French's Oscars Slammed for Giving Roman Polanski Many Nominations
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However, the head of Cesars Awards defends the organization's decision as women's rights activists stress that the director, who fled to the U.S. after his rape conviction, should not be celebrated.

AceShowbiz - French feminists have attacked the Cesar Awards' voters after they gave exiled director Roman Polanski's new film 12 nominations at the country's equivalent of the Oscars.

The controversial filmmaker, who was convicted of statutory rape in the U.S. in 1977, became the toast of the French film industry on Wednesday morning (January 29), thanks to the success of his film "An Officer and a Spy".

However, women's rights activists are outraged the Polish-French filmmaker, who fled the U.S. after his rape conviction, is being celebrated.

Celine Piques, the spokeswoman for French feminist organisation Osez le Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist) told French TV channel LCI, "I am shocked. The 400 cinema professionals who voted for this nomination have applauded Polanski with 12 nominations - 12 is also the number of women today who accuse Roman Polanski of rape. This is not the field of morality, this is the field of justice."

But Alain Terzian, the head of the Cesars, has defended Polanski's nominations, insisting "moral positions" should not affect the awards.

In September (19), Polanski's latest film landed the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in Italy, two months before former actress Valentine Monnier accused the moviemaker of an "extremely violent" assault and rape in 1975, when she was 18.

Hers is the latest in a long line of sexual assault accusations against the director.

This isn't the first time Polanski has created controversy at the Cesars - in 2017, he was asked to head the award show's jury, but stepped down after a barrage of outrage.

Polanski confessed to having unlawful sex with Samantha Geimer, a minor, at a Hollywood party, and served 42 days in prison, but later fled the U.S. over concerns that a plea bargain deal would be scrapped.

He has evaded various extradition attempts over the years by U.S. authorities, who are still keen for Polanski to face justice on American soil.

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