The “French Oscars” reward a film on feminicide but criticized for the lack of women
The lack of female nominees was a topic of discussion Friday at the César Awards, France’s answer to the Oscars, despite the top prize going to a film focusing on femicide.
The prize for best film went to “La Nuit du 12”, a thriller based on the true story of the murder of a young woman.
There was a touch of Hollywood glitz thanks to a surprise cameo from Brad Pitt, presenting David Fincher (who directed him in “Fight Club” and “Seven”) with a lifetime achievement award.
But much of the focus has been on the lack of female nominees, with no woman being named Best Director – indeed, none have won the award since 2000 (Tonie Marshall for “Venus Beauty Institute”).
The only female filmmaker whose film was in the running for best picture was Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, sister of former first lady and French singer Carla Bruni.
And his film, ‘Les Amandiers’ (titled ‘Forever Young’ overseas) has been overshadowed by a scandal involving its star, Sofiane Bennacer, who is under police investigation following allegations of rape and violence against a partner.
“I’m thinking of all the female directors who should have been celebrated tonight,” said Noémie Merlant as she accepted the Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Les Innocents.”
“I miss them,” added Merlant, who captured international attention in 2019’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”
There were a few other victories for women.
Alice Diop won Best Debut Album for ‘Saint Omer’ and told the audience, “We’re not just passing through, and we’re not just a fad.
“Women’s voices are extremely important. I hope we will be here again next year and the years after,” she said.
Irene Dresel became the first woman to win the César for best musical score for “Full Time” and dedicated her award to all female composers, who have only been nominated for the Césars five times.
The issue of female nominees was all the more troublesome as the Académie des César saw a top-to-bottom renewal in 2020 after Roman Polanski, who was convicted of child rape in the 1970s, arrived in topped the list of nominees and took home the top award. director, triggering angry protests.
It’s not that France lacks female talent: French female directors have won top prizes at Cannes, Berlin and Venice for the past two years.
“Last year, the Academy of Oscars was criticized for having such a white selection, and this year for being so masculine. The Césars 2023 combine the two types of invisibility”, declared the 50/50 Collective, which campaigns for greater female representation in French cinema.
As for the best actor, it went to Benoit Magimel for “Pacification” and to the best actress Virginie Efira for “Paris Memories”.
But the night belonged to “La Nuit du 12” which won a total of six awards, including Best Director for Dominik Moll.