Cesar Awards: 'Amour' Wins Best Picture, 'Argo' Best Foreign Language Film


"I don't want to go on."

Emmanuelle Riva as Anne

Michael Haneke takes best director, Emmanuelle Riva best actress at the French ceremony.

PARIS -- The Cesars were in love with Amour on Friday night, giving the best picture Oscar nominee its top prizes of best film, actor, actress and director at the 38th annual ceremony in Paris.

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Emmanuelle Riva took home the best actress prize, and her co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant also won his category.

Riva received a standing ovation from the crowd accepting the first Cesar of her long career.

Amour's Michael Haneke, who won best director, was not present at the ceremony, as he was en route from Madrid to Los Angeles to attend the Oscars on Sunday. He also skipped the premiere of the play he is directing at Madrid’s Teatro Real that will open on Saturday night. He left a letter of apology and explanation for the audience, which will be unveiled at the start of the performance, a spokesperson for the theater confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. The next performance will be Tuesday.

After the ceremony, best actress Oscar nominee Riva also left for Hollywood. 

Ben Affleck’s Argo took home the best foreign film award.

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The red carpet entrance was dampened not only by bits of snowfall but by protests across the street. The National Union of Technicians and Production Workers of Cinematography and Television (SNTPCT) gathered a large crowd to demand wage increases.

Kevin Costner accepted a lifetime achievement award, joking that he “probably sounded like a child” with his basic French. “Merci, bonsoir. There’s no hiding I’m an American,” he said. “Thank you for seeing me for who I am.”

Before thanking his teary wife Christine Baumgartner in French, Costner added, “Films at their very best become moments in our own lives."

Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain took home the prize for best adapted screenplay for Rust and Bone.

The best supporting actress prize went to Valerie Benguigui for Le Prenomm, while Izia Higelin was named most promising female newcomer for her breakthrough performance in Mauvaise Fille in the first award of the evening.

The prize for most promising male newcomer went to Matthias Schoenaerts for his role in Rust and Bone. Celebrating backstage, he thanked the French academy and French champagne.

The Marie Antoinette film Farewell, My Queen took home the honors for best art direction, costume and cinematography.

The ceremony was broadcast live on pay-TV channel Canal Plus. A traditional post-awards dinner followed at Paris’ Foquet’s restaurant.

Here’s a list of the winners:

Best Picture:  Amour

Best Director:  Michael Haneke, Amour

Best Actress:  Emmanulle Riva, Amour

Best Actor:  Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

Best Supporting Actress:  Valerie Benguigui, What’s In a Name (Le Prenom)

Best Supporting Actor:  Guillaume de Tonquedec, What’s In a Name (Le Prenom)

Most Promising Female Newcomer:  Izia Higelin, Mauvaise Fille

Most Promising Male Newcomer:  Matthieu Schoenaerts, Rust and Bone

Original Screenplay:  Michael Haneke, Amour

Adapted Screenplay:  Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, Rust and Bone

Best Editing:  Juliette Welfling, Rust and Bone

Best Cinematography:  Roman Winding, Farewell, My Queen

Best Costume:  Christian Gasc, Farewell, My Queen

Best Art Direction:  Katia Wyszkop, Farewell, My Queen

Best Sound:  Antoine Deflandre, Germain Boulay, Eric Tisserand, Cloclo

Best Animated Film:  Ernest and Celestine