Police and protesters clashed briefly outside the French “Oscars” ceremony on Friday evening as the Franco-Polish film director Roman Polanski was awarded the prize for best director for “Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu” (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), The Guardian reports.
Immediately after the announcement there was shouting and booing among the audience, and the two actors who announced the award quickly left the stage.
More than 100 angry protestors had gathered to demonstrate against the honour for the controversial director, who is still wanted in the US after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old but fleeing before being sentenced in 1977.
Even after Polanski announced he would not be attending the Césars awards ceremony for fear of what he described as a “public lynching”, protesters gathered outside the venue to vent their fury at his film J’Accuse/An Officer and a Spy being nominated for 12 awards.
The awards evening opened with the French actor and comedian Florence Foresti, who was hosting the event, announcing “Predators, producers, gentlemen with an electronic bracelet …”
Polanski’s film was given an early César for best costumes, but there was nobody from the production team to collect the prize. It won the second of its three awards for best adaptation.