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Birth of the Academy

The “Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma” was created in 1975 on the initiative of Georges Cravenne.
It brings together professionals from the film industry and personalities who have chosen to come together in order to recall the eminently collective nature of film creation, and to draw the public’s attention to these professionals who, through the passionate and demanding combination of their skills, underpin the essential singularity of cinema film.

© Rindoff-Garcia-Bestimage

Georges Cravenne

To manage this Academy, Georges Cravenne created at the same time an association 1901, the Association for the Promotion of Cinema (APC). It brings together all the Oscar-winners in France and thirteen professional personalities from the film industry.

“The Oscars, I believe, were born in 1927. I was 13 at the time, and since that age (now very distant!) I have always been obsessed with the existence of this emblematic character, not of flesh and bones, but of bronze and gold, whose reputation was worldwide. Jealousy? Emulation?

Still, the idea of creating a French equivalent germinated in me, until the day when the name of my friend César, a sculptor of genius, imposed itself on me and his sculpture with him. Oscar, César, five letters that rhymed to such an extent that the birth of the second one had become obvious, for the greater good of the promotion of cinema, in Europe in any case.”

Georges Cravenne

The César

The “César” is the trophy awarded each year to the winners of the César Ceremony.
It is a personalised reproduction of the work or art specially created by the sculptor César at the request of Georges Cravenne, when the Academy was founded. César created a first version for the 1976 Ceremony, before completing the actual compression of the statuette for the 2nd Ceremony in 1977.
The César measures 30 cm and weighs about 3.7 kg.


April 3, 1976

The first César Ceremony takes place, under the presidency of Jean Gabin, at the Palais des Congrès. 13 César are awarded. This number has evolved over the years, with the creation of new trophies or the abandonment of some.


Creation of the “César for Best Short Film”.


Creation of the “César for Best First Fiction Work”, called since 2006 “César for Best First Film”.


Creation of the “César for Best Young Female Newcomer” and “César for Best Young Male Newcomer”, as a tribute to Romy Schneider and Patrick Dewaere. The notion of youth was removed from the name of these César in 2005, to celebrate the emergence of new talent rather than a notion of age.


Creation of 3 new César: “César for Best Costumes”, “César for Best French-language Film” which will be awarded only once, and “César for Best Advertising Film” awarded three years in a row, from 1985 to 1987.


Creation of the “César for Best Poster”. This César disappeared from the prize list in 1990.


Creation of the “César for Best Producer”, awarded in 1996 and 1997. The Daniel Toscan du Plantier Prize awarded by the Academy at the Producers’ Dinner is, since 2008, the statuette honouring all the work of the producers over the past year.


Creation of the “César for Best Film of the European Union”. It disappeared from the charts in 2006. It was also awarded in 1989 as “César for Best European Community Film”.


The Academy is broadening its scope of activities: in addition to the two founding actions that are the organization of the Voting and the Ceremony, it now also honors those who made the films of the year through the organization of specific events dedicated to these different “tribes” of French cinema.


Dissociation of the “Best Screenplay” and the “Best Adaptation”, after having been dissociated once in 1983 and regrouped again in 1986.
Creation of the “Revelations Project” highlighting emerging actors and actresses in French cinema.
Publication of the first book in the “Mémoire de César” collection, edited by Éditions de l’Œil, paying tribute to a winner from the previous year. The tenth and final book was released in February 2015.


Reintroduction of the “César for Best Documentary Film”, dedicated to feature films. It originally existed as the “César for Best Documentary Film”, mixing short and feature films, from 1976 to 1991, with an eclipse in 1987.
Creation of the Daniel Toscan du Plantier Prize rewarding the producer(s) who marked the film year.


Animation cinema is back in the charts, thanks to the “César for Best Animation Film”, which brings together short and feature films under the same distinction but with the delivery of two separate statuettes since 2014. The animated short film was rewarded from the first edition of the César, before experiencing an eclipse in 1987, to return to the prize list from the following year until 1991.
Creation of the César & Techniques Trophy, distinguishing a technical service company from the cinema sector in France. It was awarded during the César & Techniques Evening, which was created in 2010. During this evening, the César & Techniques Innovation Prize is also awarded today, highlighting a new product or service participating in the development of creation and the quality of distribution of cinematographic works.


Presentation of the 40th Anniversary Gold Medal. It was awarded to Luc Besson for his artistic and entrepreneurial contribution to French cinema over the past three decades. It is the first, and to date the only, Médaille des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma.
On the occasion of its 40th Ceremony, an exhibition entitled “Portraits of the Nominees” will be set up in February around the Saint Jacques Tower in Paris, next to the Théâtre du Châtelet, presenting all the nominees for the 2015 César in the form of large-format portraits.


Creation of the Audience César. Until 2019, it is awarded to the film occupying the first place in the French box office; from 2020, it is submitted to the vote of the members of the Academy among the first 5 films at the top of the French box office (the figures being stopped at midnight on the Tuesday before the Press Conference), among all the feature films admitted to compete for the “César for Best Film”.


Creation of the High School Students César. It is awarded a few days after the César Ceremony, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Youth, to the film that has received the highest number of votes, among the 7 films nominated for the “César for Best Film”, following the vote of a college of a maximum of 2,000 high school students previously designated by the Ministry of Education and Youth.

The Presidents of the Academy

  • Véronique Cayla

    from September, 29, 2020

  • © Denis Manin

    Margaret Menegoz

    from February 2020 to September 2020

  • Alain Terzian

    from 2003 to 2020

  • Daniel Toscan du Plantier

    from 1992 to 2003

  • Jean-Loup Dabadie

    from 1990 to 1992

  • Alexandre Mnouchkine

    from 1988 to 1990

  • Jeanne Moreau

    from 1986 to 1988

  • Robert Enrico

    from 1976 to 1986