The management of the “French Oscars” has resigned en masse after weeks of controversy centred on director Roman Polanski, whose latest film leads nominations ahead of the 2020 awards ceremony.
- The resignations follow a backlash against 12 Cesar Awards nominations for An Officer and a Spy
- Polanksi launched his new film days after a French actress accused him of raping her
- The resignations come just two weeks before the award ceremony is held
The Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, features 12 nominations for Polanski’s film An Officer and a Spy.
Feminist groups have decried the nominations and called for a boycott of the film.
Dozens of film industry personalities — including X-Men actor Omar Sy and Berenice Bejo of the 2011 film The Artist — have denounced the academy’s “opaqueness” in an open letter.
In a statement announcing the resignations, the French film academy said: “To honour those who made films in 2019, to regain serenity and make the cinema festival a celebration, the board of directors of the [film academy] made a unanimous decision to resign.”
The resignations come just two weeks before the award ceremony is held.
Polanski launched his new film in France last year just days after a French actress accused him of having raped her in 1975, when she was 18 years old, during a ski holiday in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Eighty-six-year-old Polanski has denied the accusation.
The Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby director fled the United States for France in 1977 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
Polanski feared his deal with prosecutors would be overruled and he would get a lengthy prison term.
He was expelled from the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018 following a new code of conduct adopted by the academy in response to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct raised by the #MeToo movement.
An Officer and a Spy is the story of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French officer unfairly accused of spying for Germany in the 1890s.
Polanski won a best director Academy Award for his 2002 film The Pianist.