Julie Gayet had been widely expected to stay away from the Cesar Awards, the French version of the Oscars, despite her nomination for best supporting actress for her role in "Quai d'Orsay." She played a seductive aide at the French Foreign Ministry.
Gayet, apparently unaccompanied, joined French and American cinema luminaries who packed the elegant Chatelet Theater.
Best film went to "Les Garcons et Guillaume, a table!" (which translates as "Boys and William, come to the table") by Guillaume Gallienne, who took five awards for the comedy including best actor and best first film. The comedy explores a young homosexual man's relationship with his mother.
Roman Polanski won the Cesar for best director for "La Venus a la Fourrure" (Venus in Furs).
Best foreign film went to "Alabama Monroe (The Broken Circle Breakdown)" by Belgian Felix Van Groeningen, beating out films like "Gravity," "Blue Jasmine" and "Django Unchained."
Scarlett Johansson, who has been living in Paris, received an honorary Cesar for her life work.
Whether Gayet would make an appearance at the Cesars was the unanswered question until her surprise arrival, dressed in a sober but elegant pant suit.
A gossip magazine's revelation in January that Hollande was meeting secretly with Gayet —and which he never denied— ballooned into a national drama that drew international headlines. Hollande then publicly ended his relationship with long-time companion, Valerie Trierweiler.