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Huppert's 'Elle' tops 'French Oscars' list after Polanski row

media French actress Isabelle Huppert answers journalists' questions after receiving the "French cinema award" for her contribution for the image of the French cinema worldwide, on January 16, 2017 in Paris. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Rape thriller "Elle" starring Isabelle Huppert topped the nominations list Wednesday for the "French Oscars" - the Cesars - hit by controversy over the decision to ask Roman Polanski to preside at the awards.

The director of "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby" was forced to step down from the honorary role Tuesday after pressure from women's groups and parts of the French government over a child rape case that has haunted him for four decades.

"Elle", the story of a woman who turns the tables on her rapist so she can draw her own pleasure from him, won the Golden Globe for best foreign film earlier this month.

With 11 nominations, the film shares pole position at the Cesars with Francois Ozon's romantic drama "Frantz", set just after World War I when a young German women meets a mysterious Frenchman while visiting her fiance's grave.

Huppert -- who already holds the record for the most best actress nominations -- faces stiff competition from Danish actress Sidse Babett Knudsen, star of the TV series "Borgen" for her role in "La Fille de Brest".


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