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Albert Dupontel’s dark comedy Bye Bye Morons was the big winner at the 2021 César Awards, France’s top film honor, held Friday night.
Bye Bye Morons won 7 Césars, including best film and best director. Dupontel also won best original screenplay for his script. The film also picked up the best supporting actor César for Nicolas Marié, best production design for Carlos Conti, and best cinematography for Alexis Kavyrchine. Bye Bye Morons also won the César des lycéens, a people’s choice award, voted on by French high school students. The film follows a seriously ill woman who tries to find her long-lost child with the help of a blind archivist and man in the middle of a burnout.
French-Tunesian star Sami Bouajil won the best actor César for his performance in Mehdi Barsaoui’s A Son as a man whose son has been gunned down by terrorists.
France’s Oscar contender, Two of Us, which made it onto the Academy Award shortlist for best international feature film this year, picked up the César for best first film from debut director Filippo Meneghetti. But the film’s two leads, Martine Chevallier and Barbara Sukowa, both nominated in the best actress category as women who have secretly been lovers for decades, lost out to Laure Calamy for her performance in Caroline Vignal’s comedy romance My Donkey, My Lover, and I.
The 46th César Awards, France’s top film honor, kicked off Friday night with French actress Marina Fois (Polisse) and actor Roschdy Zem (The Cold Light of Day) hosting the event before a small, masked audience in Paris.
The first award of the night, for best female newcomer, went to Fathia Youssouf for her debut performance in Maïmouna Doucouré’s Cuties, the Netflix film which became a cause célèbre after it was targeted by online trolls. The 14-year-old Youssouf received her trophy from French cinema legend Isabelle Huppert.
Jean-Pascal Zadi took the best male newcomer honor for Tout Simplement Noir, a satire about race relations in France, in which he stars, and which Zadi directed together with John Wax.
Emilie Dequenne won the best-supporting actress César for her role in Emmanuel Mouret’s Love Affair(s) (The Things We Say, The Things We Do), which was the César frontrunner going into this year’s award, with 13 nominations. The film, which features an ensemble cast and is made of a series of romantic tales, was part of the Cannes 2020 official selection.
Stéphanie Demoustier won best-adapted screenplay for The Girl With a Bracelet, his adaptation of the Argentine film The Accused.
Madeline Fontaine took best costume design for the comedy How to Be a Good Wife from director Martin Provost.
Josep, directed by French cartoonist Aurel, won for best-animated film. The 2D feature tells the largely unknown story of Spanish illustrator Josep Bartolí.
French electronic music artist Rone took best score for his work on Night Ride by director Frédéric Farrucci.
The best documentary César went to Adolescentes from director Sébastien Lifshitz, which follows the relationship between two girls, best friends since childhood, over several years. The film also won for best editing, for Tina Baz, and best sound design for Yolande Decarsin, Jeanne Deplancq, Fanny Martin, and Olivier Goinard.
Les Misérables, Ladj Ly’s look at life in the Parisian banlieues, won the César for best film at last year’s event, beating out all comers, including Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy. But the French Film Academy ignored a street full of protesters and a furious army of online critics to give Polanski its top directing honor that year.
A scandal of another sort, concerning the award’s operating model and corporate leadership, led to an industry-wide revolt last year that resulted in the resignation of long-time César Academy president Alain Terzian, along with the rest of the 21-member board of governors.
This year’s ceremony is the first Césars since the overhaul. One of the new management’s greatest accomplishments has been to achieve gender parity within the administration board of the Association for the Promotion of Cinema (APC), the organization that oversees the Cesar Academy.
Full list of Cesar 2021 winners in the major categories:
Bye Bye Morons, dir: Albert Dupontel
Albert Dupontel, Bye Bye Morons
Laure Calamy, My Donkey, My Lover, and I
Sami Bouajila, A Son
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Another Round, dir: Thomas Vinterberg
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Emilie Dequenne, Love Affair(s) (The Things We Say, The Things We Do)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nicolas Mairé, Bye Bye Morons
BEST FEMALE NEWCOMER
Fathia Youssouf, Cuties
BEST MALE NEWCOMER
Jean-Pascal Zadi, Tout Simplement Noir
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Albert Dupontel, Bye Bye Morons
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Stéphanie Demoustier, The Girl With a Bracelet
Alexis Kavyrchine, Bye Bye Morons
Tina Baz, Adolescentes
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Madeline Fontaine, How to Be a Good Wife
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Yolande Decarsin, Jeanne Deplancq, Fanny Martin and Olivier Goinard for Adolescentes
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Carlos Conti, Bye Bye Morons
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Josep, dir: Aurel
Adolescentes, dir: Sébastien Lifshitz
BEST FIRST FILM
Two Of Us, dir: Filippo Meneghetti
Rone, Night Ride
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