Les Césars

French Oscars in Review

March 1, 2023By Nick HammondWhat's New Art & Culture
"Rising star" Bastien Buillon (only 30+ films under his belt) in La Nuit du 12.
“Rising star” Bastien Buillon (only 30 film & TV roles under his belt) in La Nuit du 12.

’Tis very much the season for cinema awards, with the Golden Globes, BAFTAS and Oscars following close on each other’s heels. Squeezed into the mix this last Friday was the French equivalent, the Césars, and it was good to see how many of the winners and shortlisted candidates were reviewed in Paris Update over the past year.

The standout winner this year was director Dominik Moll’s La Nuit du 12 (The Night of the 12th), based on the true-crime story of a murder of a young woman named Clara, and we were as enthusiastic about the movie as the César voting panel. Not only did it win the Best Film and Best Director awards, but it also took home two of the acting prizes: Best Supporting Actor for Bouli Lanners and, somewhat surprisingly, given the fact that he has already appeared in 30 films and television productions, Best Rising Actor to Bastien Bouillon. We predicted that Bouillon would win prizes, but not this one, and it is possible that the panel decided to give it to him as a consolation for not winning Best Actor. La Nuit du 12 also was voted Best Adapted Screenplay. An impressive night all around for the film.

The Best Male Actor prize went to Benoît Magimel, and Paris Update was also on hand to review the movie in which he appeared, Pacifiction, which did not impress us as much as it did the jury, even though we did acknowledge Magimel’s talent as an actor. Virginie Efira won the prize for Best Female Actor for the film Revoir Paris (Paris Memories).

Other nominated movies reviewed here include Louis Garrel’s entertaining L’Innocent (The Innocent) and Christophe Honoré’s Le Lycéen (Winter Boy), for which the young leading actor Paul Kircher would have been a worthier recipient of the rising star award than Bouillon, whom we thought was more deserving of the overall Best Actor award than Magimel. Juliette Binoche, who missed out on the Best Actress prize, should surely have been nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her extraordinary performance in Le Lycéen.

The ceremony was not without its fair share of controversy – and a surprise appearance by Brad Pitt, who presented an honorary award to director David Fincher. In addition to the show being interrupted by a climate change protestor, not a single woman was nominated for Best Director. In spite of the Césars’ protestations that voting panels are becoming more inclusive, it is extraordinary how the story of so many of these ceremonies continues to be dominated by their exclusion of women and people of color.

Click here for a full list of the 2023 César winners.


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