Du Palmarès César et de la Palme d’or

Du Palmarès César et de la Palme d’or

dew pahl-mah-RESS say-ZAAR aid lah PALM DORE.

About the César Awards and the Golden Palm.

Do you know the difference? La Palme d’or is awarded to the top film of the year at the Festival de Cannes. The award itself, a palm branch made of gold, has been redesigned a number of times over the years. Unlike the Oscars, there is only one Palme d’or each year, although there are a few other categories such as la Palme d’or du court métrage (short feature) and la Caméra d’or (Golden Movie Camera, for the best first film).

The source of the design (and the name) is the coat of arms of the city of Cannes, which displays a silver palm branch and a couple of fleur-de-lys (fluhr duh LEE, lily flowers). Since Cannes is situated on the Mediterranean coast, palm trees are a prominent feature of the landscape. This year’s Festival de Cannes will take place du 12 mai au 23 mai 2010.

And le Palmarès César? These awards are the equivalent of the American Oscars, awarded at the end of February every year. Yes, there’s a statue,  designed by the French sculptor César Baldaccini. And there are many César awarded (best film, best actress, best actor, best screenwriter, and so on–all words we can look at some other day!). Le  Palmarès actually means the list of awards, which explains why it is singular instead of plural.

If you want to talk about “the Césars” in French, you have to say les César. That’s the rule for talking about the plural of a name: so my family are les Hoffman.

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