César Awards

César Awards
Photo: academie-cinema.org
The César Award is one of the most significant film awards in Europe. It is the national film award of France that has been awarded by the Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques (Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma) since 1976. The César Award is often referred to as the French equivalent of the Academy Award.

The Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques was founded in 1975 by film producer and publicity agent Georges Cravenne in order to promote the art of cinema and to reward outstanding achievements in the French film industry. The inaugural César Awards took place on April 3, 1976. The awards were named after noted French sculptor César Baldaccini, better known simply as César, who designed the trophy. The name is also an homage to French actor Raimu who is famous for playing César in Marcel Pagnol’s Marseilles film trilogy.

Winners are determined by vote open to the active members of the Academy. There are about 4,000 voters divided into several colleges (directors, producers, screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, distributors, technicians, agents, casting directors, press representatives, associated members). There are two rounds of secret voting. The first round is designed to determine nominations per category. The second round determines the winner in each category.

The award ceremony is held annually in late February. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture of France. A special luncheon for nominees is held a few weeks before the ceremony at the historic Fouquet’s restaurant. The ceremony has changed several venues over the years. Since 2002, the César Awards ceremony has been held in the Théâtre du Châtelet located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. It is broadcast live by Canal+.

The César Awards are awarded in more than 20 categories, of which most are standard, like Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. The Best Film award is considered the main one. Besides, there are several special awards including the Honorary César for outstanding contribution to the film industry. Films which received the most César Awards are Cyrano de Bergerac by Jean-Paul Rappeneau (13 nominations and 10 wins) and The Last Metro by François Truffaut (12 nominations, 10 wins). Roman Polanski has won the most awards as a director (4 nominations, 4 wins) and Isabelle Adjani has the most wins among actors and actresses (8 nominations, 5 wins).

César Awards

Photo: C. ASSEMAN - ENS Louis-Lumière pour l’Académie des César 2015




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