news 3 weeks ago

Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Leads Cesar Awards Nominations

Variety — Elsa Keslassy

Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” is leading the race for the Cesar Awards, France’s top film honors, with 12 nominations, followed by Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated “Les Miserables.”

An Officer and a Spy” earned nominations for best film, director, actor (Jean Dujardin), cinematography, set design, costume and music, among others. Although he’s been at the heart of a backlash, Polanski also just won best director at the Lumieres Awards which are given by the foreign press based in Paris. “An Officer and a Spy” world premiered at the Venice Film Festival and won the Silver Lion.

“An Officer and a Spy” tells the true story of counter-espionage officer Georges Picquart, who defied orders and embarked on a compromising mission to clear the name of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a promising French-Jewish officer who was unfairly accused of spying for Germany in the late 1890s. In spite of calls for boycott in France, the movie sold more than 1.4 million admissions in France, becoming one of Polanski’s most successful film in the country. It’s been sold to most major territories by Playtime.

“Les Miserables,” meanwhile, was nominated for 11 Cesar Awards, including best film, director, male newcomers (Alexis Manenti and Djebril Zonga), original screenplay, cinematography and music, among others. The movie just won a Goya award for best foreign-language film and three Lumieres Awards. The searing police violence drama opened in competition at Cannes and won the jury prize.

“Les Miserables” was inspired by the 2005 French riots and examines the tensions between neighborhood residents and police that helped inflame the rioting. It centers on three cops who find themselves overrun during the course of an arrest. The film is being handled by Amazon in the U.S. and was sold around the world by Wild Bunch International.

Celine Sciamma’s Golden Globe nominated “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is vying for 10 nominations, including film, director and actress (Celine Sciamma and Noemie Merlant). The movie competed at Cannes and won best screenplay. It’s been sold worldwide by MK2 and was released in the U.S. by Neon.

Todd Phillips’s “Joker” is nominated for best foreign-language film, along with Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain & Glory,” Matteo Garrone’s “The Traitor,” Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “Young Ahmed” and Laurent Micheli’s “Lola vers la mer.”

Other leading Cesar nominees include Arnaud Desplechin’s “Oh Mercy,” Nicolas Bedos’s “La belle époque,” Francois Ozon’s “By The Grace of God,” as well as Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s “The Specials.” The best first film category comprises of Mounia Meddour’s “Papicha,” Mati Diop’s “Atlantics,” Anthony Baudry’s “The Wolf’s Call,” Edouard Bergeon’s “Au nom de la terre” and “Les Miserables,”

The Cesar ceremony will take place on Feb. 28 at the Pleyel Theater in Paris. The ceremony will be presided by French actress Sandrine Kiberlain.

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