The César may be the most Oscar-equivalent honor on the French awards circuit, but arguably the most prestigious is the Louis Delluc Prize, established in 1937 and awarded annually by a jury of critics and industry figures to the film they deem the best French production of the year.
You need only look at the list of past winners to gauge the award's status. The very first winner was Jean Renoir, and it has since been presented to a veritable who's who of French auteurism: Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jean Cocteau, Louis Malle, Robert Bresson, Agnes Varda, Leos Carax, Jacques Audiard, Jacques Tati… and on and on.
Abdellatif Kechiche was already a member of the winners' club, having taken the award for “The Secret of the Grain” (aka “Couscous”) in 2007. And now he's taken a second, as Palme d'Or champ “Blue is the Warmest Color” beat a heavyweight field including Asghar Farhadi's “The Past,” Alain Guiraudie's “Stranger by the Lake” and Bruno Dumont's “Camille Claudel 1915” to this year's Delluc.
That makes Kechiche only the fifth two-time winner in the award's history, joining Resnais (the only three-time winner to date), Malle, Claude Sautet and Michel Deville. He was widely favored to triumph, though this is an award that frequently surprises — last year, Benoit Jacquot's costume drama “Farewell My Queen” trumped “Amour,” among others.
The Best First Film prize, meanwhile, went to Helier Cisterne's graffiti-culture coming-of-age tale “Vandal.”