The Friday before the Hollywood Oscars, the French film industry celebrates their equivalent at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. The creme de la creme of French showbiz gathered for the 41st Cesars just two days ahead of its Hollywood equivalent, the Oscars, which had been panned as "too white". Florence Foresti, a comedian, hosted. She's Billy Crystal, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler all in one very Parisian package.
The best picture accolade went to "Fatima", a movie about an immigrant Moroccan woman struggling to raise her two teenagers in France and working as a cleaning lady to give them the best life possible.
However, with her rudimentary French while her daughters have trouble speaking Arabic, communication is strained, especially with her rebellious younger daughter.The leading role was played by Algerian Soria Zeroual, a real-life cleaning lady who found herself nominated for best actress alongside French cinema greats Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Deneuve.
Michael Douglas became the latest Hollywood star honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Cesars, and delivered his acceptance speech entirely in French. "It is a little like French cuisine, to make a great dish you need excellent ingredients. To make a great film you need a brilliant screenplay, a great director and exceptional actors," said Douglas."I have nearly always had the chance to count on these good ingredients."
The broad sweep of actors and film themes on offer comes in stark contrast to those up for the Oscars. In France, three women filmmakers were nominated for a Cesar -- none of them won -- while not a single woman got the nod in that category at the Oscars.
The best actress gong went to 10-time Cesar nominee Catherine Frot, 59, for her role in "Marguerite" which tells the tale of a diva who wants to be an opera singer and seems oblivious to the fact that she cannot sing. Minor details, right?
Vincent Lindon, 56, scooped the best actor prize for his role in "Le Loi Du Marche" (The Measure Of A Man) in which he plays an unemployed factory worker faced with humiliating job interviews and useless internships.
And forget all those Oscar parties, everyone in Paris heads up to Fouquet's on the Champs Elysées for THE party.