Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement leadsthis year's Cesar nominations with 12 nods including best picture, director andactress.

The recognition for the Jeunet film follows a decision bythe Cesar organisers, the Academie des Arts et Techniques du Cinema, to modifyits eligibility rules to allow the film to compete.

Engagement has been at the heart of a long battlein France over whether it is French or not. It was stripped of its Frenchnationality in late 2004 when it was decided in a Paris court that the film wasactually produced by a company controlled by US major Warner Bros.

Alain Terzian, president of the Academie noted that thechanges in eligibility rules, which allow films "of French expression," weremade three months prior to the court decision.

Jeunet last film, 2001's Amelie, previously scored12 nominations, but went to take only four awards.

Other films with heavy recognition include ArnaudDesplechin's Kings And Queen with seven nods, police drama 36, QuaiDes Orfevres with eight and France's number one film at the 2004 box-officeThe Chorus with eight.

Along with those films, Abdellatif Kechiche's L'Esquiverounds out the best picture race.

Maggie Cheung was recognized for her role in OlivierAssayas' Clean, for which she won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2004. Alsoin the best actress race are Emmanuelle Devos for Kings And Queen,Yolande Moreau for Quand La Mer Monte, Audrey Tautou for Engagementand Karin Viard for Le Role De Sa Vie.

Best actors are Daniel Auteuil for 36, MathieuAmalric for Kings And Queen, Gerard Jugnot for The Chorus,Philippe Torreton for L'Equipier and Benoit Poelvoorde for Podium.Poelvoorde is an actor mostly known for comedies whose nomination echoes thatof Gad Emaleh who was recognized last year for his work in the cross-dressingcomedy Chouchou.

Emaleh will host the awards ceremony to be broadcast onCanal Plus on February 26. Isabelle Adjani will act as president of theceremony.

Last year's big winner was Denys Arcand's TheBarbarian Invasions with three prizes for best picture, screenplay anddirector.

Best Picture
36, Quai Des Orfevres - Olivier Marchal
The Chorus - Christophe Barratier
L'Esquive - Abdellatif Kechiche
Kings And Queen - Arnaud Desplechin
A Very Long Engagement - Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Best Actor
Mathieu Amalric - Kings And Queen
Daniel Auteuil - 36, Quai Des Orfevres
Gerard Jugnot - The Chorus
Benoit Poelvoorde - Podium
Philippe Torreton - L'Equipier

Best Actress
Maggie Cheung - Clean
Emmanuelle Devos - Kings And Queen
Yolande Moreau - Quand La Mer Monte
Audrey Tautou - A Very Long Engagement
Karin Viard - Le Role De Sa Vie

Best Director
Christophe Barratier - The Chorus
Arnaud Desplechin - Kings And Queen
Jean-Pierre Jeunet - A Very Long Engagement
Abdellatif Kechiche - L'Esquive
Olivier Marchal - 36, Quai Des Orfevres

Best Supporting Actor
Francois Berleand - The Chorus
Clovis Cornillac - Mensonges Et Trahisons Et Plus Si Affinites
Andre Dussollier - 36, Quai Des Orfevres
Maurice Garrel - Kings And Queen
Jean-Paul Rouve - Podium

Best Supporting Actress
Ariane Ascaride - A Common Thread
Marion Cotillard - A Very Long Engagement
Mylene Demongeot - 36, Quai Des Orfevres
Julie Depardieu - Podium
Emilie Dequenne - L'Equipier

Best New Actor
Osman Elkharraz - L'Esquive
Damien Jouillerot - Les Fautes D'Orthographe J
eremie Renier - Violences Des Echanges En Milieu Tempere
Gaspard Ulliel - A Very Long Engagement
Malik Zidi - Changing Times

Best New Actress
Marilou Berry - Look At Me
Sara Forestier - L'Esquive
Lola Naymark - A Common Thread
Sabrina Ouazani - L'Esquive
Magali Woch - Kings And Queen

Best Screenplay
Arnaud Desplechin, Roger Bohbot - Kings And Queen
Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri - Look At Me
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant - A Very Long Engagement
Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalya Lacroix - L'Esquive
Olivier Marchal, Franck Mancuso, Julien Rappenneau - 36, Quai Des Orfevres

Best Film From The European Union
Ae Fond Kiss - Ken Loach
Bad Education - Pedro Almodovar
Mondovino - Jonathan Nossiter
Saraband - Ingmar Bergman
Life Is A Miracle - Emir Kusturica

Best Foreign Film
21 Grams - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Motorcycle Diaries - Walter Salles
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind - Michel Gondry
Fahrenheit 9/11 - Michael Moore
Lost In Translation - Sofia Coppola

Best First Film
A Common Thread - Eleonore Faucher
The Chorus - Christophe Barratier
Podium - Yann Moix
Quand La Mer Monte - Yolande Moreau, Gilles Porte Violences Des EchangesEn Milieu Tempere - Jean-Marc Moutout