Entire board behind the French Oscars to resign in protest over Roman Polanski nominations

Ben Arnold
·2-min read
An Officer and a Spy (Credit: Frenetic Films)
An Officer and a Spy (Credit: Frenetic Films)

The board which oversees the César Academy, which runs the César Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars or the BAFTAs, has said that it will resign ahead of this year's ceremony.

The mass resignation of the 21 members of the Association for the Promotion of Cinema is over Roman Polanski's movie An Officer and A Spy leading the nominations this year, according to Variety.

Read more: Outrage over Polanski nominations

In a statement, the board said that it was acting 'to honor all those who made [French] cinema in 2019, and to gain back some serenity and ensure that the celebration of cinema remains a celebration'.

In all, Polanski's film, which stars Jean Dujardin and Mathieu Amalric and is based on Robert Harris's novel of the same name, has received 12 nominations, including best film, and best director.

After the film swept the board in January, Alain Terzian, the head of the Césars, said that voters ‘should not take moral positions’ in matters of cinema.

FILE - In this May 2, 2018 file photo, director Roman Polanski appears at an international film festival, where he promoted his latest film, "Based on a True Story," in Krakow, Poland. The Paris screening of a new French-Italian film "An Officer and a Spy" is going ahead despite a new allegation that its director Roman Polanski raped a woman decades ago. The screening on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 will be attended by the film's crew. (AP Photo, file)
Roman Polanski (Credit: AP Photo)

Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, and fled the US soon after.

The director has since been accused by three other women of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The board also criticised the organisers of the awards for recently excluding prominent feminist voices such as director Claire Denis and writer Virginie Despentes from a recent gala event.

The group has said that it will resign after this year's ceremony takes place on 28 February, while there has also been talk of boycotts over gender and race disparity within the awards' voting body.

The French newspaper Le Monde published a petition earlier this week, signed by 400 people working in the movie industry, including high profile actors like Lea Seydoux and Omar Sy, and directors Michel Hazanavicius and Jacques Audiard, calling for the awards system to have a 'complete overhaul'.

An Officer and A Spy