César awards ban on people accused of sex crimes

The decision comes after controversy surrounding French actress Sofiane Bennacer, who has been indicted on multiple charges of sexual violence, and Roman Polanski’s win for Best Director 2020.

After some major controversy, the French César Academy has voted not to invite anyone accused or convicted of sexual violence to the 28th César Awards.

According to Variety, under this new decision, no actor, filmmaker, producer or other industry professional will be allowed to attend events produced by the César Academy, the French equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. However, these individuals can still be nominated and even win a César award, but cannot accept it in person or send someone to speak on their behalf at the ceremony.

The decision follows a recent scandal involving Sofiane Bennacer, an actress in Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s Cannes film Forever Young, who was shortlisted for the Best Newcomer category at the César Awards. César Academy eventually removed him from the shortlist after reports that Bennacer faced multiple charges of rape and violence.

In 2020, César Academy faced severe criticism when Roman Polanski, a fugitive from the United States for his 1977 rape of a 13-year-old girl, won Best Director for his film An Officer and a Spy. Polanski did not attend the ceremony, but his victory fueled several strikes, including that of Adèle Haene, nominated for Best Actress, from Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

“Out of respect for victims (including alleged victims in the event of indictment or non-final conviction), it was decided not to single out individuals accused or convicted of violent crimes, particularly sexual or sexist violence,” the Academy told Variety in its letter .

In the first half of 2023, the César Academy is expected to hold a vote that will determine longer-term changes to admissions rules, including potential outright bans on people accused, convicted, or pending of sexual violence.

The news also follows another high-profile French controversy that saw Dominique Boutonnat, the president of the French government’s National Film Board (known as CNC), renamed to a second three-year tenure at the agency last July. Boutonnant was charged with allegedly sexually assaulting his godson in February last year and went to court in September.

The 2023 Cesar Awards will take place on February 24, with nominations expected to be announced later this year. David Fincher will be presented with a César honorary award during the ceremony.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2023/01/cesar-awards-2023-sexual-violence-1234795583/ César awards ban on people accused of sex crimes

Lindsay Lowe

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