DOPPELGÄNGER BLUES: Two dueling films about the late couturier Yves Saint Laurent faced off at the Césars, France’s equivalent to the Academy Awards, on Friday night, but the evening ended with a draw as each walked away with just one award.
“Yves Saint Laurent” by Jalil Lespert, made with the blessing of Saint Laurent’s former business partner Pierre Bergé, and “Saint Laurent” by Bertrand Bonello, finalized within the same year despite Bergé’s attempts to block the project, jointly garnered a total of 17 nominations.
Pierre Niney, the star of Lespert’s film, won the best actor trophy, besting Gaspard Ulliel, who was nominated for playing the designer in “Saint Laurent.” He addressed the rivalry between the two films in his acceptance speech, directly addressing Ulliel, who sat in the audience.
“I wanted to tell you that respect, your respect, and our common love for this craft and our role model Yves Saint Laurent — that artist, that genius — was the best response I can think of to all those who sought to comment, simplify and put us in competition at all costs,” he said.
Ironically, Anaïs Romand, who designed the costumes for Saint Laurent without any assistance from the Fondation Pierre Bergé — Yves Saint Laurent, won the César for best costume design. She produced clothes with the help of a team of skilled seamstresses and borrowed outfits from designer Olivier Chatenet’s extensive collection of vintage YSL.
She won against Madeline Fontaine, who had full access to the foundation’s archives for “Yves Saint Laurent.” Jean Paul Gaultier and actress Marilou Berry, both of whom wore their evening suits, minus the trousers, presented the award.
In a case of life imitating art, Kristen Stewart won the award for best supporting actress for her role as the assistant of an actress played by Juliette Binoche in “Sils Maria,” whose plot has echoes of the Hollywood classic “All About Eve.” Stewart became the first American actress to win a César, while Binoche, up for best actress, lost out to another starlet, Adèle Haenel.
Stewart was dressed in Chanel, which contributed financing to the movie, directed by Olivier Assayas.
Marion Cotillard, dressed in a trapeze-shaped gown fresh off the Dior spring haute couture runway, paid a lengthy homage to Sean Penn, who attended with Charlize Theron to accept his honorary César. Penn appeared to fall asleep at one point during the ceremony, which lasted close to four hours and was punctuated by interminable speeches, while Twitter users swiftly compared Cotillard’s dress to a badminton shuttlecock.