Roman Polanski's Best Director win sparks Cesar Awards walkout

Roman Polanski's Best Director win sparks Cesar Awards walkout

Actress Adele Haenel sparked a walkout at the 2020 Cesar Awards in France on Friday (28Feb20) after leaving the event in disgust as Roman Polanski was named Best Director.

The filmmaker, who remains in exile in Europe after running from a 1977 rape conviction in America, cancelled plans to attend the French equivalent of the Oscars on the eve of the show to avoid a "public lynching" after feminist activists unveiled plans to stage a demonstration outside the Paris prizegiving.

Despite his absence, his latest movie, An Officer and a Spy, scooped a trio of honours, including Best Director for Polanski, which led to a number of audience members leaving their seats at the Salle Pleyel.

Best Actress nominee Haenel, who had earlier slammed officials at the French Film Academy for nominating Polanski at all, was visibly upset as his name was announced, and promptly exited the hall, as a group of others soon followed, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Portrait of a Lady on Fire star is herself a sexual assault survivor, having accused director Christophe Ruggia of abusing and harassing her since first starring in his movies at the age of 12.

An Officer and a Spy also triumphed in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, recognising Polanski and co-writer Robert Harris, while Pascaline Chavanne took the Cesar for Best Costume Design.

It lost out on the top accolade of Best Film to Ladj Ly's Les Miserables, which took home a total of four awards, including Best Male Newcomer for Alexis Manenti.

The Best Actress honour was collected by Anais Demoustier for Alice and the Mayor, and Roschdy Zem claimed the male equivalent for Oh Mercy!.

Lyna Khoudri was declared Best Female Newcomer for her work in Papicha, which was also named Best First Film for director Mounia Meddour, while the supporting actor and actress prizes went to Swann Arlaud (By the Grace of God), and Fanny Ardant (La Belle Epoque).

There was also another win for South Korean thriller Parasite, which earned director Bong Joon Ho the Best Foreign Film award, weeks after his historic Oscars victories.


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