Entire board of the 'French Oscars' quits two weeks ahead of gala ceremony following outrage over Roman Polanski award nomination


The entire board of the 'French Oscars' has resigned just two weeks ahead of the gala ceremony amid an angry row over Roman Polanski's inclusion. 

The Cesar Academy has come under fire after Polanski's new film An Officer And A Spy topped the list of nominations. 

Polanski has been wanted in the US since 1978 for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl and is shunned in Hollywood. 

He launched the new film in France last year just days after a French actress accused him of raping her during a ski holiday in 1975, when she was 18.  

Roman Polanski (pictured) has been wanted in the US since 1978 for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl and is shunned in Hollywood 

'To honour those men and women who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of film remains just that, a festival, the board has unanimously decided to resign,' the Cesar Academy said in a statement. 

'This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board,' it added.

The inclusion of Polanski's film on the Cesars' shortlist has been condemned by France's equality minister, women's groups and film critics.  

A number of feminist groups have urged Cesar voters to snub Polanski's film, which is about the Dreyfus affair of the 1890s. 

'When we mobilise, things happen!', said feminist collective Nous Toutes amid calls for a protest outside the Paris auditorium.  

Another group, Osez Le Feminisme, said: 'Imagine what's next. A new voting panel without male self-confidence, opacity and sexism. 

'Will we finally stop applauding rapists and paedophiles on the run?' 

The Cesar Academy has said it could not be expected to take 'moral positions' when evaluating films.    

More than 200 actors, producers, directors and movie personalities had denounced the 'dysfunction' at the academy in an open letter on Wednesday. 

A Cesar Award trophy is displayed in Paris last month. The whole board of the academy has now resigned 

They also complained that the founding statutes of the Cesars had not changed in a long time and that the academy's nearly 5,000 members have no say in decision. 

The Cesar Academy said it would ask the government-backed National Centre for Cinema to appoint a mediator to oversee 'deep reform'. 

The academy had previously announced measures to boost female representation in its membership and representation. 

The ceremony takes place in Paris on February 28.  

Polanski, now 86, fled the United States after pleading guilty in 1977 to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

His history has come under renewed scrutiny since the start of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment in 2017. 

Last year a French actress accused him of raping her in 1975 during a ski holiday in Gstaad, Switzerland. He denies this. 

Polanski was expelled from Hollywood's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, in 2018.