A fleet of 25 Latitudes and 10 Espaces escorted the leading lights in French cinema to the red carpet at Théâtre du Châtelet, among them Karin Viard, Marie Gillain, Kad Merad, Gilles Lellouche and Maïwenn.
The main event of the evening, hosted by Antoine de Caunes, was the triumph of The Artist, a few days ahead of the film’s apotheosis at the Oscars. Michel Hazanavicius’ film, relating the rise and fall of silent screen star George Valentin, took six awards: best film, best director, best actress (for Bérénice Béjo), best costumes, best music and best cinematography.
Actor Omar Sy won the first award of his career with the Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache film Intouchables, the French box office champ seen by 19 million people. “I was thinking I’d crack a few jokes, but I won’t be able to manage it,” he said, before he hoisted his trophy.
L'Exercice de l'Etat, directed by Pierre Schoeller, won the César for best screenplay, best sound and best supporting actor for Michel Blanc.
Released in early 2011, Alix Delaporte’s delightful Angèle & Tony won two Césars: most promising actress for Clothilde Hesme (tied with Naidra Ayadi) and most promising actor for Grégory Gadebois.
The presentation of an honorary César to Kate Winslet was both a glamorous and humorous moment thanks to a whacky speech from Michel Gondry, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Winslet was back on stage later in the evening to pick up the best adaptation award for Roman Polanski’s Carnage.
And, to finish, hats off to the excellent Tous au Larzac, which won best documentary.
Renault’s next big cinema event is in Cannes, where it has been the official partner of the Festival for the last 29 years. This year’s Cannes Film Festival, the 65th, will be held from May 16 to 27, with Nanni Moretti presiding the jury.