Actor George Clooney and his wife Amal pose as they arrive at the 42nd Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris, France.
Actor George Clooney and his wife Amal pose as they arrive at the 42nd Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris, France.

Actress Isabelle Huppert and her hit thriller "Elle" were the big winners late on Friday at the "French Oscars" - the Cesar Awards. But the ceremony was hit also by a politically-charged speech of Hollywood star George Clooney.

Clooney warned that freedom has to be defended in the face of Donald Trump's US presidency.

"Courage trumps fear. Right always trumps might," the American actor said before quoting war reporter Edward F Morrow's famous condemnation of the McCarthyite Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s.

"Let's not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must not walk in fear of one another, we must not be driven by fear into an age of unreason," he said.

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

"We have to work harder not to let hate win," he said while his wife Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer, was watching him.

Clooney who received an honorary Cesar was a supporter of Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

" Elle"

Actress Isabelle Huppert holds her trophy after receiving the Best Actress Award for her role in the film
Actress Isabelle Huppert holds her trophy after receiving the Best Actress Award for her role in the film "Elle" at the 42nd Cesar Awards ceremony in Paris. (AP)

"Elle", directed by Paul Verhoeven, won the Best Film and Huppert, 63, received the Best Actress Award for her role in the film.

Huppert's mesmerising performance in such a slippery and morally complex story has won her some of the best reviews of her career, and made her one of the favourites for the best actress Oscar on Sunday.

In an interview at the Cannes film festival last year, Huppert said the role was "fantastic".

A subversive thriller is about a woman who not only takes revenge on her rapist but holds him in her power.

Another French Oscar contender, "My Life as a Zucchini" ("Ma Vie de Courgette"), won best-animated film.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies