Cesar Awards: 'Elle' Takes Top Prizes of Best Film, Best Actress

12:22 PM 2/24/2017

by Jordan Mintzer and Rhonda Richford

'Divines' and 'It's Only the End of the World' each won three awards, while George Clooney delivered an anti-Trump speech as he accepted an honorary prize at the French ceremony.

Sony Pictures Classics

Paul Verhoeven's Elle took home best film at the 42nd annual Cesar Awards on Friday night, with Oscar-nominated star Isabelle Huppert walking away with best actress for the second time in her career. Overall, Elle won two awards, after going into the show with a leading 11 nominations

The other big winners were first-timer Houda Benyamina with her feature Divines, which won best first film, best new actress (Oulaya Amamra) and best supporting actress (Deborah Lukumuena). Xavier Dolan's It's Only the End of the World took home best director, best editing and best actor (Gaspard Ulliel) prizes, while the Franco-Swiss animation film My Life as a Zucchini won both best adapted screenplay and best animation film.

Elle and all the major winners premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, either in the main competition or the Directors' Fortnight sidebar. Ken Loach's Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake walked away with best foreign film.

George Clooney received an honorary award at the ceremony, using his time onstage to deliver a speech lashing out at U.S. President Donald Trump and alluding to the birth of his and wife Amal's expected twins. "Love Trump's hate, courage Trump's fear and always right Trump's wrong," he told the audience, with Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) standing by his side for an impromptu and sometimes hilarious French translation.

Best supporting actor went to Charlie Chaplin's grandson James Thierree for the period biopic Chocolat, which also took home the best production design award. Cinematographer Pascal Marti won top honors for his work on Francois Ozon's Frantz, while composer Ibrahim Maalouf won best score for In the Forests of Siberia.

Receiving her second Cesar after having been nominated 15 times throughout her career, Huppert half-joked to the crowd: "I'm good every year, but this year you finally noticed!" She then praised helmer Paul Verhoeven for how he "intelligently and audaciously" directed Elle. "We were lucky to have each other," said the actress, going on to mention author Philippe Djian, whose book Huppert originally brought to producer Said Ben Said as a potential project for her to star in.

The awards ceremony, which took place at Paris' historic Salle Pleyel, ran for a palatable three hours, with comic host Jerome Commandeur dishing out a few decent jokes as teary-eyed winners were whisked off the stage in the middle of their speeches. Jean-Paul Belmondo, the 83-year-old star of the 1960 classic Breathless and who suffered a stroke over a decade ago, gave the night's most moving discourse and received a hearty two-minute standing ovation from the audience.

This year's edition took place without its usual president after an uproar over the appointment of Roman Polanski, who declined the position amid protests by French feminist groups. 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.

A full list of winners follows.

  • Best Film

    Guy Ferrandis/SBS Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

    Elle (WINNER)



    The Innocents

    Slack Bay

    From the Land of the Moon


  • Best Director

    Xavier Dolan
    Xavier Dolan
    Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

    Xavier Dolan for It’s Only the End of the World (WINNER)

    Houda Benyamina for Divines

    Paul Verhoeven for Elle

    Francois Ozon for Frantz

    Anne Fontaine for The Innocents

    Bruno Dumont for Slack Bay

    Nicole Garcia for From the Land of the Moon

  • Best Actress

    Joe Pugliese

    Isabelle Huppert for Elle (WINNER)

    Judith Chemla for A Woman’s Life

    Marion Cotillard for From the Land of the Moon

    Virginie Efira for Victoria

    Marina Fois for Faultless

    Sidse Babett Knudsen for 150 Milligrams

  • Best Actor

    AP Images

    Gaspard Ulliel for It’s Only the End of the World (WINNER)

    Francois Cluzet for Irreplaceable

    Pierre Deladonchamps for The Son of John

    Nicolas Duvauchelle for A Decent Man

    Fabrice Luchini for Slack Bay

    Omar Sy for Chocolat

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Getty Images

    Deborah Lukumuena for Divines (WINNER)

    Nathalie Baye for It’s Only the End of the World

    Valeria Bruni Tedeschi for Slack Bay

    Anne Consigny for Elle

    Melanie Thierry for The Dancer

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Courtesy of Gaumont

    James Thierree for Chocolat (WINNER)

    Gabriel Arcand for The Son of John

    Vincent Cassel for It’s Only the End of the World

    Vincent Lacoste for Victoria

    Laurent Lafitte for Elle

    Melvil Poupad for Victoria

  • Best New Actress

    Marc Piasecki/WireImage

    Oulaya Amamra for Divines (WINNER)

    Paula Beer for Frantz

    Lily-Rose Depp for The Dancer

    Noemie Merlant for Heaven Will Wait

    Raph for Slack Bay

  • Best New Actor

    Marc Piasecki/WireImage

    Niels Schneider for Dark Inclusion (WINNER)

    Jonas Bloquet for Elle

    Damien Bonnard for Staying Vertical

    Corentin Fila for Being 17

    Kacey Mottet Klein for Being 17

  • Best Foreign Film

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach (United Kingdom) (WINNER)

    Aquarius by Kleber Mendonca Filho (Portugal)

    Graduation by Cristian Mungiu (Romania)

    The Unknown Girl by The Dardenne Brothers (Belgium)

    Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan (United States)

    Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade (Germany)

  • Best Original Screenplay

    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Solveig Anspach, Jean-Luc Gaget for The Aquatic Effect (WINNER)

    Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina and Malik Rumeau for Divines

    Sabrina Karine, Alice Vial, Pascal Bonitzer and Anne Fontaine for The Innocents

    Bruno Dumont for Slack Bay

    Justine Triet for Victoria

  • Best Adapted Screenplay

    Courtesy of gkids

    Celine Sciamma for My Life as a Zucchini (WINNER)

    David Birke for Elle

    Severine Bosschem, Emmanuelle Bercot for 150 Milligrams

    Francois Ozon for Frantz

    Nicole Garcia, Jacquest Fieschi for From the Land of the Moon

    Katell Quillevere, Gille Taurand for Heal the Living

  • Best Documentary Film

    Thanks Boss! by Francois Ruffin (WINNER)

    Derniers Nouvelles du Cosmos by Julie Bertucelli

    Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi

    Swagger by Olivier Babinet

    Journey Through French Cinema by Bertrand Tavernier

  • Best First Film

    Courtesy of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

    Divines by Houda Benyamina (WINNER)

    The Fabulous Patars by Sophie Reine

    The Dancer by Stephanie di Guisto

    Dark Inclusion by Arthur Harari

    Rosalie Blum by Julien Rappeneau

  • Best Original Score

    Ibrahim Maalouf for In the Forests of Siberia (WINNER)

    Gabriel Yared for Chocolat

    Anne Dudley for Elle

    Philippe Romi for Frantz

    Sophie Hunger for My Life as a Zucchini

  • Best Sound

    Courtesy of San Sebastian International Film Festival

    Marc Engles, Fred Demolder, Sylvain Rety, Jean-Paul Hurier for The Odyssey (WINNER)

    Brigitte Taillandier, Vincent Guillon, Stephane Thiebaut for Chocolat

    Jean-Paul Mugel, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz, Damie Lazzerini for Elle

    Martin Boissau, Benoit Gargonne, Jean-Paul Hurier for Frantz

    Jean-Pirre Duret, Sylvain Malbrant, Jean-Pierre Laforce for From the Land of the Moon


  • Best Editing

    Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

    Xavier Dolan for It’s Only the End of the World (WINNER)

    Loic Lallemand, Vincent Tricon for Divines

    Job Ter Burg for Elle

    Laure Gardette for Frantz

    Simon Jacquet for From the Land of the Moon

  • Best Cinematography

    Courtesy of Sundance

    Pascal Marti for Frantz (WINNER)

    Stephane Fontaine for Elle

    Caroline Champetier for The Innocents

    Guillaume Deffontaines for Slack Bay

    Christophe Beaucarne for From the Land of the Moon

  • Best Costumes

    Courtesy of Wild Bunch Distribution

    Anais Romand for The Dancer (WINNER)

    Pascaline Chavanne for Frantz

    Catherine Leterrier for From the Land of the Moon

    Alexander Charles for Slack Bay

    Madeline Fontain for A Woman’s Life

  • Best Animated Film

    Courtesy of gkids

    My Life as a Zucchini (WINNER)

    The Girl Without Hands

    The Red Turtle

  • Best Animated Short Film

    Celui Qui a Deux Ames (WINNER)

    Cafe Froid

    Journal Anime


  • Best Short Film


    Mamans (WINNER)

    Vers la Tendresse (WINNER)

    After Suzanne

    Au Bruit des Clochettes

    Chasse Royale

  • Best Production Design

    Courtesy of Gaumont

    Jeremie D. Lignol for Chocolat (WINNER)

    Carlos Conti for The Dancer

    Michel Barthelemy for Frantz

    Riton Dupire-Clement for Slack Bay

    Katia Wyszkop for Planetarium