Oscar History

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"The French Oscars" 

Red Carpet Lineup! I wonder how various countries feel about their awards being referred to as "the _____ Oscars" all the time. It's as if America's 83 year old institution is the only film institution, all others being "spinoffs" or somesuch. I know it's just shorthand but I wonder. The French César Awards for example. How do they feel? And also: why did the César's get started so much later than the Oscars, with France being the birthplace of cinema and all? They didn't start until the mid 70s by which time Oscar was already a middle aged institution.

Polanski at the Césars in 2003 with Adrien Brody | Polanski with Nathalie Baye at the Césars in 2011.

Fast forward to now. Roman Polanski, who was the toast of the show in early 2003 for The Pianist was also a darling of the night in early 2011 for The Ghost Writer, repeating the pattern we've been seeing all awards season: The Ghost Writer is awards bait everywhere but in the U.S.

The Gallic stars came out to celebrate the Césars. Here's a sampling of stars, one American who speaks perfect French, winners, and also a quick layover in Japan. after the jump.

Whenever I see Jodie Foster at an event like this with her perfect French and sharpboned beauty I always think, why doesn't she make movies in France where women over 40 can still get juicy parts? But then I remember that Jodie Foster could probably get most any part she wanted back in Hollywood too but clearly doesn't care. Ah well. Not all movie stars can be thespians to the bone marrow. Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein, co-stars in I've Love You So Long. Remember Valerie LeMercier in Claire Denis's Friday Night?  Her shoes seem to be fashioned from her dress? Are they attached? (She'll next be seen Stateside in the romantic comedy Monte Carlo starring Leighton Meester and Selena Gomez.) Finally the goddess herself Catherine Deneuve. You know how they call the American prize the "Oscar" even though people argue about how the name came to be? Why César? I mean, they didn't start until 1975 so why didn't they call the award "The Deneuve"

 Emmanuelle Béart must have really done a number on me early on because I still think about her and I never see her in movies anymore. Any French readers know what happened to her erotic movie she made with her husband -- the one that Cannes didn't accept? Did it come out in theaters? Quentin Tarantino and Diane Kruger were still all chummy at the ceremony. He was receiving an honorary statue. Do you think she'll be in his next movie? Will he ever make one or are we due for a long lull again? Nathalie Baye. The End. Or Finis.

Film OF GODS AND MEN by Xavier Beauvois
First Film GAINSBOURG (VIE HEROIQUE) by Joann Sfar
Animated Film THE ILLUSIONIST by Sylvain Chomet
Foreign Film THE SOCIAL NETWORK by David Fincher
Director ROMAN POLANSKI, the Ghost Writer
Actress SARA FORESTIER, le nom des gens
Supporting Actress ANNE ALVARO, The Clink of Ice
Female Newcomer LEILA BEKHTI, tout ce qui brille

Oh man. If the Oscars had a female newcomer category we could be saved so much embarrassment at the way they neglect our best actresses for the new flavors of each year.

Actor ERIC ELMOSNINO in Gainsbourg (vie héroïque)
Supporting Actor MICHAEL LONSDALE Of Gods and Men
Male Newcomer EDGAR RAMIREZ Carlos
Original Screenplay Le Nom des Gens
Adapted Screenplay The Ghost Writer
Documentary Oceans by Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud
Short Film Logorama (this won the Oscar last year)
Costume Design La Princesse de Montpensier
Art Direction Les Aventures Extraordinaries d'Adele Blanc-sec
Editing The Ghost Writer
Cinematography Of Gods and Men
Music ALEXANDER DESPLAT, The Ghost Writer

Happy that Desplat won for such a great score. I suspect he repeats at the Oscars. But why couldn't they have nominated The Ghost Writer score instead? *sniffle*

P.S. Ubiquitous French hearththrob Louis Garrel was also there. [photo from Zimbio] He couldn't be bothered to brush his hair even for a black tie event.  But that's kind of his thing.

He has a great cameo in Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats (just reviewed) and they'll be working together again in Dolan's third feature Laurence Anyways about a transsexual. [UPDATED: thanks to Stefano and Boyd. Garrel has dropped out of this film with Melvil Poupaud playing the would be transsexual instead. Nathalie Baye, also featured in this post, will play his mother.]

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Reader Comments (14)

Actually I've read (in a pretty reliable paper in Mtl.) that Garrel plays the transexual. It also stars Nathalie Baye & Dolan won't act in it this time. Apparently 'cause it's a much bigger production than he previous 2 movies.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

I say again: "The Ghost Writer" is the best english-speaking film of the year. Just didn't get the publicity required for Oscar I guess.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdude99

Garrel has dropped out of Laurence Anyways; the lead role will be played by Melvil Poupaud.

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStefano

They're called Césars because the actual trophies are a sculpture by César (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar_Baldaccini).

I looked up that movie you mentioned with Béart, apparently it was released last May in France but i never heard of it...

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstarfish

"I wonder how various countries feel about their awards being referred to as "the _____ Oscars" all the time."

I don't know how it is in other countries, but here in Denmark even our own media will sometimes refer the "Robert Awards", the awards from the Danish Film Academy, as the Danish Oscars..!

The "Bodil Award", which is an award given by film critics and film writers, and is the more prestigious and the oldest (from 1948. Robert started in 1983) isn't refered to as the Danish Golden Globes though :D

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael W.

Les Césars are so cool. And look at the winners... classy choices

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Nat, if you've never seen the French film "Palais Royal" from circa 2007, you have to catch it! It's a satire on the Prince Charles/Lady Di scandal, with Valerie Lemercier (NOT LeMercier!) playing the Lady Di part...and Catherine Deneuve is in it too...with Lambert Wilson as the Prince Charles...thought that would get your attention!

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Before being an actress, Valerie Lemercier is one of the funniest person on Earth. Of course, you need to speak french to understand her routine,

February 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBenjh

Well in a Guardian interview Kristen Scott Thomas told Foster, Blanchett and Streep (who all speak french) to back off and to not dream of making a french movie!

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjohn

Best thing about the show was the presence of Olivia De Havilland in the audience. I kept hoping that they would put her on the stage, which never happened, but just watching her was a thrill. Still gorgeous.

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulien


February 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yeah, Garrel dropped out and was replaced by Melvil Poupaud. Nathalie Baye will play his mother and Suzanne Clément his wife, who has to deal with the fact he wants a sex change.

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterboyd

Boyd & Stefano -- oh i love Melvil Poupaud so it's all good.

February 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I would love to see François Ozon directing "8 hommes" with all these incredible french hotties: Poupaud, Garrel, Cassel, Duris, Rahim...

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue
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