The César Award for Most Promising Actor (French: César du meilleur espoir masculin) is one of the César Awards, presented annually by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma to recognize the outstanding breakthrough performance of a young actor who has worked within the French film industry during the year preceding the ceremony. Nominees and winner are selected via a run-off voting by all the members of the Académie, within a group of 16 actors previously shortlisted by the Newcomers Committee.
Following the AATC's practice, the films below are listed by year of ceremony, which corresponds to the year following the film's year of release. For example, the César Award for Most Promising Actor of 2010 was awarded on 27 February 2010 for a performance in a film released between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2009.
As with the other César awards, actors are selected via a two-round vote: first round to choose the nominees, second round to designate the winner. All the members of the Académie, without regard to their branch, are eligible to vote on both rounds. But in order to "facilitate" the nomination vote, the Newcomers Committee of the Académie, consisting of casting directors, establishes and proposes a list of a maximum of 16 actors. However, this list is non-binding and Académie members are free to vote for an actor who has not been shortlisted. Initially set to four, the number of nominees was expanded to five in 1990.
Each year, the Academy's Governing Board and the Révélations Committee (made up of casting directors working in French film productions) propose a list of a maximum of 16 young actors ("Révélations des César") to facilitate the voting for the "Most Promising Actor" award. Since 2007, young actors who have worked on French feature-length films or French-language productions are eligible for the list. However, beginning from 2013, an actor can qualify for the list only twice. A short film featuring the "Révélations", which is directed by an artist that is appointed by the Academy yearly, is unveiled at a gala dinner held in honour of the "Révélations". The short film is then screened at select cinemas in France.
Nominees of the César Award for Most Promising Actor are highlighted in boldface.