Caesar 2020 : Polanski, petitions, resignations, lack of diversity… a look Back at a dark year

César 2020 : Polanski, pétition, démissions, manque de diversité... Retour sur une année noire

Caesar 2020 : Roman Polanski, petition for lack of diversity, resignations, reform… Back on the bad buzz before the ceremony

Each year, the prestigious award ceremony for the French cinema knows controversy. But this 45th edition of Caesar, which takes place this Friday, February 28, 2020 at the salle Pleyel in Paris (and which will be broadcast live from 21h on Canal+), could mark the spirits. Between the case of Roman Polanski, the two tribunes of the stars of the 7th art who reported several problems related to the lack of diversity within the Academy and in the appointments, a collective resignation, or beginning of reform, this evening will definitely be remembered.

The case of Roman Polanski

This year, several people, including many women’s associations such as Dare feminism ! want to boycott the 45th edition of the Caesar. It is expected this Friday, February 28, 2020 at the salle Pleyel in Paris, and will be broadcast live from 21h on Canal+. But why encourage not to look at the Cesar 2020 ? Because of Roman Polanski, primarily. The filmmaker, in addition to having been found guilty by the justice in the past of a rape on a minor has been accused of several other sexual assaults.

And the thing is that his film, j’accuse , in particular with Jean Dujardin and Louis Garrel (released in November 2019), has been nominated for the César 2020. Worse, it is the work that received the most nominations (12), including one in the category of best director. The Academy is thus faced with the question : should we judge the artist or the man ?

Andrea Bescond, actress and director of Tickling, autobiographical film about a little girl sexually abused has chosen his camp. “Twelve nominations, and twelve charges of rape : Polanski is fitting !” had dropped in Paris one that has been césarisée the past year. Adele Haenel, who recently accused director Stéphane Ruggia “touching”, had also told the New York Times : “Distinguish Polanski, it is to spit in the face of all the victims”. Florence Foresti, the master of ceremonies for the evening was from his side makes a (false ?) unintentionally humorous the day of the announcement of the appointments : “I am accused… uh… I accuse”.

Waited at the turning point, Roman Polanski was eventually cancel his coming. In a press release relayed by the AFP, he explained : “For several days, we ask myself this question : come I or come I not at the ceremony of Caesar ? The question I ask is rather : how could I ?”. “The place of this evening, we know in advance. Activists are threatening me already of a lynching public,” he complained, “This promises to be more like a symposium than a festival of the cinema is supposed to reward its biggest talents”.

Despite its decision, the activists will be mobilized. They will as well this evening, place des Ternes, a few metres away from the salle Pleyel.

The two forums denouncing the malfunctions and a lack of diversity

This first big controversy that has marred the Caesar 2020, it added a column published in The World. In this one, more than 200 personalities of the 7th art, including Omar Sy, and Leïla Bekhti, denounced a system that is “elitist and closed,” citing the Academy of the Arts and Techniques of Cinema (who vote for Caesar). It was then presided by Alain Terzianet since 2003.

The artists evoke concerns of parity, opacity of accounts, and many “malfunctions”. They have entrusted all of us pay the “annual fee” and be able “to vote to elect the nominees and then the winners of each category”. But “we have no voice in chapter, nor in the workings of the academy and of the association, nor in the place of the ceremony” they had lamented.

It was followed by another forum, posted this once in The new yorker. Several celebrities such as Olivier Assayas, Mathieu Kassovitz, Stomy Bugsy, Olivier Marchal, Aïssa Maïga and Sonia Rolland have also reported a great lack of diversity in French cinema. They found that the productions of French place far too often “actors of color in roles that are insignificant, which does not justify never any nomination for the César”. Their desire ? To see more artists from overseas and the immigration of african and asian to the screen.

A collective resignation and a president ad interim

Following the first forum, the board of directors of the Academy has announced a collective resignation in mid-February 2020. On Wednesday 26 February 2020, it is the producer Margaret Menegoz, who was appointed president “ad interim” pending a special general meeting.

The CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) has stated that “the members of the association shall be extraordinary general meeting held on 20 April 2020, at the CNC, in order to adopt new statutes and to temporarily replace members who have resigned from the board of directors, pending the establishment of a governance final”.

The long-awaited reform by many actors, directors and other persons to the 7th art is (hopefully) running.

And as if all this bad buzz was not enough, for the first time since the creation of the ceremony (in 1976), there will be no Caesar of honor. Nope. Nada. Brad Pitt was considered, but it is retracted as indicated by Paris (because of the controversies ?). And while the Academy would have tried to convince other american stars, those that have been contacted have all denied. It promises an evening with a beautiful atmosphere…

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