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EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS 2019

The Favourite conquers hearts at a politically engaged European Film Awards ceremony

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- Yorgos Lanthimos’ film has swept the awards, leaving little space for the other nominees to shine, with a few exceptions such as Antonio Banderas, Céline Sciamma and Les Misérables

The Favourite conquers hearts at a politically engaged European Film Awards ceremony
The crew of The Favourite on stage, collecting the European Film Award

Perhaps it should have been widely expected to see the “most” European film competing at the 32nd European Film Awards go home with so many prizes. The Favourite [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, directed by Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, an Irish-British-US co-production starring a largely English cast, won a total of eight awards at the ceremony, which took place at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in Berlin on Saturday 7 December. After dominating the craft categories with four awards (Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, and Hair & Make-up), the film saw producer Ed Guiney come up on stage on behalf of Lanthimos twice (for European Director and European Comedy), and to introduce a recorded message of thanks from Olivia Colman for her European Actress win.

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The film left little space for other candidates to make their mark, but still allowed for several surprises. One of the most moving moments of the otherwise refreshingly irreverent ceremony, presented with great enthusiasm by Anna Brüggemann and Aistė Diržiūtė, was Antonio Banderas’ European Actor win for his performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antonio Banderas
Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile
]
. Unable to attend, the actor, visibly moved, joined the ceremony via Skype and thanked the director.

Another great and rather unexpected win for Spain was in the European Animated Feature Film category, where Salvador Simó’s Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: José L…
film profile
]
beat Cannes contenders I Lost My Body [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jérémy Clapin
film profile
]
and The Swallows of Kabul [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbe-…
film profile
]
, as well as Annecy nominee Marona’s Fantastic Tale [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

The general strike in France prevented several winners from attending, such as Céline Sciamma, who won the European Screenplay Award for Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
and sent a heartfelt video encouraging young screenwriters and thanking European distributors for supporting films like hers. Her fellow French countrywoman Claire Denis, meanwhile, did make it to the ceremony, but without enough time to get her luggage, and apologised for not wearing anything fancier than her casually cool outfit of jeans and leather jacket, as she handed the European Achievement in World Cinema Award to friend and colleague Juliette Binoche. In her speech, the French actress encouraged young actors to be picky about the roles they take on, emphasising the responsibility of actors regarding what they bring to life on the screen. The responsibility of images is also at the heart of Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile
]
, which won the European Discovery - FIPRESCI Award.

The host country, Germany, had its own share of winners. Besides the already announced win of John Gürtler for European Original Score for System Crasher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nora Fingscheidt
film profile
]
, the nation was also honoured with a win for the inaugural European Achievement in Fiction Series Award, going to Babylon Berlin, which saw many of the show’s cast and crew take to the stage. But the longest and most lavish celebration was for Werner Herzog, who witnessed a live performance of a hilarious aria about his life and career in sound and pictures before European Film Academy president Wim Wenders sang him a short rendition of “Nothing Compares 2U” and handed him the Lifetime Achievement Award. Herzog thanked his producer Lucki Stipetić, and encouraged all those present to celebrate and defend the European Union for allowing films from small countries more visibility than they would otherwise have on their own. He also praised the European Union as the best peace project in the world, contrasting it with “silly attempts to create peace by putting flowers in rifles”.

This idea of Europe being an active and functioning agent for peace was vibrant throughout the evening, and never more so than when Mike Downey, newly elected chairman of the European Film Academy, invited Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov up on stage, having recently been released from prison in Russia after over five years. Downey took this opportunity to announce the creation by the European Film Academy, together with IDFA and IFFR, of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk, an organisation aimed at supporting filmmakers facing political persecution for their work. Thankfully, the announcement was not made anywhere near any of the regular mentions of Roman Polanski, nominated in several categories for An Officer and a Spy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
; mentions which received only muted claps from the audience and were preceded by an explanation from Downey early on in the evening, who said that, in light of recent allegations against the director, the academy was looking to “revise its disciplinary measures.”

A successful mix of serious engagement and irreverence, the ceremony also saw Polish filmmaker Paweł Pawlikowski receive his People’s Choice Award for Cold War [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile
]
with a humourous remark about how people have tended to make terrible choices recently. Edward Watts, who directed the European Documentary winner For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
together with Waad Al Khateab, said that the British team on the film was especially happy to win a European award whilst the country is in the midst of Brexit negotiations. Croatian producer Ankica Jurić Tilić, winner of the Eurimages Co-Production Award, similarly praised the European spirit of collaboration and tolerance, which she experiences every day in her work as a producer and co-producer.

Here is the full list of winners:

European Film
The Favourite [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Yorgos Lanthimos (Ireland/UK/USA)

European Documentary
For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
– Waad Al Khateab, Edward Watts (UK/USA)

European Comedy
The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos

European Director
Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite

European Actress
Olivia Colman – The Favourite

European Actor
Antonio Banderas – Pain & Glory [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antonio Banderas
Q&A: Pedro Almodóvar
film profile
]
(Spain)

European Screenplay
Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile
]
(France)

European Discovery - Prix FIPRESCI
Les Misérables [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile
]
– Ladj Ly (France)

European Animated Feature Film
Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: GoCritic! Interview: José L…
film profile
]
- Salvador Simó (Spain/Netherlands)

European Short Film
The Christmas Gift - Bogdan Mureşanu (Romania/Spain)

People's Choice Award
Cold War [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile
]
- Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland/UK/France)

European Cinematography
Robbie Ryan – The Favourite

European Editing
Yorgos Mavropsaridis – The Favourite

European Production Design
Antxon Gómez – Pain & Glory

European Costume Design
Sandy Powell – The Favourite

European Hair and Make-up
Nadia Stacey – The Favourite

European Original Score
John Gürtler – System Crasher [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nora Fingscheidt
film profile
]
(Germany)

European Sound
Eduardo Esquide, Nacho Royo-Villanova and Laurent Chassaigne – A Twelve-Year Night [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Álvaro Brechner
film profile
]
(Uruguay/Spain/Argentina/France/Germany)

European Visual Effects
Martin Ziebell, Sebastian Kaltmeyer, Néha Hirve, Jesper Brodersen and Torgeir Busch – About Endlessness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roy Andersson
film profile
]
(Sweden/Germany/Norway)

European Achievement in Fiction Series
Babylon Berlin

Eurimages Co-Production Award
Ankica Jurić Tilić

European Achievement in World Cinema
Juliette Binoche

Lifetime Achievement Award
Werner Herzog

(Watch the full ceremony below in case you missed it.)

 
 

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