The Best Newcomer awards at France's César were on Friday given to two black actors.
France's equivalent to the Oscars crowned Jean-Pascal Zadi and Fathia Youssouf as this year's rising stars during a ceremony at the Olympia on Friday evening.
Zadi, 40, is the author, co-director and lead actor of "Tout Simplement Noir" ("Simply Black"), a comedy that skewers racist clichés.
"Each generation must find its mission, accomplish it or betray it," Zadi said upon receiving his award, quoting the post-colonial thinker Frantz Fanon.
Youssouf, 14, was meanwhile consecrated for her role in "Mignonnes" ("Cuties"), a film about young girls from a Senegalese background growing up in Paris.
For the Césars, the flagship institution of French cinema, long undermined by accusations of inter-community relations and opacity, which ended up wrecked last year with the crowning of Roman Polanski, these awards highly symbolic.
Actor Roschdy Zem presided over the ceremony and opened festivities by stressing that "the profession is changing."
"The rules of the game are changing, not so that the game stops, but to play equally this time," he said.
The other big topic of the Césars was obviously the pandemic, which keeps cinemas closed, and has brought the industry to its knees.
"What we miss is what binds us together, the emotions that we experience together and that make us say that we are not quite alone (...) So yeah, we can't wait to see you again!", the mistress of ceremony, Marina Foïs, told viewers in her opening remarks.
In front of her, a half-empty Olympia hall, where only the nominees and a handful of other personalities were able to take their seats, for sanitary reasons.
Much awaited by frustrated professionals, who despair of obtaining any concrete prospect of reopening, the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot sent "a message of hope" upon her arrival.
"We are in the process of building with the industry the conditions for the reopening of cinemas," she said before entering the Olympia.
"We're going to see films again, the public is going to be there, the artists are going to be there, really," she added.