Kristen Stewart joins France’s cinema stars in running for César film award
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France's own Oscars ceremony, the Césars, was to see the biggest and brightest stars of French cinema vie for the top awards on Friday evening. Duelling biopics, three 30-somethings and an American actress are in the running for a César award.
Bringing international attention to the ceremony this year is Twilight star Kristen Stewart.
The Franco-British actress has been nominated as best supporting actress for her role as a head-on-her-shoulders personal assistant in Olivier Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria.
In the best actor category, the nominations include two popular French actors playing the same real-life character in two different films on the life of late French couturier Yves Saint Laurent - Pierre Niney and Gaspard Ulliel.
Three young directors, all under 40, are in the running for a César, Thomas Cailley for Les Combattants, Thomas Lilti for Hippocrate and Céline Sciamma for Bande de filles.
They face stiff competition from the much-touted Timbuktu by Abderrhamane Sissako, a tale of life under religious extremists in Mali which has been nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar next month.
In France cinema continues to maintain a strong foothold in a country where the cultural and entertainment offer is high.
Some 210 million tickets were sold last year, up 10 per cent on the year before.