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Sean Penn to receive honorary French Cesar

Sean Penn.
Sean Penn. Reuters/File.

The American actor Sean Penn is to receive an honorary French film award Cesar next February in Paris in recognition of being a cinema "living legend".

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At this year's French most prestigious film annual prize, Sean Penn will receive a Cesar as "a standalone icon in American cinema" said the French Academy of Cinema.

Penn is a "mythical actor, politically active personality and an exceptional director" added the Academy.

The 54-year-old actor won best actor at the 1997 Cannes Festival for his role in the Nick Cassavetes's film She's So Lovely.

He earned his first Oscar in 2004 for his performance in Mystic River by Clint Eastwood, then in 2009 for his portrait of the American politician and gay-rights activist Harvey Milk by Gus Van Sant.

Penn has earned a strong leftwing reputation for his support of gay marriage and his foundation to help Haïti after its 2010 earthquake.

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