Set at the height of the AIDS crisis, the French film 120 Beats Per Minute opened to critical acclaim last year, and landed on numerous top ten lists.
It was snubbed in the Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the Academy Awards earlier this month, but was was nominated for 13 César Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, including best director, best original screenplay, and best new male actor for both Nahuel Perez Biscayat and Arnaud Valois.
The World War I epic See You Up There followed with 12 nominations.
Incorporating director Robin Campillo’s own experience with ACT UP in the early 1990s, the film sees activists fighting to get French pharmaceutical companies to fast-track lifesaving AIDS medications. Against that backdrop, a romance blossoms between newcomer Nathan (Arnaud Valois) and Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), one of the more radical members of the group.
“I was a bit afraid of tackling this,” Campillo said at Cannes, where the film received the Grand Prix. “I just thought it was high time to deal with the topic.”
The 2018 Cesar Awards will be held in Paris on March 2, two days before the 2018 Academy Awards.