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Xavier Giannoli’s sprawling period piece Lost Illusions has won the top prize for best film at the 2022 Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars.
Lost Illusions was the front-runner going into this year’s Cesars, with 15 nominations. It picked up 7 awards, including the best male newcomer nod for star Benjamin Voisin, best-adapted screenplay honors for Xavier Giannoli and Jacques Fieschi’s big-screen version of the Honoré de Balzac’s classic novel, a best-supporting actor award for Vincent Lacoste, best cinematography for Christophe Beaucarne, best costume design for Pierre-Jean Laroque, and best set design for Riton Dupire-Clement.
The plot of Lost Illusions revolves around the young and ambitious, but poor poet Lucien de Rubempré (Voisin), who starts up a forbidden affair with the baroness Louise de Bargeton (Cécile de France). Music Box picked up North American rights for the film.
Leos Carax’s musical romance Annette starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, which was last year’s opening night film in Cannes, picked up 11 Cesar nominations and won 5, including best director for Carax. Driver was nominated in the best actor category, one of the few American stars to get a Cesar nomination, but lost out to Benoît Magimel, who took the prize for his starring role in
Emmanuelle Bercot’s Peaceful.
Based on a concept album from L.A. band Sparks, Annette stars Driver as Henry, a stand-up comedian who falls in love with Ann, an opera singer (Cotillard). Their glamorous lifestyle is disrupted by the birth of their first child, Annette, a mysterious little girl with an extraordinary talent. Amazon Studios was an early backer on Annette, securing U.S. rights early on.
Sparks duo Ron and Russell Mael took the Cesar for best original score. Annette also won the Cesar for best visual effects for Guillaume Pondard, best editing honors for Nelly Quettier, and for best sound editing. Sparks turned up at the Cesar ceremony to perform the film’s opening tune, So May We Start.
Valerie Lemercier’s Aline, a musical comedy-drama loosely based on the life of Celine Dion, secured 10 Cesar nominations, and won best actress for Lemercier, who plays the title role. Julia Ducournau’s Cannes’ Palme d’Or-winning Titane, however, which had picked up four Cesar nominations, including a best director nom for Ducournau, was completely shut out.
Other top Cesar contenders included Cedric Jimenez’s action-packed cop drama The Stronghold, which Netflix picked up outside France, Yann Gozlan’s thriller Black Box, and Jacques Audiard’s contemporary love drama Paris, 13th District, all went home empty-handed.
The Cesar for best first film went to Vincent Mael Cardona’s debut Magnetic Beats, a drama about a kid living in Brittany in the 1980s who called up for military service and drafted to West Berlin. Onoda, 10,000 Nights in the Jungle, a WW2 drama that follows a Japanese soldier who retreats to the jungle to continue fighting the war long after Japan surrenders, took the Cesar for best original screenplay for screenwriters Arthur Harari and Vincent Poymiro.
Anamaria Vartolomei took best female newcomer for her starring role in Happening, Audrey Diwan’s Venice Golden Lion-winning, period drama set in 1960s France, when abortion was still illegal in the country. Best supporting actress went to Aissatou Diallo Sagna for her performance as an overworked hospital care worker in Catherine Corsini’s The Divide.
Best documentary honors went to The Velvet Queen, a nature doc from Marie Amiguet and wildlife photographer Vincent Munier, shot on the Tibetan plateau. Florian Zeller’s double Oscar winner The Father picked up the Cesar for best foreign film. Patrick Imbert’s The Summit of Gods won for best-animated feature.
Cate Blanchett received this year’s honorary Cesar Award for lifetime achievement, accepting the prize from French acting legend Isabelle Huppert. But perhaps the most moving moment of the night came when Canadian actor and director Xavier Dolan paid tearful and heartfelt tribute to his It’s Only the End of the World star Gaspard Ulliel, who died, aged 37, earlier this year following a skiing accident.
French director and screenwriter Daniele Thompson hosted Friday’s 47th Cesar Awards ceremony at the Olympia Music Hall in Paris.
A complete list of the winners follows.
Lost Illusions, Xavier Giannoli, produced by Olivier Delbosc, Sidonie Dumas
Leos Carax, Annette
Valerie Lemercier, Aline
Benoit Magimel, Peaceful
Christophe Beaucarne, Lost Illusions
Best Supporting Actress
Aissatou Diallo Sagna, The Divide
Best Supporting Actor
Vincent Lacoste, Lost Illusions
Best Female Newcomer
Anamaria Vartolomei, Happening
Best Male Newcomer
Benjamin Voisin, Lost Illusions
Best First Film
Magnetic Beats, Vincent Mael Cardona
Best Foreign Film
The Father, Florian Zeller
Best Original Screenplay
Arthur Harari, Vincent Poymiro, Onoda, 10,000 Nights in the Jungle
Best Adapted Screenplay
Xavier Giannoli, Jacques Fieschi, Lost Illusions
Best Animated Film
The Summit of Gods, Patrick Imbert
The Velvet Queen, Marie Amiguet
Best Original Score
Ron Mael, Russell Mael, Annette
Best Sound Editing
Erwan Kerzanet, Kaita Boutin, Mawence Dussere, Paul Haymans, Thomas Gauder, Annette
Nelly Quettier, Annette
Pierre-Jean Laroque, Lost Illusions
Best Set Design
Riton Dupire-Clement, Lost Illusions
Best Visual Effects
Guillaume Pondard, Annette
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