Abdellatif Kechiche's romance drama "Blue Is The Warmest Color" ("La vie d'Adele") won the Louis Delluc prize, a prestigious French film award voted on by 14 top critics.

"Blue" beat out such strong contenders as Albert Dupontel's dark comedy "Nine-Month Stretch" ("Neuf mois ferme"), Juliette Binoche starrer "Camille Claudel 1915," directed by Bruno Dumont, Emmanuelle Bercot's "On My Way" with Catherine Deneuve, Arnaud Desplechin's English-language drama "Jimmy P." with Benicio Del Toro, as well as Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" starring Berenice Bejo and Francois Dupeyron's "My Soul Healed By You."

"Blue," set to compete at the Golden Globes in the foreign-language category, depicts the life-changing and passionate romance between two young women, Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Lea Seydoux).

On top of winning the Palme d'Or in Cannes, "Blue" won prizes at the British Independent Film Awards and New York Film Critics Circle. Exarchopoulos and Seydoux have also won a flurry of accolades, including the Palme d'Or which was exceptionally given to both Kechiche and the two leads by Steven Spielberg's Cannes jury.

"Blue" was co-produced and repped in international markets by Wild Bunch. Sundance Selects released it the U.S. on Oct. 25.

Headed by Cannes film festival prexy Gilles Jacob, the Louis Delluc jury handed out the first film nod to Helier Cisterne's coming-of-age drama "Vandal."

"Vandal" is a surprise winner. Guillaume Gallienne's hit crowdpleaser "Me, Myself and Mum," which won two prizes at Directors' Fortnight, was best-positioned to snatch up the nod for best directorial debut.

The Louis Delluc ceremony kicks off France's awards season. The Cesar awards, Gaul's equivalent to the Oscars, will take place on Feb. 28. Nominations will be unveiled on January 31.

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