In a novel combination of veteran and debutante, Johnny Hallyday (left)and Ludivine Sagnier (right)will receive the Jean Gabin and Romy Schneider awards for 2003.

The prize, which has been awarded for over 20 years, often goes to a new face but with the 60 year old rocker Hallyday being singled out for his work, the tide has changed.

After a long and lucrative musical career, Hallyday - who has also been making films since appearing in Les Diaboliques in 1955 - is likely being tapped for his work in the recent Patrice Leconte film The Man On The Train.

A critics' favourite, the film showcased Hallyday's trademark ruffian rocker as a worn out gangster who befriends Jean Rochefort's retired professor and changes places with him.

A more obvious choice for the female prize, Saigner is best known for her work in Francois Ozon's 8 Femmes and will also star in the director's upcoming Swimming Pool, hotly tipped for a Cannes slot. The 23-year old Saigner is one of France's emerging stars on the international scene and will appear in PJ Hogan's Peter Pan playing Tinkerbell.