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Kevin Costner 'Fabulous Contribution' to Film: César Awards

Valerie Benguigui Le Prenom What's in a Name?Kevin Costner: Honorary César winner (above, Valérie Benguigui in What's in a Name?)

[See previous post: "Emmanuelle Riva, Amour Win César Awards: Michael Haneke, Jean-Louis Trintignant Absent."] Speaking of Hollywood, the French Academy of Film Arts and Sciences has oftentimes handed out its Honorary César / Lifetime Achievement Award to a curious assortment of Hollywood personages, e.g., Kate Winslet (36 at the time), Jude Law (35), Johnny Depp (36), Quentin Tarantino, Hugh Grant, Will Smith, Spike Lee, Andie McDowell, and Sylvester Stallone. This year, they've made another curious choice: Kevin Costner, whose Honorary César was the result of his "fabulous contribution to cinematic history." Costner, among whose films as actor and/or director are Dances with Wolves, Bull Durham, JFK, The Bodyguard, The Postman, and Waterworld, thanked the French Academy for accepting him "for who I am." Costner will next be seen in Man of Steel, starring Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.

Other César Awards 2013 winners

Among the other César Awards 2013 winners were Best Supporting Actress Valérie Benguigui and Best Supporting Actor Guillaume de Tonquédec for Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere's comedy-drama What's in a Name? / Le Prénom (literally, "The First Name"), about a dinner party gone amok.

Benoît Jacquot's Farewell, My Queen / Les Adieux à la reine won three trophies: Best Cinematography for Romain Winding, Best Costume Design for Christian Gasc, and Best Production Design for Katia Wyszkop. Gasc dedicated his César to "his love," actress Marie-France Pisier, who (apparently) committed suicide in 2011. Wyszkop, for her part, thanked the late director Maurice Pialat, with whom she worked on Under the Sun of Satan and Van Gogh at the beginning of her career.

Sébastien Lifshitz's The Invisible Ones / Les Invisibles won the Best Documentary César. The Invisible Ones tells the story of French gay men and women who chose to live openly at a time when things were considerably more difficult for them than they are now.

Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, and Stéphane Aubier's Ernest and Celestine / Ernest et Célestine, about the unlikely friendship between a bear and a mouse and featuring the voices of Lambert Wilson and Pauline Brunner, was the Best Animated Feature; Cyril Mennegun's Louise Wimmer, about a middle-aged homeless woman (Corinne Masiero) inspired by Nina Simone's music, was the Best First Film; and Cloclo, starring Jérémie Renier as '70s pop icon Claude François, won for Best Sound (Antoine Deflandre, Germain Boulay, Eric Tisserand).

Also: Nicolas Guiotand's Le Cri du homard ("The Cry of the Lobster"), about a six-year-old Russian girl living in France while waiting for her brother to return from the war in Chechnya, was the Best Short Film; and rocker Izia Higelin was the Best Female Newcomer for Bad Daughter / Mauvaise fille, in which she plays a young woman who discovers she's pregnant right when her mother dies of cancer.

Of note: Noémie Lvovsky's Camille Rewinds / Camille redouble , a sort of revamped, French-language Peggy Sue Got Married about a woman (Lvovsky) who returns to her schooldays in the '80s, failed to win a single César out of its 13 nominations. Leos Carax's Holy Motors, which boasted nine nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Denis Lavant), also went home empty-handed.

Minister Gérard Depardieu

Actor and comedian Jamel Debbouze hosted the 2013 César ceremony, inevitably poking fun at Gérard Depardieu (now a Russian citizen?), whom Debbouze referred to as the new "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism." Outside the Théâtre du Châtelet, 250 French cinema technical personnel reportedly hissed at and booed the arrivals, protesting the "relocation" of French productions. Amour producer Margaret Ménégoz answered them in her acceptance speech, when she thanked "our German and Austrian co-producers who allowed us to complete the film's financing without demanding any sort of relocation."

Valérie Benguigui in What's in a Name? image: Pathé Films.

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