Stewart took home the French honour for her supporting role in “Clouds of Sils Maria,” directed by Olivier Assayas, which premiered at Cannes last year.
The film is one of the most meta, layered films on this year’s festival circuit. Not only is the story about a revival of a play within a movie, but the casting itself plays a big part in how we perceive the characters. Assayas’s film follows Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche), a famous French actress whose big break was playing the young lead role in a play 20 years prior.
Kristen Stewart, though, embodies the fascinating real-life connections. Multiple instances in the film wink at the actress’ celebrity status and some prior scandals. In one scene, Valentine asks Maria whether the actress had a romantic affair with the play’s director when she was younger. “You wouldn’t understand,” Maria says to Valentine. But the audience might: Stewart had a highly-publicised affair with filmmaker Rupert Sanders while the director was still married.
The César Award, the national film award of France first awarded in 1976, is supported by the French Ministry of Culture. Stewart’s winning marks the first time in 30 years that an American has been nominated for.