Cesar Awards: 'Timbktu' Sweeps, Kristen Stewart Makes History

'Timbuktu,' Abderrahmane Sissako (Competition)

The sole representative of African cinema in competition this year, the fifth solo directing effort from the Mauritania-born, Mali-raised Sissako was inspired by the real-life story of the 2012 stoning in Northern Mali of a young unmarried couple by Islamists in front of hundreds of onlookers. Sissako is one of the filmmakers from sub-Saharan Africa to enjoy international recognition, and he's been a Cannes regular. Both Bamako (2007) and Waiting for Happiness (2002) screened on the Croisette, the latter winning the Fipresci critics honor for titles screening in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. (Sales: Le Pacte)

She's the first American to win an actress award at the French ceremony, while the Oscar-nominated film took home seven trophies.

Timbuktu swept while Marion Cotillard wept at France's top awards Friday night.

The Oscar-nominated Timbuktu, which is in the running for the best foreign-language film category, took home seven trophies — including best film, best director, best editing, best sound and best cinematography — during the ceremony. It was clear that it was a front runner early in the evening, if Monday night's best producer award wasn't enough indication. 
Director Aberrahmane Sissako told The Hollywood Reporter he is flying to Los Angeles tomorrow to be there in time for the Oscars.
Kristen Stewart made history for her Sils Maria win — the first American to win an actress award from the French Academy. She expressed love for French film during her speech and when speaking with press.
"There is a great divide between what motivates people to make films in the States and to compare it to what motivates people to make films here, and I kinda prefer it here," she said.
"If you're not scared of something it's not worth it. It takes a pretty unique American filmmaker to do something and to do it scared and to do it anyway, and here that's what it's really about and what film lives and breathes here," she said.
She hinted at another project with Sils Maria director Olivier Assayas, saying: "This is where I feel and I can do my best and be happiest, so it's huge," Stewart said of the award. She also credited her winning performance to co-star and best actress nominee Julliette Binoche. "I'm standing in front of a room where I don't have to explain the power of Juliette. Everything in the movie is a reflection of her."
Binoche didn't win her category; instead Cannes favorite Love at First Fight's Adele Haenel took home the top prize, adding another Cesar to her cabinet after last year's best supporting win. Cotillard, who is nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Two Days, One Night, was also passed over to the audible surprise of the audience.
Cotillard did however present Sean Penn with an honorary Cesar, in a long, emotional speech which brought her to tears and made the recipient visibly touched. She recalled how his films have moved her, and called him an "actor, director and humanist." Penn called French film a "refuge" from commercial Hollywood films, and said that it is a "breath of fresh air" when he gets too jaded about the business.
"It has been a very sustaining inspiration, so when I came with my first film as a director, which was in Cannes, there was a sense of film and a discussion about film that was so refreshing and compared to that which I think is follow the advertising, which instead of let the advertising follow, which I think is too much in American film and so to be honored by those who honor me with inspiration and encouragement is notable," he said.
In the lead acting categories, it was the year of youth, with Haenel, 26, besting both Oscar winners Binoche and Cotillard and Pierre Niney, 25, taking home trophies. It's notable because in addition to the supporting categories, the French Academy has a "best hope" prize that is usually awarded to young actors. This year those went to former The Voice contestant Louane Emera for the feel-good hit The Belier Family and Haenel's co-star Kevin Azais.
Here is the list of nominees, with the winners in bold: 
Best Film
Timbuktu (WINNER)
Love at First Fight
Eastern Boys
The Belier Family
Saint Laurent
Sils Maria

Best Director 
Abderrahmane Sissako for Timbuktu (WINNER)
Celine Sciamma for Girlhood
Thomas Cailley for Love at First Fight
Robin Campillo for Eastern Boys
Thomas Lilti for Hippocrates
Bertrand Bonello for Saint Laurent
Olivier Assays for Sils Maria

Best Actress 
Adele Haenel for Love at First Fight (WINNER)
Juliette Binoche for Sils Maria
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Catherine Deneuve for Dans la Cour
Emilie Dequenne for Not My Type
Sandrine Kiberlain for Elle l’Adore
Karin Viard for The Belier Family

Best Supporting Actress 
Kristen Stewart for Sils Maria (WINNER)
Marianne Denicourt for Hippocrates
Claude Gensac for Lulu in the Nude
Izia Higelin for Samba
Charlotte Le Bon for Yves Saint Laurent

Best Actor 
Pierre Niney for Yves Saint Laurent (WINNER)
Niels Arestrup for Diplomatie
Guillaume Canet for Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart
Francois Damines for The Belier Family
Romain Duris for The New Girlfriend
Vincent Lacoste for Hippocrates
Gaspard Ulliel for Saint Laurent

Best Supporting Actor
Reda Kateb for Hippocrates (WINNER)
Eric Elmosnino for The Belier Family
Guillaume Gallienne for Yves Saint Laurent
Louis Garrel for Saint Laurent
Jeremie Renier for Saint Laurent

Best Original Screenplay
Abderrahmane SissakoKessen Tall for Timbuktu (WINNER)
Thomas Cailley, Claude le Pape for Love at First Fight
Victoria BedosStanislas Carre de Malberg, Eric Lartigau and Thomas Bidegain for The Belier Family
Thomas LiltiBaya KasmiJulien Lilti and Pierre Chosson for Hippocrates
Oliver Assayas for Sils Maria

Best Adapted Screenplay
Cyril GelyVolker Schlondorff for Diplomatie (WINNER)
Mathieu Almaric, Stephanie Cleau for The Blue Room
Solveig Anspach, Jean-Luc Gaget for Lulu in the Nude
Lucas Belvaux for Not My Type
Cederic Anger for Next Time I’ll Aim for the Heart

Best Costume
Anais Romand for Saint Laurent (WINNER)
Pierre-Yves Gayraud for The Beauty and the Beast
Carine Sarfati for The Connection
Pascaline Chavanne for The New Girlfriend
Madeline Fontaine for Yves Saint Laurent 

Best Set Decoration
Thierry Flamand for The Beauty and the Beast (WINNER)
Jean-Philippe Moreau for The Connection
Katia Wyszkop for Saint Laurent
Sebastian Birchler for Timbuktu
Aline Bonetto for Yves Saint Laurent

Best Cinematography
Sofian el Fani for Timbuktu (WINNER)
Christophe Beaucarne for The Beauty and the Beast
Josee Deshaies for Saint Laurent
Yorick le Saux for Sils Maria
Thomas Hardmeier for Yves Saint Laurent

Best Editing
Lilian Corbielle for Love at First Fight
Christel Dewynter for Hippocrates
Frederic Baillehaiche for Party Girl
Fabrice Rouad for Saint Laurent
Nadia Ben Rachid for Timbuktu

Best Sound
Philippe Welsh, Roman Dymn, Thierry Delor for Timbuktu (WINNER)
Pierre Andre and Daniel Sobrino for Girlhood
Jean-Jacques Ferran, Nicolas Moreau, Jean-Pierre Laforce for Bird People
Jean-Luc AudyGuillaume BouchateauNiels Barletta for Love at First Fight
Nicolas Cantin, Nicolas Moreau, Jean-Pierre Laforce for Saint Laurent

Best Animated Film
Minuscule (WINNER)
Le Chant de la Mer
Jack and the Cuckooclock Heart

Best First Film
Love at First Fight by Thomas Cailley (WINNER)
Elle l’Adore by Jeanne Herry
Fidelio by Lucie Borleteau
Party Girl by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
May Allah Bless France by Abd al Malik

Best New Actress
Louane Emera for The Belier Family (WINNER)
Lou de Laage for Breathe
Josephine Japy for Breathe
Ariane Labed for Fidelio
Karidja Toure for Girlhood

Best New Actor
Kevin Azais for Love at First Fight (WINNER)
Ahmed Drame for Les Heritiers
Kirill Emelyanov for Eastern Boys
Pierre Rochefort for Going Away
Marc Zinga for May Allah Bless France

Best Original Music
Amine Bouhafa for Timbuktu (WINNER)
Jean-Baptiste de Laubier for Girlhood
Beatrice Thiriet for Bird People
Lionel Flairs, Benoit Rault, Philippe Deshaies for Love at First Fight
Ibrahim Maalouf for Yves Saint Laurent

Best Documentary 
The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado (WINNER)
Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy by Stephanie Valloatto
Les Chevres de Ma Mere by Sophie Audier
La Cour de Babel by Julie Bertuccelli
National Gallery by Frederick Wiseman

Best Short Film 
Le Femme de Rio by Emma Luchini, Nicolas Rey (WINNER)
Aissa by Clement Trehin-Lalanne
Inupiluk by Sebastien Betbeder
Les Jours d’Avant by Karim Moussaoui
Ou Je Mets Ma Pudeur by Sebastien Bailly
La Viree a Paname by Carine May and Hakim Zouhani

Best Animated Short Film
Les Petits Caillous by Chloe Mazlo (WINNER)
Bang Bang by Julien Bisaro
La Buche de Noel by Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier
La Petite Casserole d’Anatole by Eric Montchaud