Abderrahmane Sissako, whose Timbuktu swept the César board collecting seven awards
Its success at the 40th edition of what are dubbed “the French Oscars” bodes well for Sunday’s Academy Awards where the film is nominated for best foreign language film.
Sissako, unlike many of the recipients, gave a measured response to the glory thrust upon him by thanking the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival for launching the film last year (although it missed out on any main prizes).
He waxed lyrical about the French film industry and his producer Sylvie Pialat for supporting him over the two decades since he came in France. He felt protected and nurtured in a country that is able to stand up to “terror attacks and other horrors.” He evoked too the citizens of his home country of Mauritania who he felt sure would be watching and rooting for him.
The film’s sweep of the board also included best sound, cinematography, editing, music, original screenplay, which he wrote with his wife Kessen Tall.
Kirsten Stewart, wobbling on the highest of heels, was the first American actress to win a César trophy for her performance opposite Juliet Binoche in Olivier Assayas’s Sils Maria.
Xavier Dolan’s Mommy surprisingly was named best foreign language film (in competition with Boyhood, 12 Years A Slave, Two Days One Night, Grand Budapest Hotel and Winter Sleep), a nice addition to its jury prize from Cannes.
In the acting stakes the Academie members supported the younger generation with gongs for Comedie Francaise-trained Pierre Niney for his performance in Jalil Lespert’s Yves Saint Laurent and Adele Haenel for her feisty role in Love At First Fight. Haenel’s sparring partner in the film, Kevin Azais, was best male newcomer and the film won in the best first film category, adding to its considerable awards roll.
Sean Penn had to wait until close to the end of the ceremony to receive his honorary César which was presented by Marion Cottillard to a standing ovation.
Those awards in full:-
- Abderrahmane Sissako for Timbuktu
- Adèle Haenel for Love At First Fight
Best Supporting Actress
- Kristen Stewart for Sils Maria
- Pierre Niney for Yves Saint Laurent
Best Supporting Actor
- Reda Kateb for Hippocrates
Best Original Screenplay
- Abderrahmane Sissako, Kessen Tall for Timbuktu
Best Adapted Screenplay
- Cyril Gély, Volker Schlöndorff for Diplomatie
- Anaïs Romand for Saint Laurent
Best Set Decoration
- Thierry Flamand for The Beauty And The Beast
- Sofian el Fani for Timbuktu
- Philippe Welsh, Roman Dymn, Thierry Delor for Timbuktu
Best Animated Film
Best Foreign Language Film
Best First Film
- Love At First Fight by Thomas Cailley
Best New Actress
- Louane Emera for The Belier Family
Best New Actor
- Kevin Azaïs for Love At First Fight
Best Original Music
- Amine Bouhafa for Timbuktu
- The Salt Of The Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
Best Short Film
- Le Femme De Rio by Emma Luchini, Nicolas Rey
Best Animated Short Film
- Les Petits Caillous by Chloé Mazlo