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‘Fatima’ Tops ‘Mustang’ to Win Big at France’s Cesar Awards

Last year’s Oscar winner ”Birdman“ wins for best foreign film

Philippe Faucon’s small-scale immigration drama “Fatima” has been named the best film of 2015 at the Cesar Awards, France’s version of the Oscars.

The film, which screened in Cannes’ Directors Fortnight section last year and deals with an immigrant woman struggling to raise two daughters, scored an upset victory over Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s favored Oscar nominee “Mustang.”

“Fatima” also won awards for breakout actress Zita Hanrot, and for Faucon’s adapted screenplay.

“Mustang” had to settle for awards as the year’s best first film, and for its original screenplay, film editing and music.

Other contenders for the top honor included Jacques Audiard‘s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Dheepan” and two films that had led all movies with 11 Cesar nominations: Arnaud Desplechin’s “My Golden Years” and Xavier Giannoli’s “Marguerite.”

Desplechin did win the award for Best Director, while “Marguerite” won for actress Catherine Frot and for its costumes, production design and sound.

Last year’s Oscar Best Picture winner, “Birdman,” won the award for best foreign film in a category that also included “Son of Saul” and “Youth.”

The award for the best animated feature went to Mark Osborne’s “The Little Prince,” which premiered at Cannes last year but has yet to be released in the U.S., while the documentary award went to Melanie Laurent and Cyril Dion’s “Demain.”

The lead acting awards were given to Brot and to Vincent Lindon for “The Measure Of A Man” (he was also named best actor at Cannes last year), while supporting honors went to Benoît Magimel for “Standing Tall” and Sidse Babett Knudsen for “L’Hermine” (“Courted”).

Breakout acting awards went to Rod Paradot for “Standing Tall” and Zita Hanrot for “Fatima.”

Michael Douglas received an honorary Cesar.

The ceremony took place at the Chatelet Theater in Paris, and was hosted by comedian Florence Floresti.

The winners:

Best Film: “Fatima”
Best Director: Arnaud Desplechin, “My Golden Years”
Best Actor: Vincent Lindon, “The Measure Of A Man”
Best Actress: Catherine Frot, “Marguerite”
Best Supporting Actor: Benoît Magimel, “Standing Tall”
Best Supporting Actress: Sidse Babett Knudsen, “L’Hermine” (“Courted”)
Breakout Actor: Rod Paradot, “Standing Tall”
Breakout Actress: Zita Hanrot, “Fatima”
Best First Film: “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Best Animated Film: “The Little Prince”
Best Documentary: “Demain”
Best Foreign Film: “Birdman”
Best Cinematography: Christophe Offenstein, “Valley of Love”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Philippe Faucon, “Fatima”
Best Original Screenplay: Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour, “Mustang”
Best Costume: Pierre-Jean Larroque, “Marguerite”
Best Production Design: Martin Kurel, “Marguerite”
Best Editing: Mathilde Van De Moortel, “Mustang”
Best Sound: François Musy, Gabriel Hafner, “Marguerite”
Best Music: Warren Ellis, “Mustang”
Best Short Film: “La Contre-Allee”
Best Animated Short: “Le Repas Dominical”

Honorary Cesar: Michael Douglas