Source: Gaumont

Adieu Les Cons

Albert Dupontel’s Bye Bye Morons topped the awards at a politically-charged 46th Césars ceremony on Friday evening (March 12), marked by growing anger within the French film industry over the ongoing closure of cinemas and other cultural spaces as part of anti-Covid-19 measures.

Bye Bye Morons clinched seven Césars including best film, director, cinematography (Alexis Kavyrchine), best original screenplay (Dupontel), best supporting actor (Nicolas Marié), best production design (Carlos Conti) and the fledgeling César des Lycéens, which is voted on by 1,500 high school students.

Dupontel, who previously won best director and best adapted screenplay Césars for See You Up There and best screenplay for 9-Month Stretch, never attends the César ceremony out of personal preference and was not present on Friday. He was represented on stage by producer Catherine Bozorgan.

Voted on by the 4,292 members of France’s Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, the awards were reserved for films that received a theatrical release in 2020, a year in which French cinemas were shut for a total of 23 weeks due to the pandemic.

Nearly all the filmmakers and stars who took to the stage at the socially distanced event at the Olympia concert hall in Paris used their slots to call for the re-opening of cinemas and other cultural places.

After a 14-week closure last spring, French cinemas reopened over the summer and early autumn before closing for a second time at the end of October with no indication from the government as yet on when they might reopen.

The most startling protest of the evening was that by actress Corinne Masiero.

She arrived on stage to announce the winner for best costume draped in a donkey outfit and covered in fake blood and proceeded to strip naked to reveal slogans on her body declaring solidarity for freelance workers in the culture and entertainment sectors.

Earlier in the evening, representatives of the entertainment workers union, the CGT Spectacle, took to the stage to highlight the plight of thousands of behind-the-scenes professionals whose futures remain uncertain while cultural places remain closed.

The union’s members have been occupying around 20 theatres and concert venues across France since the beginning of March.

Many of Friday night’s winners enjoyed only fleeting releases last year. Gaumont released Bye Bye Morons, for example, on October 21, just one week before cinemas were closed again. Josep, which won best feature animation, suffered a similar fate. The film’s distributor Sarah Chazelle at Jour2Fête said the film would go back into cinemas again once they reopened. 

The breakout winner of the evening was Sébastien Lifshitz’s Adolescents, which follows two teenage girls growing up in a small provincial town over the course of five years. It won best documentary, sound and editing.

Further highlights included best actress for Call My Agent! star Laura Calamy for her performance in Caroline Vignal’s romantic comedy-drama My Donkey, My Lover & I and best actor for Sami Bouajila in Tunisian drama A Son.

Best foreign language film went to Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s best international film Oscar frontrunner Another Round

César nomination frontrunner Love Affair(s) by Emmanuel Mouret started the night in the running for 13 awards and went home with just one trophy for best supporting actress Emily Dequenne.

Last year’s César ceremony was equally tumultuous but for different reasons.

The show was marked by the sudden resignation of the entire governing board days before it was due to take place amid criticism over a lack of transparency, gender equality and diversity in its ranks, as well as controversy over the fact that Roman Polanski’s An Officer And A Spy was the frontrunner at the nomination stage. It would go on to win best screenplay adaptation, costume and best director, with the latter prize prompting a walkout by actress Adèle Haenel. 

Since then, the membership and leadership of France’s Academy has been completely overhauled with its first-ever democratic election to vote in a gender-equal co-presidency and governing board. 

The academy also wants to become inclusive and representative of the entire French population.

There is still much work to be done on that score but wins on Friday night in the best new hope categories for Fathia Youssouf, for her performance in Cuties, and Jean-Pascal Zadi for Tout Simplement Noir, were seen as a sign that the body and its members want to remain true to this ambition.  

2021 César nominees and winners (winners in bold)

Best director

  • Albert Dupontel, Bye Bye Morons
  • Maïwenn, DNA
  • Sébastien Lifshitz, Adolescents
  • Emmanuel Mouret, Love Affair(s)
  • François Ozon, Summer Of 85

Best film

  • Bye Bye Morons, Albert Dupontel
  • Adolescents, Sebastien Liftshitz
  • My Donkey, My Lover & I, Caroline Vignal
  • Love Affair(s), Emmanuel Mouret
  • Summer Of 85, François Ozon

Best screenplay

  • Alberto Dupontel, Bye Bye Morons
  • Caroline Vignal, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Emmanuel Mouret, Love Affair(s)
  • Filippo Meneghetti, Malysone Bovorasmy, Two Of Us
  • Benoît Delépine, Gustave Kervern, Delete History

Best screenplay adaptation

  • Olivier Assayas, Cuban Network
  • Hannelore Cayre, Jean-Paul Salomé, Mama Weed
  • François Ozon, Summer Of 85
  • Stéphane Demoustier, The Girl With Bracelet
  • Eric Barbier, Small Country: An African Childhood

Best Actress

  • Laure Calamy, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Martine Chevallier, Two Of Us
  • Virginie Efira, Bye Bye Morons
  • Camlia Jordana, Love Affair(s)
  • Barbara Sukowa, Two Of Us

Best actor

  • Sami Bouajila, A Son
  • Jonathan Cohen, Enormous
  • Albert Dupontel, Bye Bye Morons
  • Neils Schneider, Love Affair(s)
  • Lambert Wilson, De Gaulle

Best actress in a supporting role

  • Fanny Ardant, DNA
  • Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Summer of 85
  • Emilie Dequenne. Love Affair(s)
  • Noémie Lvovsky, How To Be A Good Wife
  • Yolande Moreau, How To Be A Good Wife

Best actor in a supporting role

  • Edouard Baer, How To Be A Good Wife
  • Louis Garrel, DNA
  • Benjamin Lavernhe, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Louis Garrel, DNA
  • Vincent Macaigne, Love Affair(s)
  • Nicolas Marié, Bye Bye Morons

Best female acting hope

  • Mélissa Guers, The Girl With The Bracelet
  • India Hair, Sexfish
  • Julia Platon, Love Affair(s)
  • Camille Rutherford, Felicita
  • Fathia Youssouf, Cuties

Best male acting hope

  • Guang Huo, Night Ride
  • Félix Lefebvre, Summer Of 85
  • Benjamin Voisin, Summer Of 85
  • Alexandre Wetter, Miss
  • Jean-Pascal Zadi, Tout Simplement Noir

Best original music

  •  Christophe Julien, Bye Bye Morons
  • Stephen Warbeck, DNA
  • Mateï Bratescot, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Jean-Benoït Dunckel, Summer Of 85
  • Rone, Night Ride

Best sound

  • Jean Minondo, Gurwal Coïc-Gallasm Cyril Holtz, Bye Bye Morons
  • Yolande Decarsin, Janne Delplancq, Fanny Martin, Olivier Goinard, Adolescents
  • Guillaume Valeix, Fred Demolder, Jean-Paul Hurier, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Brigitte Taillandier, Julien Roig, Jean-Paul Hurier, Summer Of 85

Best cinematography

  • Alexis Kavyrchine, Bye Bye Morons
  • Antoine Parouty, Paul Guilhaume, Adolescents
  • Simon Beaufils, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  • Laurent Desmet, Love Affair(s)
  • Hichame Alaouié, Summer Of 85

Best editing

  • Christophe Pinel, Bye Bye Morons
  • Tina Baz, Adolescents
  • Annette Dutertre, My Donkey, My Lover & I
  •  Martial Salomon, Love Affair(s)
  •  Laure Gardette, Summer Of 85

Best Costume

  • Mimi Lempicka, Bye Bye Morons
  • Madeleine Fontaine, How To Be A Good Wife
  • Hélène Davoudian, Love Affair(s)
  • Anaïs Romand, Sergio Ballo, De Gaulle
  • Pascaline Chavanne, Summer Of 85

 Best production design

  • Carlos Conti, Bye Bye Morons
  • Thierry François, How To Be A Good Wife
  • David Faivre, Love Affair(s)
  • Nicolas De Boiscuillé, De Gaulle
  • Benoït Barouh, Summer Of 85

Best animation

  • Calamity, Rémi Chayé
  • Josep, Aurel
  • Little Vampire, Joann Sfar

Best short animation

  • Bach-Hông, Elsa Duhamel
  • And Then The Bear, Agnès Patron
  • Shooom’s Odyssey, Julien Bisaro
  • Nettle Head, Paul Cabon

Best first film

  • Two Of Us, Filippo Meneghetti
  • My Best Part, Nicolas Maury
  • Cuties, Maïmouna Doucouré
  • Tout Simplement Noir, Jean-Pascal Zadi, John Wax
  • Arab Blues, Manele Labadi

Best documentary

  • Adolescents, Sébastien Lifshitz
  • The Tie, Etienne Chaillou, Mathias Théry
  • Cyrille, Rodolphe Marconi
  • Histoire d’Un Regard, Mariana Otero
  • The Monopoly Of Violence, David Dufresne

Best foreign-language film

  • 1917, Sam Mendes
  • Corpus Christi, Jan Kosmasa
  • Dark Waters, Todd Haynes
  • Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg
  • The August Virgin, Jonas Trueba

Best short film