Persons suspected of sexual violence will be excluded from the

Persons suspected of sexual violence will be excluded from the César award ceremony

Persons under investigation for sexually violent crimes cannot attend the next César awards, the so-called “French Oscars”, which are scheduled for February 25, 2023. So said the Académie des arts et technique du cinéma (aka dei César), the institution that has been awarding prizes since 1976, in anticipation of possible protests over the participation in the event of Sofiane Bennacer, one of France’s most prominent emerging actresses, against the being investigated for rape and sexual assault.

Bennacer is 25 years old and one of the protagonists of the film Forever Young – Les Amandiers by director and actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, his current partner. Last November, Bennacer was accused of sexual assault by a former partner who said she was raped by him and by three other women who said they were raped. An investigation had begun following the allegations, and the César Academy had decided to exclude him from the list of upcoming actors nominated for the relative award in 2023, but not from attending the ceremony.

In a statement released on Monday, the organizers of the Cesar Awards clarified that anyone who risks a conviction for “violence, particularly crimes of a sexual or sexist nature” will be barred from the February ceremony, as will those who already have have done was convicted of such a crime. The decision was made to “not make visible” persons who may have committed violence and “as a mark of respect for the victims”, albeit only “suspected”. However, it has not yet been decided whether people with investigations or convictions for sexual assault will be excluded from nominations and thus from the awards in the future.

Even before the 2020 edition, there had been criticism and controversy surrounding the César Awards for nominating a film by director Roman Polanski, and there were protests even during the awards ceremony. In 1977, Polanski was imprisoned in the United States for a short time for having sex with a 13-year-old girl – which he confirmed. He has since lived in France to avoid extradition and a trial in the United States, where he had unsuccessfully tried to reach a parole agreement.

During the 2020 ceremony, some actresses had left the theater in protest at the award of the best director award to Polanski for An Officer and a Spy. The first to leave the theater was the actress Adèle Haenel, who had told a few months earlier that she had been sexually molested in 2002 by Christophe Ruggia, the director of her first film, between the ages of 12 and 15; behind her also came Céline Sciamma, director of the film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, in which Haenel had played one of the leading roles and which was nominated for several awards.

In the weeks leading up to the awards ceremony, there had been much protest against Polanski’s film’s many nominations, to the point that the entire César Awards board had resigned and the director had said he would not be attending the evening, fearing for his safety. Also in November, Polanski was accused by former actress Valentine Monnier of 1975 rape.