President's lover Gayet at French film awards

Posted at 03/01/14 11:14 AM

PARIS - Julie Gayet, the woman outed as French President Francois Hollande's lover, made her first high-profile appearance since news of the affair broke when she arrived Friday at France's top film awards.

Gayet, 41, wearing a black trouser suit with her long hair loose over her shoulders, arrived alone for the Cesars, France's Oscars, at the Chatelet Theatre in central Paris.

The actress, who lost out on a Best Supporting Actress award, had kept a low profile since glossy magazine Closer published a series of photos showing Hollande, 59, and Gayet arriving separately for trysts at a flat close to the presidential Elysee Palace in January.

The revelations prompted an end to Hollande's long-term relationship with Valerie Trierweiler, 48, the country's de-facto first lady.

Gayet's appearance came just hours after Trierweiler also stepped out of the shadows for the first time in weeks when she appeared in the front row at a Dior catwalk show as part of Paris fashion week.

The twice-married journalist smiled for photographers as she left the show at Paris's Rodin Museum before hopping on the capital's Metro to go home.

Gayet had been nominated at the Cesars for her role as a mini-skirted ministerial adviser and seductress in Bertrand Tavernier's "Quai d'Orsay", a comedy about life at the French foreign ministry, but lost out to actress Adele Haenel for the film "Suzanne".

In the run-up to the awards organisers had refused to be drawn however on whether she would be present or not and the actress skipped a traditional pre-ceremony dinner for nominees.

Quentin Tarantino and Scarlett Johansson were also at Friday's awards, held two days before the US Oscars.

The "Django Unchained" director handed Johansson, 29, an honorary award in recognition of a career in which she has already made 35 films.

The actress, who is engaged to a French journalist, was given a warm reception despite going on US television last month to declare that Parisians lived up to their rude stereotype.

Best film at the awards went to Guillaume Gallienne's "Les Garcons et Guillaume, a table!" ("Me, Myself and Mum"), an offbeat coming-out comedy, while Roman Polanski won best director for "Venus in Fur", an edgy drama adapted from the stage about sexual role-play.

"Broken Circle Breakdown", by Belgian director Felix van Groeningen, meanwhile, was named Best Foreign Film. The film about a man and a woman who fall in love and face tragedy when their daughter is diagnosed with cancer is up for an Oscar in the same category.

Best actress, presented by Jeremy Irons, went to Sandrine Kiberlain for "9 Mois Ferme", while Gallienne was also named best actor for "Les Garcons et Guillaume, a table!".

The biggest loser of the night was lesbian love movie "Blue is the Warmest Colour" which scooped the Palme d'Or in Cannes last year and had led the race at the Cesars.

The movie about an art student and her intense erotic relationship with a younger girl was nominated in a string of categories including Best Picture and Best Director for the French-Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche but came away with only a best Newcomer award for one of its young stars Adele Exarchopoulos.

The highly-charged movie's sensational welcome last year was tarnished by a public row between the director and his two leading ladies, Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux, notably over the filming of graphic sex scenes.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse