Brigitte Taillandier, Vincent Guillon, Stephane Thiebaut for Chocolat

Jean-Paul Mugel, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz, Damie Lazzerini for Elle

Martin Boissau, Benoit Gargonne, Jean-Paul Hurier for Frantz

Jean-Pirre Duret, Sylvain Malbrant, Jean-Pierre Laforce for From the Land of the Moon

Marc Engles, Fred Demolder, Sylvain Rety, Jean-Paul Hurier for The Odyssey

Best Editing

Loic Lallemand, Vincent Tricon for Divines

Job Ter Burg for Elle

Laure Gardette for Frantz

Xavier Dolon for It’s Only the End of the World

Simon Jacquet for From the Land of the Moon

Best Cinematography

Stephane Fontaine for Elle

Pascal Marti for Frantz

Caroline Champetier for The Innocents

Guillaume Deffontaines for Slack Bay

Christophe Beaucarne for From the Land of the Moon

Best Costumes

Anais Romand for The Dancer

Pascaline Chavanne for Frantz

Catherine Leterrier for From the Land of the Moon

Alexander Charles for Slack Bay

Madeline Fontain for A Woman’s Life

Best Animated Film

The Girl Without Hands

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Best Animated Short Film

Cafe Froid

Celui Qui a Deux Ames

Journal Anime


Best Short Film

After Suzanne

Au Bruit des Clochettes

Chasse Royale


Vers la Tendresse

by Shadow and Act on April 20th 2017
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