Paris (AFP)

A sentimental comedy, an initiatory gay romance and absurd humor: the latest films by directors Emmanuel Mouret, François Ozon and Albert Dupontel form the top trio of the 2021 César nominations.

Emmanuel Mouret is in the lead at the end of this preliminary round, with his new exploration of romantic feelings "The things we say, the things we do", 13 nominations, announced Wednesday the Academy.

The tenth feature film by the 50-year-old director is a hair's breadth ahead of the gay romance "Summer 85" by François Ozon, a filmmaker often named but never awarded, and the comedy "Adieu les Cons" by a king of humor stripper, Albert Dupontel, 12 nominations each.

After a very special year, marked by months of cinemas closed due to a pandemic, the 4,292 members of the Academy had to make their choice from among 125 films which managed to come out despite everything.

Just over half of them (54.9%) voted.

The three leading feature films are nominated in the queen category of "best film", alongside two others: the comedy "Antoinette in the Cévennes" by Caroline Vignal and the documentary "Adolescentes" by Sébastien Lifshitz, which won at the end of January the Louis-Delluc Prize, considered the Goncourt of cinema.

Also very scrutinized, the categories best actress and best actor allow in particular Camélia Jordana and Niels Schneider for the film of Emmanuel Mouret, Virginie Efira and Albert Dupontel for "Adieu les Cons", Laure Calamy for "Antoinette" or Lambert Wilson for " De Gaulle "to hope for a reward.

The members of the Académie des César, a flagship institution of French cinema profoundly renewed this year after being shaken in 2020 by a historic crisis, now have until March 12 to designate the winners of the most prestigious cinema prizes.

The ceremony will then take place at the Olympia, the same evening, under the presidency of Roschdy Zem, with Marina Foïs as mistress of ceremony, Laurent Lafitte and Blanche Gardin writing the sketches.

© 2021 AFP