AFP

PARIS

A film about France’s late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and another about a Malian family struggling under militant tyranny are leading the race for France’s top movie awards to be handed out next month, the organisers said Wednesday.

‘Saint Laurent’ and ‘Timbuktu’ are among five French-produced films vying for the best picture trophy at the Cesar awards, which are announced in Paris on February 20, just two days before the Oscars ceremony in the United States.

The Cesars field for the best foreign picture notably includes the Belgian movie ‘Two Days, One Night’, with a Best Actress nomination for its French star Marion Cotillard - who is in the running for a best actress Oscar.

Other contenders in that Cesars category are the American movies ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Boyhood’ - both of which are also vying for the Oscar best picture statuette. Other Cesar best foreign picture nominations are last year’s Oscar best picture winner ‘12 Years a Slave’, as well as last year’s Cannes film festival winner from Turkey, ‘Winter Sleep’. The acclaimed Polish movie ‘Ida’ (also an Oscar best foreign language nomination, along with ‘Timbuktu’) and Canadian drama ‘Mommy’ round out the list. The Cesars ceremony will additionally hand out an honorary award to Sean Penn, the intense American actor who won Oscars for his roles in ‘Milk’ and ‘Mystic River’.