Silent movie The Artist shone at home on Friday, netting best film and other prizes at France's annual Cesars, held two days before the Oscars in which the film is a top favourite.
Film director Michel Hazanavicius poses with actress Berenice Bejo on the stage after his film The Artist was awarded the Best Movie Cesar and Best Actress duirng the 37th Cesar Film Awards at Theatre du Chatelet. AP Photo/Jacques Brinon
The black-and-white tribute to Hollywood's golden age -- about a silent movie star struggling after
the arrival of the "talkies" -- was named best film at the 37th Cesars ceremony held at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris.
Berenice Bejo, who plays an up-and-coming Hollywood starlet in The Artist, was visibly moved to accept the best actress Cesar, two days before competing for the best supporting actress Oscar in Hollywood.
The French actress' partner Michel Hazanavicius was named best director for the film, which picked up best score for the 1920s and 30s-inspired soundtrack by composer Ludovic Bource, as well as best set design and best cinematography.
The Artist -- which already picked up awards at the Golden Globes, the British BAFTAS and the Spanish Goyas -- is contending for a whopping 10 Oscars at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Film lead Jean Dujardin, acclaimed for his role as a fading silent film star, left the Cesars empty handed but heads to Hollywood this weekend with a chance to become the first Frenchman to win a best actor Oscar.
Omar Sy, co-star of Intouchables (Untouchables), a feel-good comedy about a quadriplegic aristocrat and his home-help from the melting-pot Paris suburbs, was named best actor -- the first black actor to scoop a Cesar.
One of the most successful films in French history with 19 million viewers, the surprise hit from Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache made a star of Sy, in a country where nearly all leading film thespians are white.
French cinema has had a bumper year artistically and commercially, with 215.6 million cinema tickets sold in the country of 65 million in 2011.