Roman Polanski’s César Awards nominations spark outrage

Polanski's film 'An Officer and a Spy' has been nominated for 12 awards at next month's ceremony

Roman Polanski’s multiple nominations at the upcoming César Awards 2020 have sparked condemnation, with the French film awards being criticised for honouring “an abuser and rapist on the run”.

Polanski was convicted in the US in 1977 after admitting the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl, but he fled to France from the US the following year while awaiting sentencing. He’s remained a fugitive from the US justice system ever since, despite repeated attempts to extradite him.

Polanski’s 2019 film An Officer and a Spy — titled J’accuse in French — has been nominated in 12 categories at this year’s César Awards, which are seen as the French equivalent of the Oscars.

These nominations for Polanski have been met with outrage from campaign groups. Osez Le Féminisme were among those to publicly criticised the César Awards, asking “have we learned nothing from #MeToo?”

“When in the US, [Harvey] Weinstein is risking life in prison, when in France Adèle Haenel breaks the omerta on the impunity of rapists in cultural life, the Césars acclaim a child abuser and rapist on the run?” the organisation tweeted.

Speaking to the French TV channel LCI, Osez le Féminisme spokeswoman Céline Piques said she was “shocked” by the César Awards’ decision to nominate Polanski.

“The 400 cinema professionals who voted for this nomination have applauded Polanski with 12 nominations – 12 is also the number of women today who accuse Roman Polanski of rape. This is not the field of morality, this is the field of justice.”

The César Awards’ Alain Terzian defend the Polanski nominations, arguing that the prize-giving organisation “should not take moral positions” in giving awards.

An Officer and a Spy received no Oscar nominations, which take place on February 9.

The César Awards will be held in Paris on February 28.