Ladj Ly’s ‘Les Miserables’ Tops Lumières Awards, Roman Polanski Wins Director Prize
Art and Experience: Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated drama “Les Miserables” won best film, male newcomer and script at the Lumières Awards, the French prizes given by Paris-based members of the foreign press. This 25th edition of the awards was presided over by French actress Isabelle Huppert.
The searing police violence drama previously won the jury prize at Cannes, and just earned the Goya award in Spain for best foreign film. It is currently vying for best international feature film at the Oscars.
Alexis Manenti, one of the leading actors of “Les Miserables” won best male newcomer, and also shared the best screenplay gong with Ly and Giordano Gederlini. The film was produced by Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral of SRAB films.
“Les Miserables” was inspired by the 2005 French riots and examines the tensions between neighborhood residents and police that helped inflame the rioting. It centers on three cops who find themselves overrun during the course of an arrest. The film is being handled by Amazon in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” (“J’accuse”), which was nominated for five Lumières Awards, took home the best director prize. Polanski wasn’t there to pick up the prize. His assistant director was on hand to receive the award.
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The film, which previously won the Silver Prize at the Venice Film Festival, was the highest-grossing French film last year, despite protests and calls to boycott the movie from women’s rights advocacy organizations. Several screenings were also canceled.
“An Officer and a Spy” tells the true story of counter-espionage officer Georges Picquart, who defied orders and embarked on a compromising mission to clear the name of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a promising French-Jewish officer who was unfairly accused of spying for Germany in the late 1890s. The movie was produced by Alain Goldman’s Legende Films, which also produced Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s “Nevada,” winner of the best first film prize.
Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” the 18th-century-set romance that won best screenplay at Cannes and was nominated for a Golden Globe, won best actress for Noemie Merlant and best cinematography for Claire Mathon. The film was produced by Benedicte Couvreur at Lilies Films.
The best actor prize went to Roschdy Zem for his performance in Arnaud Desplechin’s “Oh Mercy,” while best female newcomer went to Nina Maurice from the film “Camille.”
Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven” won best international co-production. Alexandre Desplat won best original score for Costa Gravras’s “Adults in the Room” and “M” from Yolanda Zauberman won best documentary.