The Cesar Awards just don’t know how to quit Roman Polanski. The French director leads the “French Oscar” nominations list with 12 nods in total for his new film An Officer and a Spy—despite a new rape allegation against him, which emerged last November. At least one feminist group has already vowed to protest the event.
In 1977, Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful intercourse with a minor as part of a plea bargain and fled the U.S. In November 2019, French actress and model Valentine Monnier said that Polanski raped her when she was 18 years old. Polanski has denied the accusation. Support for the director within France has been crumbling; in 2017 Polanski was forced to quit his role as Cesar Awards’ president following threats of protest from French feminist group Osez le Feminisme. The next year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Polanski from its ranks. His response? He sued the Academy almost a year later, last April.
An Officer and a Spy saw a stellar debut at France’s box office—despite protests that closed multiple screenings. Alain Terzian, head of the French film academy, said the organization “should not take moral positions” when it comes to awards. But Osez le Feminisme has already responded to Polanski’s numerous nominations, tweeting, roughly translated, “If rape is an art, then give Polanski all the Cesars.” In giving Polanski awards recognition, the group argues, the Cesars are silencing victims. The group has vowed to protest the ceremony.
As Variety notes, Polanski’s new film has performed well at awards shows including the Lumieres Awards, which awarded him best director, and its world premiere at Venice Film Festival, where Polanski won both best director and the Silver Lion. Following An Officer and a Spy for Cesar nominations are Les Miserables with 11 nods and Portrait of a Lady on Fire with 10.