Louis Garrel & Noémi Merlant in “L’Innocent” – cpn

Louis Garrel & Noémi Merlant in “L’Innocent”, the nomination leader

The 48th César awards have released their list of nominations, and guess what? Just like the Oscars, an oddball family comedy leads with 11 nominations, including nearly the same acting breakdown (1 lead, 2 Supporting Actress, 1 Supporting Actor). L’Innocent is nowhere near as eccentric as Everything Everywhere All at Once, but it’s a pleasant heist movie and the first box-office hit for director Louis Garrel (who also stars, his biggest hits in the US have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers).

I mentioned L’Innocent’s box-office on purpose given that French cinema is having an existential crisis: for the first time in decades, no national production managed to crack our yearly top 10 box-office…

In response to that, producers are coming in strong with new versions of Astérix and The Three Musketeers released in the upcoming months. In an attempt to vamp up the César ceremony, the Academy is giving free rein to show producer Éric Lartigau (he is also the director of 2014’s La Famille Bélier which inspired last year’s Oscar winner CODA). For the first time, there will be 9 different hosts! Among them, Leïla Bekhti, Jamel Debbouze and Emmanuelle Devos. The ceremony president is Golden Globe nominee Tahar Rahim (A Prophet, The Mauritanian). Finally, the Honorary César will go to director David Fincher. He won Best Foreign Film in 2010 for The Social Network.

And now the nominees for the 2022 film year…

Best Film

Forever Young

Les Amandiers / Forever Young
L’Innocent / The Innocent
La nuit du 12 / The Night of the 12th
En Corps / Rise
Forever Young is Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s recreation of her early theater actress years when she worked under the direction of the late Patrice Chéreau (played by… Louis Garrel). Rise is the uplifting tale of a young dancer, while The Night of the 12th and Pacifiction are polars. After opening this category (as well as Best Director/Actor/Actress) to 7 nominees in 2008, the Academy went back to 5 in 2020 due to COVID that shut down theaters for half a year. They opened again to 7 nominees in 2021, and now they’ve come back to 5! Agh we hate award show inconsistencies. The nominees are very Cannes-friendly as usual: with the exception of Rise, they’ve all opened on the Croisette. Forever Young and Pacifiction were even in Competition for the Palme d’Or but received no awards from the jury.


Best Director

Louis Garrel, L’Innocent
Cédric Jimenez, November
Cédric Klapisch, Rise
Dominik Moll, The Night of the 12th
Albert Serra, Pacifiction
This is where it gets tricky. For the first time since 2013, no female director is nominated. Instead, we have two Cédrics. Actress turned director Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi was statistically the closest to receiving a nomination given that her film Forever Young made it in Best Film, an award that goes to both the film’s producer and its director. But what about Alice Diop (Saint Omer), Léa Mysius (The Five Devils), Mia Hansen-Løve (One Fine Morning), Rebecca Zlotowski (Other People’s Children) ? Not to mention Claire Denis (Both Sides of the Blade) who has NEVER been nominated here but won awards last year in both Berlin AND Cannes ? The realistic answer is that the Academy just didn’t click with those directors and their work: not counting Saint Omer, the four other mentioned films have a grand total of ONE nomination. Fortunately, you’ll soon notice that things are very different for female-directed projects in the shorts and specialty categories.

It’s the third nomination in this category for Cédric Klapisch, the second for Jimenez (following last year’s BAC Nord) and the first for Garrel & Serra. November is the harrowing tale of the Paris November 13th terrorist attacks in 2015. Moll is the only returning champ. He won for his only previous nomination (With a friend like Harry… in 2000, a film that I love).


Best Foreign Film


The Beasts (Spain)
Cairo Conspiracy (Sweden)
Close (Belgium)
EO (Poland)
Triangle of Sadness (Sweden)
These films all premiered at Cannes and, except for The Beasts (a Spanish film with French stars Marina Foïs and Denis Ménochet as its lead), they all won prizes there. Close, EO and Triangle are also up for Oscars as you know.

Best Actress

Virginie Efira in “Paris Memories / Revoir Paris”

Fanny Ardant (8 noms | 2 wins) The Young Lovers
Juliette Binoche (11 noms | 1 win) Ouistreham / Between Two Worlds
Laure Calamy (5 noms | 1 win) À plein temps / Full Time
Virginie Efira (6 noms | 0 win), Revoir Paris
Adèle Exarchopoulos (3 noms | 1 win) Zero fucks given
Laure Calamy won in Venice (Orizzonti Section) more than a year ago. This could be the moment for the ubiquitous Virginie Efira (Benedetta, Other People’s Children) who, like Calamy, is enjoying her 3rd nomination in a row in this category. Adèle Exarchopoulos has now been nominated for the 3 César acting awards: Newcomer / Supporting / Leading. She won in the breakthrough category for Blue is the warmest color. So far, no actor, male or female, has managed to win all 3 awards.

With her latest film Juliette Binoche becomes the third most nominated actress of all time in the César Lead actress category, only behind Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert.


Best Actor

Jean Dujardin (4 noms | 0 win) November
Louis Garrel (7 noms | 1 win) L’Innocent
Vincent Macaigne (5 noms | 0 win) Diary of a Fleeting Affair
Benoît Magimel (5 noms | 2 wins), Pacifiction
Denis Ménochet (3 noms | 0 win) Peter von Kant
Your periodic reminder that Dujardin did NOT win the César for The Artist (it went to Omar Sy). Can Benoît Magimel make history by becoming the first back-to-back winner ? He was honored last year for De son vivant, beating Adam Driver for Annette.


Best Supporting Actress

Judith Chemla (3 noms | 0 win) Le sixième enfant
Anaïs Demoustier (5 noms | 1 win) Novembre
Anouk Grinberg (4 noms | 0 win) L’Innocent
Lyna Khoudri (2 noms | 1 win), Novembre
Noémie Merlant (3 noms | 0 win) L’Innocent
Double “double nominees” –when the French Academy loves a film, they really loves it. What a year Noémie Merlant has had with L’Innocent, TAR and the release of her directorial debut Mi iubita, mon amour.


Best Supporting Actor

François Civil (2 noms | 0 win) Rise
Bouli Lanners (1st acting nom) The Night of the 12th
Micha Lescot (first nom) Forever Young
Pio Marmaï (5 noms | 0 win), Rise
Roschdy Zem (5 acting noms | 1 win) L’Innocent
Pio Marmaï completes the acting nomination trifecta. Bouli Lanners was a previous nominee for Best Foreign Film (Eldorado) while Zem has been nominated for writing and Best Directorial Debut.


Best Female Newcomer

Saint Omer

Marion Barbeau, Rise
Guslagie Malanda, Saint Omer
Rebecca Marder, Une jeune fille qui va bien
Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Forever Young
Mallory Wanecque, The Worst Ones
Les pires/The Worst Ones won the Un Certain Regard award in Cannes. In 2022, Rebecca Marder also played a young Simone Weil in the biopic directed by Olivier Dahan (La vie en rose) that became the biggest French hit of the year.


Best Male Newcomer

Stefan Crepon in “Peter Von Kant”

Bastien Bouillon, La nuit du 12
Stefan Crepon, Peter von Kant
Dimitri Doré, Bruno Reidal
Paul Kircher, Le Lycéen
Aliocha Reinert, Petite Nature
At only 15, Aliocha Reinert pulls off the nomination despite having missed the Academy “acting revelations” shortlist (which is a prestigious but only indicative list). By contrast, Bastien Bouillon is 37 and has appeared in films for more than a decade now. He also stars in the nominated short Partir un jour.


Best Original Screenplay

Full Time
Forever Young
Saint Omer

Best Adapted Screenplay

Final Cut
Enquête sur un scandale d’état
The Night of the 12th
Oscar-winner Michel Hazanavicius gets his 4th nomination for writing. Final Cut (Coupez!) is a remake of the Japanese hilarious zombie flick One cut of the Dead; it opened Cannes Film Festival last May. Don’t get me started on why this category only has 3 nominees. I have no idea.


Best Animated Film

Ernest et Célestine : le voyage en Charabie
Ma famille afghane
Little Nicholas
Little Nicholas was nominated at the European Film Awards and was eligible for the Oscar but wasn’t nominated. The first Ernest & Célestine film (this is a sequel) was Oscar-nominated in 2013.


Best Documentary

Allons enfants
Les années super 8
Le chêne
Jane par Charlotte
Retour à Reims (fragments)
Charlotte Gainsbourg gets her first nomination outside the acting categories for this documentary she shot about her mother Jane Birkin. Les années super 8 is co-directed by writer Annie Ernaux with her son David. Ernaux wrote L’évènement which was adapted in the Golden Lion winner Happening ; she won the Nobel Prize for Literature a few months ago.


Best Cinematography


Forever Young
The Night of the 12th
Saint Omer (Claire Mathon won for Portrait of a Lady on Fire)

Best Original Score

Final Cut (score by multiple César and Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat)
Full Time
The Night of the 12th
The Passengers of the Night
Best Sound Design

The Night of the 12th
Best Editing

Full Time
The Night of the 12th
Best Costumes

Couleurs de l’incendie
Forever Young
Simone: Woman of the Century
Waiting for Bojangles
Best Set Design

Couleurs de l’incendie
Forever Young
The Night of the 12th
Simone: Woman of the Century
Best Visual Effects

The Five Devils

The Five Devils
Notre-Dame on fire
Smoking Causes Coughing
This nod for the Quentin Dupieux joint (Smoking), following Adèle Exarchopoulos’ nomination last year for Mandibles, makes me realize the Academy is finally embracing his bonkers universe. And at the same time, they keep giving Gaspar Noé the cold shoulder : Vortex did not manage a single nod, not even for its actors. It now joins the “snub” club of Climax, Irreversible, Enter the Void (should have been nominated for Cinematography).

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