Audiard nabs top award - in English

France’s answer to Golden Globes reveal winners

by Richard Mowe

Mother love - best actress for Elodie Bouchez in In Safe Hands
Mother love - best actress for Elodie Bouchez in In Safe Hands Photo: UniFrance

A French film made in English has won best film and best director for Jacques Audiard at the Lumières, often described as France’s answer to the Golden Globes. The accolades are awarded by the foreign press and media working in France.

Audiard’s film (his first foray into English) The Sisters Brothers with John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix is described as “a dark comedy Western.” It also won a prize for best cinematography for Benoît Debie.

Way out West … Joaquin Phoenix in The Sisters Brothers
Way out West … Joaquin Phoenix in The Sisters Brothers Photo: UniFrance

The other notable winner at the 24th edition of the awards was Jeanne Henry’s adoption drama In Safe Hands / Pupille with Gilles Lellouche, Sandrine Kiberlain and Elodie Bouchez who best actress for her performance as the prospective parent. The film is screening in the Glasgow Film Festival later this month.

Although the awards major on French language cinema a film in English has won before - Luc Besson’s epic The Messenger: The Story Of Joan Of Arc in 2000.

The recipient of best first film prize was Xavier Legrand’s much praised divorce drama Custody (shown at GFF last year) while Alex Lutz’s comedy-drama Guy, garnered best actor accolade for Lutz who not only directs but also portrays the ageing pop star sought out by his illegitimate son.

As part of the awards ceremony a tribute was paid to Claude Lelouch who is picking up the threads of his Oscar-winning A Man and a Woman (from 1966) for his new film Les plus belle années d’une vie featuring his original stars Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant 50 years on. It could be a natural contender for May’s Cannes Film Festival (where A Man And A Woman first bowed).

Lelouch was quoted as saying: “It’s the culmination of the films I’ve made, and the film I’ve always wanted to make and I can’t wait to show it.”

The Lumières are considered a valuable indicator for the Césars, which will be bestowed on 2 March.

Those awards in full:-

  • Best film - The Sisters Brothers, dir. Jacques Audiard
  • Best director - Jacques Audiard, The Sisters Brothers
  • Best actress - Elodie Bouchez, In Safe Hands / Pupille
  • Best actor - Alex Lutz, Guy
  • Best screenplay - Pierre Salvadori, Benoît Graffin and Benjamin Charbit, The Trouble With You
  • Best cinematography - Benoît Debie, The Sisters Brothers
  • Best male newcomer - Félix Maritaud, Sauvage
  • Best female newcomer - Ophélie Bau, Mektoub My Love
  • Best first film - Custody, dir. Xavier Legrand
  • Best film from French-speaking territories - Girl, dir. Lukas Dhont
  • Best feature animation - Dilili à Paris dir. Michel Ocelot
  • Best documentary - Samouni Road, dir. Stephano Savona
  • Best music - Vincent Blanchard and Romain Greffe, Guy
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