The French Film Academy will present filmmaker David Fincher with its highest award, the César d’Honneur for lifetime achievement, at next year’s César awards, the French equivalent to the Oscars.
The director of Se7en, Fight Club, Gone Girl and The Social Network, and as director and producer of such ground-breaking television series as House of Cards, Mindhunter and Love, Death & Robots —all for Netflix —will be honored at the 48th César Ceremony in Paris on February 24. The show will be broadcast live on French pay-TV network Canal+
“David Fincher is one of those rare directors whose entire filmography has become iconic over the years,” the French academy said in a statement. “An outstanding technician, a true visionary, his cinema is hypnotic, cerebral, a source of inspiration for countless artists.”
Given Fincher’s close connection to Netflix, the honor could be read as an act of détente between the French academy and the streaming giant. Netflix has been a favourite punching bag for many in the French industry who blame declining box office on the rise of online viewing. France still has one of longest and strictest windowing structures in the world. Under current guidelines, films released in theatres typically have to wait 17 months before they can be streamed online. Netflix’s refusal to commit to theatrical releases for its movies in France led to it its movies being banned from competition in Cannes, France’s premiere film festival.
But there is arguably no director more closely associated with Netflix than David Fincher. In addition to his television work, Fincher directed 2020’s Mank for the streaming giant and his upcoming feature The Killer, starring Tilda Swinton and Michael Fassbender will also go out on Netflix worldwide.
The French academy’s announcement on Friday mentioned Fincher’s Netflix work but the streamer’s name was conspicuously absent from the release.