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Justine Triet’s ‘Anatomy Of A Fall’ Wins Best Film & Director At César Awards; Sandra Hüller Wins Best Actress

Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won Best Film and Best Director at the 49th edition of the French César awards Friday.

Triet is only the second women to clinch the Best Director prize in the near 50-year history of the César Awards, after Tonie Marshall for Venus Beauty in 1976.

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The director took to the stage with her producers Marie-Ange Luciani at Les Films de Pierre and David Thion at Les Films Pelléas.

Luciani suggested the Best Film honor, which is voted on by the some 4,600 members of the César Academy, was a sign of solidarity for the film and Triet in the light of her controversial Cannes d’Or acceptance speech which provoked a political backlash after she criticized the attitude of Emmanuel Macron’s government towards culture and cinema.

“After Justine’s speech in Cannes and the lively debate she provoked we’d like to say this evening that we have the right to disagree. Debate is at the heart of the film, giving it its strength, its success and its total freedom,” she said. “It should give us confidence to talk, to talk to one another, to speak out as the best way to be together.”

Anatomy of a Fall also won Best Actress for Sandra Hüller, Original Screenplay for Triet and Arthur Harari, Editing for Laurent Sénéchal and Supporting Actor for Swann Arlaud.

The top Best Film and Director prizes came in a nail-biting final few minutes with local media commentators suggesting that they would not be surprised if the coveted top award went to Thomas Cailley’s The Animal Kingdom, which had been a frontrunner at the nomination stage making it into 12 categories, ahead of Anatomy of a Fall with 11 nominations.

In the end Cailley’s fantasy drama, which world premiered as the opening film of Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2023 and went on to gross more than $8.5M at the French box office, went home with Best Sound, VFX, Original Music, Costumes and Cinematography.

Christopher Nolan also put in an appearance to receive an Honorary César alongside French director Agnès Jaoui, best known internationally for her 2001 hit The Taste of Others.

Attending with producer and wife Emma Thomas, Nolan was presented with the award by Marion Cotillard, who appeared in Inception and Dark Knight Rises.

Nolan paid tribute to the role that France, with its love and respect for cinema, had played in his trajectory as a filmmaker.

In an unexpected result, his Oscar-tipped Oppenheimer was overlooked in the Best Foreign Film category with the prize going to Canadian director Monia Chokri’s The Nature of Love, which also beat Marco Bellocchio’s Kidnapped, Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves and Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days.

“I’m so sorry Mr. Nolan,” said a visibly shocked Chokri as she took to the stage to receive the award, with Nolan caught on camera in the audience smiling warmly.

#MeToo Arrives At The Césars

Beyond the films, the main focus was on a moving and impassioned speech by actress and director Judith Godrèche, who has set in motion a #MeToo earthquake in France in recent weeks with her public accusations of sexual assault against directors Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon.

Both men have denied the accusations, with Doillon announcing via his lawyer this week that he was going to sue Godrèche for defamation.

Godrèche made an appeal for a new era of truth around the issue of sexual abuse in France’s cinema world after decades of silence and denial.

“For some time now, voices have been unleashed, the idealized image of our fathers has been shattered, power almost seems to be in a state of turmoil, could it be possible for us to look at the truth in the eye?” she said in a programmed slot.

“To take on our responsibilities? To be actors, actresses of a world that is questioning itself?“ she asked. “For some time now, I’ve been talking and talking, but I can’t hear you, or only a little. Where are you? What are you saying? A whisper. Half a word.”

Godrèche’s decision to break her silence comes amid a growing #MeToo moment in France that has also seen French acting icon Gérard Depardieu’s star fall in the wake of multiple accusations of sexual assault and one of rape, a development that has divided the French cinema world.

Triet picked up on Godrèche’s message in her acceptance speech for Best Film, saying she was dedicating the award to “All the women, those who are stuck in their choices, in their solitude; those who exist too much and those who don’t exist enough; those who succeed and those who fail, and finally those who we’ve hurt, who free themselves by talking, and those who do not manage to.”

The full list of 2024 César Awards winners:

Best Film
Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet

Best Director
Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall

Best Actor
Arieh Worthalter, The Goldman Case

Best Actress
Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall

Best Supporting Actress
Adèle Exarchopoulos, All Your Faces

Best Supporting Actor
Swann Arlaud, Anatomy of a Fall

Female Revelation
Ella Rumpf, Marguerite’s Theorem

Male Revelation
Raphaël Quenard, Junkyard Dog

Best Original Screenplay
Justine Triet, Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall

Best Adapted Screenplay
Valérie Donzelli, Audrey Diwan, Just the Two of Us

Cinematography
David Cailley, The Animal Kingdom

Best Costumes
Ariane Daurat, The Animal Kingdom

Best Production Design
Stéphane Taillasson, The Three Musketeers (Parts 1 & 2)

Best Sound
Fabrice Osinski, Raphaël Sohier, Matthieu Fichet, Niels Barletta, The Animal Kingdom

Best First Film
Junkyard Dog by Jean-Baptiste Durand

Best Animated Feature
Chicken For Linda! by Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach

Best Visual Effects
Cyrille Bonjean, Bruno Sommier, Jean-Louis Autret, The Animal Kingdom

Best Original Music
Andreas Laszlo de Simone, The Animal Kingdom

Best Editing
Laurent Sénéchal, Anatomy of a Fall

Best Documentary
Four Daughters by Kaouther Ben Hania

Best Foreign Film
The Nature of Love by Monia Chokri

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