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After an uproar over the appointment of Roman Polanski as president of this year’s Cesar Awards, the director on Tuesday declined the position, and feminist groups called off a planned protest, leaving the French Academy free to announce its nominees in Paris on Wednesday morning.
The Academy faced heavy criticism after appointing the director, who is still wanted in the U.S. for fleeing from sentencing after pleading guilty to a statutory rape charge in 1977.
"This decision is a victory, a first victory for those who want violence against women to be taken seriously, to create a real awareness of the magnitude and gravity of the phenomenon that leads to concrete actions to protect victims, the conviction of the perpetrators and above all, a real change in education and therefore the behavior of men in our society,” organizers wrote after Polanski withdrew.
Per tradition, the Cesar nominations announcement was made Wednesday in a breakfast presentation at the famed Fouquet’s restaurant on the Champs-Elysees by academy president Alain Terzian, who started off by congratulating Isabelle Huppert on her Oscar nomination.
Huppert was nominated in the best actress category for the Cesars, where she will compete with the likes of Marion Cotillard, and Elle topped the list of films in competition with 11 nominations, including for best film and best director for Paul Verhoeven.
Francois Ozon's Frantz scored 10 nominations, while Slack Bay followed with nine, and From the Land of the Moon received eight.
Cannes Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake was nominated in the best foreign film category alongside Oscar contender Manchester by the Sea.
Following the nominations announcement, Terzian also briefly addressed the Polanski controversy, calling the director "a great figure of global cinema" who has been honored by the Golden Globes, Oscars, Cannes' Palme d'Or and the Venice and Berlin film festivals. "He is a great artist of the world."
He concluded: "Polanski decided not to take the position, I don't get involved in these types of scandals…. The only thing we need to look at is his work as an artist."
The awards ceremony will be held Feb. 24.
See the full list of nominations below.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival