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Kristen Stewart joins France’s cinema stars in running for César film award
France's own Oscars ceremony, the Césars, was to see the biggest and brightest stars of French cinema vie for the top awards on Friday evening. Duelling biopics, three 30-somethings and an American actress are in the running for a César award.
Bringing international attention to the ceremony this year is Twilight star Kristen Stewart.
The Franco-British actress has been nominated as best supporting actress for her role as a head-on-her-shoulders personal assistant in Olivier Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria.
In the best actor category, the nominations include two popular French actors playing the same real-life character in two different films on the life of late French couturier Yves Saint Laurent - Pierre Niney and Gaspard Ulliel.
Three young directors, all under 40, are in the running for a César, Thomas Cailley for Les Combattants, Thomas Lilti for Hippocrate and Céline Sciamma for Bande de filles.
They face stiff competition from the much-touted Timbuktu by Abderrhamane Sissako, a tale of life under religious extremists in Mali which has been nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar next month.
In France cinema continues to maintain a strong foothold in a country where the cultural and entertainment offer is high.
Some 210 million tickets were sold last year, up 10 per cent on the year before.