The Oscar-nominated "A Prophet" swept the 35th annual Cesar Awards on Saturday in Paris, winning nine of its 13 races, including best film, best director and best actor for Tahar Rahim, who also picked up the male newcomer award. Jacques Audiard's grim prison drama lost the Palme d'Or at Cannes to Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon," which is also contending in the foreign language film race at the Oscars.
Niels Arestrup took supporting actor for "A Prophet," which also won original screenplay, editing, production design and cinematography. In accepting his directing prize, Audiard thanked the former prisoners who appeared in the film. "We had a really exceptional cast of extras.They forced us to do something exceptional," he said.
Gallic favorite Clint Eastwood won the foreign language film award for "Gran Torino." The ceremony also included a tribute to Eric Rohmer, the pioneer of the French New Wave, who died in January at age 89.
Photo: "A Prophet" movie poster. Credit: Sony Pictures Classics