Home International CinemaFrench Cinema Piano-Playing Gangster Drama Tops Prix César + Gay Love Story Tops BAFTAs

Piano-Playing Gangster Drama Tops Prix César + Gay Love Story Tops BAFTAs


Piano-playing gangster Romain Duris and piano teacher Linh Dan Pham in The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

César Awards

Jacques Audiard’s curious but uninvolving psychological drama De battre, mon coeur s’est arrêté / The Beat That My Heart Skipped – a remake of James Toback’s Fingers (1978) – won eight César awards, including best film, best director, best adapted screenplay (Audiard with Tonino Benacquista), and best supporting actor (Niels Arestrup) at the 2006 César Awards ceremony.

Two veterans took home the top acting prizes: Eighty-year-old Michel Bouquet – whose career spans more than fifty years – was chosen best actor for his star turn as former French president François Mitterrand in Le Promeneur du champ de Mars, while best actress Nathalie Baye won for her recovering alcoholic police officer in Le Petit lieutenant. (Baye had already won three Césars, the first of which was back in 1981.)

Among the other César winners were Clint Eastwood’s boxing melodrama Million Dollar Baby, which was voted the best foreign film; Va, vis et deviens / Go, See and Become, winner of the award for best original screenplay (Alain-Michel Blanc and Radu Mihaileanu); and best first film Darwin’s Nightmare, by Austrian Hubert Sauper (instead of Luc Jacquet’s worldwide hit March of the Penguins).

Also, best supporting actress Cécile De France for her butch but sweet lesbian in The Russian Dolls (three years ago, de France won a best female newcomer César for that same role in the “prequel” The Spanish Apartment); best male newcomer Louis Garrel for Regular Lovers; and best female newcomer Linh Dan Pham for her demanding piano teacher in The Beat That My Heart Skipped.

Pham’s win is quite curious, as thirteen years ago she was nominated in that very same category for Indochine.

The 31st César du Cinéma winners were announced at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on February 25, 2006. Valérie Lemercier acted as Host (Maître de cérémonie) and Carole Bouquet as President of the ceremony (Président de la cérémonie).

This year’s winners of the French equivalent to the Oscars, the Prix César, will be announced on Feb. 25 at a ceremony held at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Best actress nominee Valérie Lemercier (for Palais royal!) will act as Mistress of Ceremony.

The best French film nominees are Jacques Audiard’s Bafta-winning psychological drama De battre, mon coeur s’est arrêté / The Beat That My Heart Skipped, which garnered nine other nominations, including best actor (Romain Duris); Christian Carion’s Academy Award-nominated war drama Merry Christmas / Joyeux Noël, with a total of six nods; Radu Mihaileanu’s Va, vis et deviens / Go, See and Become and Xavier Beauvois’ Le Petit lieutenant, with four each; and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s 2005 Palme d’Or winner L’Enfant / The Child, with three.

A History of Violence, The Sea Inside, Match Point, Million Dollar Baby, and Walk on Water are the five nominees in the best foreign film category. (The best European film category is no more.)

Michael Haneke’s excellent Hidden / Caché received four nominations, including two for Haneke – for best direction (taking Christian Carion’s spot) and original screenplay. Curiously – and unfairly – Haneke’s psychological mystery-drama failed to receive a best French film nod. There were also no nominations for its two leads, Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, or for supporting player Annie Girardot.

In the best first film category, there are two documentaries that have received Academy Award nominations: Luc Jacquet’s La Marche de l’empereur / March of the Penguins and Hubert Sauper’s Le Cauchemar de Darwin / Darwin’s Nightmare.

Among the films ignored by the French Academy were François Ozon’s Le Temps qui reste, Arnaud Larrieu and Jean-Marie Larrieu’s well-received comedy Peindre ou faire l’amour, and Claude Berri’s L’Un reste, l’autre part.

Best French Film
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped / De battre, mon coeur s’est arrêté , Jacques Audiard.
Merry Christmas / Joyeux Noël, Christian Carion.
Le Petit lieutenant, Xavier Beauvois.
The Child / L’Enfant, Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
Live and Become / Va, vis et deviens, Radu Mihaileanu.

Best Foreign Film
A History of Violence, David Cronenberg.
The Sea Inside / Mar adentro, Alejandro Amenabar.
Match Point, Woody Allen.
* Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood.
Walk on Water, Eytan Fox.

Best First Film
Anthony Zimmer, Jérôme Salle.
Douches froides, Antony Cordier.
March of the Penguins / La Marche de l’empereur, Luc Jacquet.
La Petite Jérusalem, Karin Albou.
* Darwin’s Nightmare / Le Cauchemar de Darwin, Hubert Sauper.

Best Director
Michael Haneke, Hidden / Caché.
* Jacques Audiard, The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
Xavier Beauvois, Le Petit lieutenant.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Child.
Radu Mihaileanu, Live and Become.

Best Actress
Isabelle Carré, Entre ses mains.
Isabelle Huppert, Gabrielle.
Anne Consigny, Not Here to Be Loved / Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé.
* Nathalie Baye, Le Petit lieutenant.
Valérie Lemercier, Palais royal!.

Best Actor
Romain Duris, The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
Benoît Poelvoorde, Entre ses mains.
Patrick Chesnais, Not Here to Be Loved.
José Garcia, The Axe / Le Couperet.
* Michel Bouquet, The Last Mitterrand / Le Promeneur du champ de Mars.

Best Supporting Actor
Maurice Bénichou, Hidden.
* Niels Arestrup, The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
Georges Wilson, Not Here to Be Loved.
Dany Boon, Merry Christmas.
Roschdy Zem, Le Petit lieutenant.

Best Supporting Actress
Noémie Lvovsky, Backstage.
Charlotte Rampling, Lemming.
* Cécile de France, Russian Dolls / Les Poupées russes.
Kelly Reilly, Russian Dolls.
Catherine Deneuve, Palais royal!.

Best Male Newcomer
Walid Afkir, Hidden.
* Louis Garrel, Regular Lovers / Les Amants réguliers.
Gilles Lellouche, Ma vie en lair.
Aymen Saïdi, Saint-Jacques La Mecque.
Adrien Jolivet, Zim and co..

Best Female Newcomer
* Linh Dan Phan, The Beat That My Heart Skipped.
Mélanie Doutey, Il ne faut jurer de rien!.
Fanny Valette, La Petite Jérusalem.
Déborah François, The Child.
Marina Hands, Grey Souls / Les Ames grises.

Best Original Screenplay
Hidden, Michael Haneke
Merry Christmas, Christian Carion
Le Petit lieutenant, Xavier Beauvois, Jean-Eric Troubat & Guillaume Breaud
The Child, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
* Live and Become, Alain-Michel Blanc & Radu Mihaileanu

Best Adapted Screenplay
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Jacques Audiard & Tonino Benacquista.
Entre ses mains, Julien Boivent & Anne Fontaine.
Gabrielle, Anne-Louise Trividic & Patrice Chéreau.
The Axe, Costa-Gavras, Jean-Claude Grumberg.
The Last Mitterrand, Georges-Marc Benamou & Gilles Taurand.

Best Cinematography
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Stéphane Fontaine.
Gabrielle, Eric Gautier.
Regular Lovers, Willy Lubtchansky.

Best Editing
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Juliette Welfling.
March of the Penguins, Sabine Emiliani.
Russian Dolls, Francine Sandberg.

Best Score
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Alexandre Desplat.
Merry Christmas, Philippe Rombi.
March of the Penguins, Emilie Simon.
Live and Become, Armand Amar.

Best Art Direction
* Gabrielle, Olivier Radot.
Merry Christmas, Jean-Michel Simonet.
Grey Souls, Loula Morin.

Best Costume Design
* Gabrielle, Caroline de Vivaise.
Merry Christmas, Alison Forbes-Meyler.
Grey Souls, Pascaline Chavanne.

Best Sound
The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Cyril Holtz, Brigitte Taillandier, Pascal Villard & Philippe Amouroux.
Gabrielle, Benoît Hillebrant, Olivier Dô Hùu & Guillaume Sciama.
* March of the Penguins, Laurent Quaglio & Gérard Lamps.

Best Short Film
* After Shave, Beyrouth après-rasage, Hany Tamba.
La Peur, petit chasseur, Laurent Achard.
Obras, Hendrick Dussollier.
Sous le bleu, David Oelhoffen.

Honorary Cesar: Hugh Grant.

Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman: Gay author drama selected instead of gay cowboy romanceCapote with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead of Ang Lee’s gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain, the National Society of Film Critics went for Bennett Miller’s gay author drama Capote, which chronicles Truman Capote’s increasing emotional attachment to a convicted murderer (played by Clifton Collins Jr.) while doing research for his book In Cold Blood, about the brutal 1959 murder of a Kansas family and its aftermath.

Bafta winners

Brokeback Mountain was the big winner at the BAFTA 2006 Awards. Based on E. Annie Proulx’s short story about the doomed love affair between two Wyoming ranch hands, Brokeback Mountain won a total of four awards: best picture, best director (Ang Lee), Best Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), and, surprisingly, Best Supporting Actor for Jake Gyllenhaal. (While accepting the best film award, producer James Schamus jokingly complained that his film has been unfairly labeled “the gay cowboy movie,” when it actually is a “universal love story about two gay shepherds.”)

Two actors portraying real-life characters also came out on top: Philip Seymour Hoffman was chosen best actor for Capote, in which he plays flamboyant writer Truman Capote, while Reese Witherspoon won as best actress for her performance as Johnny Cash’s companion and later wife, June Carter, in Walk the Line.

Hoffman and Witherspoon defeated two British favorites, The Constant Gardener stars Ralph Fiennes (who has been unjustly neglected on this side of the Atlantic) and Rachel Weisz (who, also on this side of the Atlantic, has been unjustly getting “best supporting” wins and nominations for what amounts to a lead role). In fact, Fernando Meirelles’ solid, political-cum-romantic thriller won only one award out of its ten nominations – for best editing (Claire Simpson). The film even lost out the best British film award, which went to Nick Park and Steve Box’s animated feature Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Another big loser was American actor-director-producer George Clooney, who received more nominations – four in all – than most films, but who came away empty-handed. As a consolation prize, David Puttnam, winner of the British Academy’s Fellowship Award, thanked all the filmmakers of this year’s nominated films, particularly Clooney, for proving him wrong. The veteran producer acknowledged that, contrary to what he had said in the past, movies that both inform and entertain can still get made.

For the record, Jake Gyllenhaal was guilty of stealing Clooney’s thunder by unexpectedly winning in the supporting actor category. Clooney had been nominated for two films – Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck. For the latter, he also received nods in the best director and best film (as one of the producers) categories. Adding insult to injury, Gyllenhaal won for what’s actually a lead role.

De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté / The Beat That My Heart Skipped (above, with Niels Arestrup and Romain Duris) was the surprise winner in the best foreign-language film category. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the French-made psychological drama stars Romain Duris as a thug who is unsure if he should stick by his scummy father, or attempt a new life as a concert pianist.

The overblown Crash won two awards: best original screenplay for Paul Haggis (who also directed) and Bobby Moresco, and Best Supporting Actress for British-Zimbabwean performer Thandie Newton.

The 2005 Orange British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award nominations were announced on Jan. 19. The winners were announced at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on Feb. 19.

Film
* Brokeback Mountain - Diana Ossana & James Schamus.
Capote - Caroline Baron & William Vince & Michael Ohoven.
The Constant Gardener - Simon Channing Williams.
Crash - Credits to be determined.
Good Night and Good Luck.- Grant Heslov.

Alexander Korda Award for British Film
A Cock & Bull Story - Andrew Eaton & Michael Winterbottom & Martin Hardy.
The Constant Gardener - Simon Channing Williams & Fernando Meirelles & Jeffrey Caine
Festival - Christopher Young & Annie Griffin.
Pride & Prejudice - Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner & Paul Webster & Joe Wright & Deborah Moggach
* Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - Peter Lord & David Sproxton & Nick Park & Steve Box & Mark Burton & Bob Baker.

Foreign Language Film
* The Beat That My Heart Skipped - Pascal Caucheteux & Jacques Audiard.
Le Grand Voyage - Humbert Balsan & Ismaël Ferroukhi.
Kung Fu Hustle - Stephen Chow & Chui Po Chu & Jeff Lau.
Merry Christmas - Christophe Rossignon & Christian Carion.
Tsotsi - Peter Fudakowski & Gavin Hood.

David Lean Award for Best Director
* Brokeback Mountain - Ang Lee.
Capote - Bennett Miller.
The Constant Gardener - Fernando Meirelles.
Crash - Paul Haggis.
Good Night and Good Luck. - George Clooney.

Actor
David Strathairn - Good Night & And Good Luck.
Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain.
Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line.
* Philip Seymour Hoffman - Capote.
Ralph Fiennes - The Constant Gardener.

Actress
Charlize Theron - North Country.
Judi Dench - Mrs Henderson Presents.
Rachel Weisz - The Constant Gardener.
* Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line.
Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha.

Supporting Actor
Don Cheadle - Crash.
George Clooney - Good Night and Good Luck.
George Clooney - Syriana
* Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain.
Matt Dillon - Crash.

Supporting Actress
Brenda Blethyn - Pride & Prejudice.
Catherine Keener - Capote.
Frances Mcdormand - North Country.
Michelle Williams - Brokeback Mountain.
* Thandie Newton - Crash.

Original Screenplay
Cinderella Man - Cliff Hollingsworth & Akiva Goldsman
* Crash - Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco.
Good Night and Good Luck.- George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Hotel Rwanda - Keir Pearson & Terry George.
Mrs Henderson Presents - Martin Sherman.

Adapted Screenplay
* Brokeback Mountain - Larry Mcmurtry & Diana Ossana.
Capote - Dan Futterman.
The Constant Gardener - Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence - Josh Olson.
Pride & Prejudice - Deborah Moggach.

Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement By A British Director & Writer Or Producer In Their First Feature Film
David Belton (Producer) - Shooting Dogs.
Peter Fudakowski (Producer) - Tsotsi.
Annie Griffin (Director & Writer) - Festival.
Richard Hawkins (Director) - Everything.
* Joe Wright (Director) - Pride & Prejudice.

Cinematography
Brokeback Mountain - Rodrigo Prieto.
The Constant Gardener - César Charlone.
Crash - J Michael Muro
March Of The Penguins - Laurent Chalet & Jerôme Maison
* Memoirs of a Geisha - Dion Beebe.

Editing
Brokeback Mountain - Geraldine Peroni & Dylan Tichenor
* The Constant Gardener - Claire Simpson.
Crash - Hughes Winborne.
Good Night and Good Luck.- Stephen Mirrione
March Of The Penguins - Sabine Emiliani.

Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music
Brokeback Mountain - Gustavo Santaolalla.
The Constant Gardener - Alberto Iglesias
* Memoirs of a Geisha - John Williams.
Mrs Henderson Presents - George Fenton.
Walk the Line - T Bone Burnett.

Production Design
Batman Begins - Nathan Crowley.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Alex Mcdowell
* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Stuart Craig.
King Kong - Grant Major.
Memoirs of a Geisha - John Myhre.

Costume Design
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Gabriella Pescucci.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - Isis Mussenden
* Memoirs of a Geisha - Colleen Atwood.
Mrs Henderson Presents - Sandy Powell.
Pride & Prejudice - Jacqueline Durran.

Sound
Batman Begins - David G Evans & Stefan Henrix & Peter Lindsay.
The Constant Gardener - Joakim Sundström & Stuart Wilson.
Crash - Richard Van Dyke & Sandy Gendler.
King Kong - Hammond Peek & Christopher Boyes & Mike Hopkins & Ethan Van Der Ryn
* Walk the Line - Paul Massey & D M Hemphill & Peter F Kurland & Donald Sylvester.

Visual Effects
Batman Begins - Janek Sirrs & Dan Glass & Chris Corbould.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Nick Davis & Jon Thum & Chas Jarrett & Joss Williams.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - Dean Wright & Bill Westenhofer & Jim Berney & Scott Farrar.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Jim Mitchell & John Richardson
* King Kong - Joe Letteri & Christian Rivers & Brian Van’t Hul & Richard Taylor.

Make-Up & Hair
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Peter Owen & Ivana Primorac.
* The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - Howard Berger & Gregory Nicotero & Nikki Gooley.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Nick Dudman & Amanda Knight & Eithne Fennell.
Memoirs of a Geisha - Noriko Watanabe & Kate Biscoe & Lyndell Quiyou & Kelvin R Trahan.
Pride & Prejudice - Fae Hammond.

Animated Short
* Fallen Art - Jarek Sawko & Piotr Sikora & Tomek Baginski.
Film Noir - Osbert Parker.
Kamiya’s Correspondence - Sumito Sakakibara.
The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello - Anthony Lucas & Julia Lucas & Mark Shirrefs.
Rabbit - Run Wrake.

Short Film
* Antonio’s Breakfast - Howard Stogdon & Amber Templemore-finlayson & Daniel Mulloy.
Call Register - Kit Hawkins & Adam Tudhope & Ed Roe.
Heavy Metal Drummer - Amanda Boyle & Luke Morris & Toby Macdonald.
Heydar & an Afghan in Tehran - Homayoun Assadian & Babak Jalali.
Lucky - Bex Hopkins & Avie Luthra

Academy Fellowship: David Puttnam.

Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Robert (Chuck) Finch & Bill Merrell.

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Wolfgang P. May -

“Joyeux Noel”, is a fairly accurate documentation of the Christmas Truce of 1914. My grandfather, who was drafted to serve in the German army, was one of the participants. In his sector, it began with an exchange of rations. Since the trenches were close enough to throw grenades at each other, one of the “enemy” asked if the Germans wanted to trade food for cigarettes. Both sides ultimately climbed out of their trenches to celebrate Christmas together, until the officers on both sides forced them to fight again.

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