Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Saturday, 28 February 2009

Actor Hoffman honoured at Cesars

Dustin Hoffman
Hoffman collected his award to a standing ovation

Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman has been honoured by the French film industry with a special Cesar award, France's equivalent of the Oscars.

The Rain Man star, 71, received the honour for his body of work.

The best film award went to Seraphine, the true story of a painter whose talents are discovered by a German art collector on the eve of World War I.

It also took six other prizes, including best actress Yolande Moreau, who played the title role.

The Cesar for best actor went to Vincent Cassel in Mesrine, one of three awards for the gangster film. The film's director, Jean-Francois Richet, also took the best director award.

Box office record

But popular French film Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis failed to win best original scenario - the only category it was nominated for.

The comedy, directed by comedian Dany Boon, which centres on the people of northern France, broke all records for a French film at the box office.

Boon had criticised the Cesar's failure to come up with a comedy category.

Two-time Oscar winner Hoffman received his special award the day after he was named an honorary commander in France's National Order of Arts and Letters.

Sean Penn, who won the best actor Oscar for Milk last Sunday, was also guest of honour at the Cesars.

He presented the best film award to Martin Provost for Seraphine. His own film, Into the Wild, missed out on the best foreign film award which went to the Israeli animated documentary Valse avec Bachir (Waltz With Bashir).

Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner Entre les murs (The Class) took home the Cesar for best adaptation.

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