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Twilight star Kristen Stewart has become the first American actress to win a Cesar award, the so-called French Oscars.

Kristen Stewart has won best supporting actress award for her role in film drama Clouds of Sils Maria.

Clouds of Sils Maria is the latest in a series of films featuring the California-born Kristen Stewart to earn critical acclaim.Kristen Stewart wins Cesar award 2015

The big winner of last night ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris was Timbuktu, which won seven awards including best film and director.

The movie depicts life in northern Mali under the control of Islamist militants, and is competing for best foreign film at Sunday’s Oscars.

Accepting the prize, Kristen Stewart shouted: “I love you Juliette” in French to her co-star Juliette Binoche.

She later paid tribute to French filmmakers.

There also was recognition for another American actor, Sean Penn, who got a lifetime achievement award.

In his acceptance speech, Timbuktu director Abderrahmane Sissako called France a “magnificent country” for its response to the deadly Islamist attacks last month.

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Juliette Binoche’s Nobody Wants the Night will open the 65th Berlin Film Festival on February 5.

Nobody Wants the Night, starring Juliette Binoche as an Arctic explorer, is one of 19 films vying for the Golden Bear, the festival’s top prize.

Other films in contention include Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as Gertrude Bell and Robert Pattinson as TE Lawrence.

Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of Cinderella – starring Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother – will screen out of competition, as will the long-awaited film adaptation of E.L. James’ best-seller 50 Shades of Grey.

Ian McKellen’s take on an ageing Sherlock Holmes will also play out of competition. Mr. Holmes, directed by Bill Condon, focuses on the enigmatic detective in retirement. Ian McKellen previously worked with Bill Condon on the 1998 film Gods and Monsters.

There will be a special gala screening of Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren as the late Maria Altmann, who successfully fought the Austrian government in her bid to reclaim the Gustav Klimt paintings stolen from her family by the Nazis.Berlin Film Festival 2015

Woman in Gold, directed by Simon Curtis, co-stars Ryan Reynolds, Katie Holmes and Daniel Bruhl.

Spanish director Isabel Coixet is only the second woman to open the festival and one of three female directors in competition at the Berlinale – Europe’s first major film event of the year.

This year’s competition selection is considered more populist than previous years. Two German film-makers who have found international success compete for the Golden Bear with their latest offerings.

Wim Wenders directs James Franco in Everything Will Be Fine, about a man who knocks down a child in his car and Oliver Hirschbiegel will be hoping to overcome the humiliation of his Princess Diana biopic with Elser – also known as 13 Minutes – about the man who tried to kill Hitler in 1939.

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups stars Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale in a story of disillusionment in Hollywood, while Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato follows Russian film-maker Sergio Eisenstein “who travels to Mexico filled with the hubris of being an internationally celebrated star director”.

Andrew Haigh directs Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years, about a long marriage challenged by an unexpected event.

From China comes Gone with the Bullets. Directed and starring Jiang Wen, the movie is the sequel to Chinese comedy hit Let the Bullets Fly. Dissident director Jafar Panahi will present Taxi, the Iranian third film since he was slapped with an official filmmaking ban in 2010.

This year’s Berlin Film Festival jury will be headed by director Darren Aronofsky.

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