PARIS: Hollywood actor and director Kevin Costner was on Friday honoured with a lifetime achievement award at France's annual film awards, the Cesars, at which “Camille Rewinds” and the much feted “Love” are the favourites.
A two-time Oscar winner for the 1990 hit “Dances with Wolves”, Costner, 58, was visibly moved by the standing ovation he received as he accepted his honorary Cesar.
In addition to “Dances with Wolves” for which he won best picture and best director Oscars, Costner has starred in a string of box office successes including “Field of Dreams”, “The Untouchables” and “The Bodyguard” with the late Whitney Houston.
“I love the process that goes into making films... they remind us of what it means to be a hero, that heroes don't always win,” he told a star-studded audience at the ceremony in Paris.
The first major award of the night to be announced - best foreign film - went to Ben Affleck's “Argo”. Affleck, who directed and starred in the film, was not at the ceremony.
Noemie Lvovsky's “Camille Rewinds” (“Camille Redouble”), about a woman who goes back to her 1980s schooldays, began the evening with 13 nominations compared to 10 for Michael Haneke's “Love” (“Amour”), the story of a man and his dying wife.
Since winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, Austrian director Haneke's French language film has gone from strength to strength with a Golden Globe in January for best foreign language film and five nominations in Sunday's Oscars.
Starring French acting legend Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, who at 85 is the oldest actress to pick up a best actress Oscar nomination, it beat 21 other movies to claim the top prize at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Haneke, 70, has established himself in recent years as one of the most important film directors in Europe, with films like “The Piano Teacher”, “Cache” and “Funny Games.”If Lvovsky wins best director for her surprise time travel hit in which she also stars, she would be only the second woman to win after Tonie Marshall for “Venus Beauty Institute” in 2000.
Another strong contender at the awards is Benoit Jacquot's “Farewell, My Queen” (“Les Adieux a la Reine”), a fictional account of the last charmed days of Marie Antoinette, with 10 nominations.
Jacques Audiard's “Rust and Bone also has nine nominations including best actress for Marion Cotillard.
Others supplying the competition in the best film category include: the thriller “In the House” (“Dans la Maison”) in which Francois Ozon explores the perils of a teacher getting too close to one of his students; the comedy “What's in a Name?” (“Prenom”) by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere about a group of 40-something friends' dinner party disaster; and Leos Carax's fantasy drama “Holy Motors” about a man living parallel lives.