France’s César Academy Board Quits En Masse Amid Polanski Row

The entire board of the César Academy, which distributes France’s equivalent of the Oscars, has resigned amid a wave of criticism of its nomination for 12 awards for a film by Roman Polanski.

The decision to honour Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy has angered feminist groups and led to calls for a boycott.

The Polish-French director has been wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since the 1970s.

Hundreds of actors, producers and directors have also called for reform.

In an open letter this week, they denounced “dysfunction” at the César Academy and opacity in its management.

The César Academy’s decision to step down en masse came as a shock ahead of the glittering 45th awards ceremony in Paris, which is to be held on 28 February.

In a statement on Thursday night, the academy said the board had “unanimously decided to resign” to “honour those men and women who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of film remains just that, a festival”.

“This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board,” it added.

A general meeting is set to be held after this month’s ceremony to elect a new board, which will look at implementing reforms and modernising the institution.

Culture Minister Franck Riester said the César Academy must operate democratically, in the spirit of “openness, transparency, parity and diversity”.

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