|Current: 48th César Awards|
|Awarded for||Achievements in French cinema|
|Presented by||Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma|
|First awarded||April 3, 1976|
The César Award is the national film award of France. It is delivered in the Nuit des César ceremony and was first awarded in 1976. The nominations are selected by the members of twelve categories of filmmaking professionals and supported by the French Ministry of Culture. The nationally televised award ceremony is held in Paris each year in February. The exact location has changed over the years (in the Théâtre du Châtelet from 2002 to 2016). It is an initiative of the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma, which was founded in 1975.
The César Award is considered the highest film honor in France, the French film industry's equivalent to the Molière Award for theatre, and the Victoires de la Musique for music. In cinema, it is the French equivalent to the Academy Award.
In 1974, Georges Cravenne founded the Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema that was, from the outset, intended to reward the achievements and the most remarkable film artwork, to have a French equivalent to the American Oscars. The first César Awards – also known as the "Night of Caesar" – were held on 3 April 1976 under the chairmanship of Jean Gabin who watched the ceremony from the front row seated in a wheelchair a few months before his death. The name of the award comes from the sculptor César, designer of the trophy awarded to the winners in each category. It is also an homage to the Raimu, the great French actor and performer of Marseille trilogy of Marcel Pagnol, in which Raimu played the character of César.
The César Awards replaced the Étoile de cristal, which was awarded from 1955 to 1975. Other prizes had been awarded to French cinema in the past. From 1934 to 1986, the Grand prix du cinéma français, established by film pioneer Louis Lumière, was given to one film a year. In the 1950s, the Victoire du cinéma français was awarded each June. Lacking popular enthusiasm compared to the Étoile de cristal, this award was discontinued after 1964.
At the inaugural César Awards, 13 awards were distributed. Today, there are 22 (in nine subcategories). Categories added in recent years include Most Promising Actor/Actress (Meilleur espoir), Best Documentary (Meilleur documentaire) and Best Animated Film (Meilleur film d'animation), while awards honoring the best film poster and best producer have been dropped, as they are now given at a sister ceremony, the Prix Daniel Toscan du Plantier.
Beginning with the 43rd César ceremony in 2018, a new special award, the César du public, is given to the French film with the most box office receipts during the previous year and the beginning of the current year. This award responds to the need to reward French comedy films, which remain the most popular genre in France.
During the 45th ceremony in 2020, Adèle Haenel, a French actress playing the main character in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, left the room when Roman Polanski's award for best director was announced in protest against the fact that notable sexual abusers in the film industry can receive awards when their victims are reduced to silence. Polanski was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old in California in 1978, and has additionally been accused of other incidents of rape.
The César statues are compressed sculptures of metal objects, designed in 1975 by the sculptor César Baldaccini, a friend of Georges Cravenne who gave them their name as a wink to the Oscars, the sound of the name being close to the film César by Pagnol. These forged pieces are made from polished natural bronze, unlike the Oscars which are plated in gold. The latter directly inspired the first AATC trophy in 1976, which was a reel of film encircling a silhouette. In 1977, before a mixed reception of actors, Baldaccini unveiled the current 8 by 8 cm compression, weighing 3.6 kg and cast in the Bocquel foundry in Normandy. The cost of a César has not been officially revealed, but is estimated at around 1,500 euros.
Voting for César Awards is conducted through two ballots by mail: the first to establish nominations per category (three to five, depending on the discipline), and the second to decide the winner.
Voters are professionals in the field, numbering about 4,000, divided into 12 colleges (actors, directors, writers, technicians, producers, distributors and international vendors, operators, agents artistic, technical industries, casting directors, press officers and members associates). The criteria for voting are: demonstrate a relatively consistent career in film and get a double sponsorship in the Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma. Nominees or winners of the previous editions are exempt from these formalities.
To aid voters, the Académie identifies each year films released in France and provides a guide to the works and eligible professionals. A DVD set of French or primarily French productions produced during the year is sent in December with the catalog of films to the electors. After the nominations are revealed, at the end of January, special screenings of the nominated films are shown at the Le Balzac cinema in Paris, near the Champs-Élysées. Each year, a special lunch (Déjeuner des nommés aux César du cinéma) for nominees is held at the famous Fouquet's restaurant on the Champs-Élysées, a few weeks before the ceremony.
- Honorary Award – since 1976
- César des Césars – between 1985 and 1995
- Prix Daniel Toscan du Plantier – since 2008
- Trophée César & Techniques – since 2011
- Médaille d'Or – only in 2015
- César & Techniques Special Award – only between 2015 and 2017
- César & Techniques Innovation Award – since 2018
- César du public – since 2018
- Best Film from the European Union (2002–2004)
- Best Poster (1986–1990)
- Best Producer (1995–1996)
- Best Writing (Adaptation or Original) (1976–2005)
- Best French Language Film (1984–1986)
- Best Documentary Short (1977–1991)
- Best Fiction Short (1977–1991)
- Best Animated Short (1977–1990)
Films that received five or more César Awards
|Cyrano de Bergerac||1990||13||10|
|The Last Metro||1980||12||10|
|The Beat That My Heart Skipped||2005||10||8|
|Same Old Song||1997||12||7|
|All the World's Mornings||1991||11||7|
|A Very Long Engagement||2004||12||5|
|Too Beautiful For You||1989||11||5|
|La Vie en Rose||2007||11||5|
|Me, Myself and Mum||2014||10||5|
Films that received 10 or more César Award nominations
Directors with two or more awards
Actors with 7 or more nominations
"Big Five" winners and nominees
- The Last Metro (1980)
- Best Film: François Truffaut
- Best Director: François Truffaut
- Best Actor: Gérard Depardieu
- Best Actress: Catherine Deneuve
- Best Writing: Suzanne Schiffman and François Truffaut
- Amour (2013)
- Best Film: Michael Haneke & Margaret Ménégoz
- Best Director: Michael Haneke
- Best Actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant
- Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva
- Best Writing: Michael Haneke
Four awards won
- Smoking/No Smoking (1993): Best Actress (Sabine Azéma)
- Too Beautiful for You (1989): Best Actor (Gérard Depardieu)
Three awards won
- Cyrano de Bergerac (1990): Best Actress (Anne Brochet) and Writing (Jean-Claude Carrière and Jean-Paul Rappeneau)
- Same Old Song (1997): Best Actress (Sabine Azéma) and Director (Alain Resnais)
- The Artist (2011): Best Actor (Jean Dujardin) and Writing (Michel Hazanavicius)
- Custody (2017): Best Actor (Denis Ménochet) and Director (Xavier Legrand)
Most acting wins and nominations for a film
- "The César Ceremony" Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma
- Zilko, Christian (25 February 2022). "Annette' and 'Lost Illusions' Dominate César Awards 2022: Full Winners List". IndieWire. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
- "Edito: quand nos César font Boon » Le Blog d'Ecran Noir" (in French). Retrieved 14 September 2022.
- "Références bibliographiques", Les effets spéciaux au cinéma, Armand Colin, pp. 271–274, 14 March 2018, doi:10.3917/arco.hamus.2018.01.0271, ISBN 9782200619824, retrieved 14 September 2022
- "Les César jouent la carte grand public", LExpress.fr (in French), 31 January 2018, retrieved 9 February 2018.
- "Les César annoncent la création d'un prix du public", leparisien.fr, 31 January 2018, retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "Claire Denis n'a pas hésité avant de remettre le César à Roman Polanski". Le Huffington Post (in French). 1 March 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- Peltier, Elian (24 February 2020). "Adèle Haenel: France 'Missed the Boat' on #MeToo". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "What Happened at the César Awards Was a Setup For Silence". AwardsWatch. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "César. César pour Polanski, Adèle Haenel quitte la cérémonie". www.lejsl.com (in French). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- ""Bravo la pédophilie" : le coup de colère d'Adèle Haenel après la victoire de Roman Polanski aux César". Madame Figaro (in French). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "Adele Haenel : "Ils voulaient séparer l'homme de l'artiste, ils séparent aujourd'hui les artistes du monde"". Libération.fr (in French). Archived from the original on 1 March 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- "César : A l'annonce de la victoire de Polanski, Adèle Haenel quitte la salle". Les Inrocks (in French). Retrieved 1 March 2020.
- Yannick Dehée, Agnès Chauveau (2013). Dictionnaire de la télévision française. Nouveau Monde éditions. p. 67..
- (image) Le sculpteur César posant avec la première version du trophée, uniquement remis en 1976
- Robert Cravenne (1995). Le tour du monde du cinéma français. Dixit. p. 185..
- "Dates, les lieux et les diffuseurs" (PDF). Académie des César. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Présidences de Cérémonie" (PDF). Académie des César. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Maîtres de Cérémonie" (PDF). Académie des César. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.