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Since 2011, France’s Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma has steadfastly held its annual awards ceremony the Friday before the Academy Awards. And if launching the Césars two days before the Oscars holds a real, practical benefit — allowing those walking both red carpets time to linger over their last flutes of Champagne before boarding the 12-hour flight — it also resonates on a more figurative level.
Though both ceremonies have evolved alongside one another in recent years and have made similar changes, the César committees have consistently been just ahead of their American counterparts when introducing such shifts.
Example - Number - Nominees - Césars - Picture
Take, for example, the overall number of nominees: In 2009, the Césars expanded its best picture field from five nominees to seven, predating the Oscars’ similar move by a year. The César chiefs were so pleased by this change that, in 2012, they opted to expand the categories of actor, actress and director to seven as well — a move the Academy’s board of governors still has yet to try.
Since 2016, a split between best picture and director trophies has been guaranteed: the French Academy added a rule stipulating as much to its charter. Meant to increase the number of winning titles, the rule dictates that should the same film receive the plurality of votes in both director and picture, the directing prize will then go the film with the second- most votes, a move that has rankled some in the local industry.
Year - Overlap - Cesar - Picture - Nominees
This year, there is a complete overlap between Cesar best picture and directing nominees, increasing the odds of such a mandated shift. Xavier Legrand’s “Custody” and Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” lead the race with 10 nominations each, followed by Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers” and Pierre Salvadori’s “The Trouble With You” at nine noms each.
The French Academy has had...
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