Imitation of Life

A journal about film, music, literature and any other form of imitation of life. Seeing through a glass darkly…

The Ghost Writer leads European Film Awards with 7 Nominations

The excessive discretion with which the European Film Academy announces, hands out and publicises its annual Awards may be a token of good taste but hardly the best strategy for a trophy whose main goal is to increase the visibility of European film production.

The relative immaturity of the awards, the geographical instability of the location where the ceremony is held and the grimness of a show that is erratically broadcasted through Europe are all factors that have contributed to the lack of allure the Awards still have for the general audience.

Like every year, the European Academy has almost apologetically announced its Nominations for the 23rd European Film Awards.

The good news is that The Ghost Writer, one of my favourite films of the year, has received 7 nominations and is therefore the frontrunner for the Awards, which this year will be presented in Tallinn on December 4. Apart from the Best Picture nomination, The Ghost Writer has received nods for Ewan McGregor as Best Actor and for Roman Polanski for his directing and writing efforts.

The bad news is that Mike Leigh’s Another Year, in my opinion the best European film of the year, has been largely ignored by the Academy. Among the main categories only the great Lesley Manville has been recognised with a Best Actress nomination for her amazing turn as a middle aged wine addict. It was impossible to snub such a great performance. The fact that Mike Leigh is not nominated for his extraordinary work as director and writer is bad enough.

Moreover, it is a joke that Another Year doesn’t appear in the Best Picture list, while a pleasant but extremely uneven film like Soul Kitchen does. Fatih Akin might be a cooler name for the hipsters of the European Academy, but they should be aware of the fact that right now, in the year 2010, nothing is more revolutionary in European filmmaking that helming a really fine movie about an ageing couple and their troubled friends with nothing more than a good script, a bunch of extraordinary actors and four or five boxes of cheap wine.

Following a very European condescending tradition, the Academy does not distinguish between leading and supporting performances. I agree that a performance is not better or worse according to the screen time, but by doing so they simply prevent ten other performances (with the career changing effect that might have for the performers) from being recognised. This year, in particular, Olivia Williams should have been remembered for her subtle but amazing performance as a Cheri Blair look-alike

Given the lack of impact the European Awards have on its own, one may ask, what does this actually mean for the general 2010 award race?
The Ghost Writer has so far been ignored in any Oscar Predictions (except maybe mine), so the 7 nominations and the recent FIPRESCI Award as Best Film of the Year might boost its chances for the Oscars, although the personal upheaval Polanski has had this year might prove too big an obstacle to overcome in America.
On the other hand, is Another Year definitely dead for the Oscar race after this? I don’t think so. The film will be released in America in December, the best month for any film that wishes to get to the Oscars with the right amount of buzz and momentum. It might be hard to get a Best Picture or Director nomination, but the chances of Lesley Manville (once the category dilemma is resolved) and Leigh’s flawless script remain intact.

I’ll post an entry about my European Awards Predictions soon.
Here’s the complete list of Nominations:

BEST FILM 2010:

BAL (Honey), Turkey/Germany
DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (Of Gods and Men), France
THE GHOST WRITER, France/Germany/UK
LEBANON, Israel/Germany/France
EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (The Secret in their Eyes), Spain/Argentina
SOUL KITCHEN, Germany

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2010:
Olivier Assayas for CARLOS
Semih Kaplanoğlu for BAL (Honey)
Samuel Maoz for LEBANON
Roman Polanski for THE GHOST WRITER
Paolo Virzi for LA PRIMA COSA BELLA (The First Beautiful Thing)

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2010:
Zrinka Cvitešić in NA PUTU (On the Path)
Sibel Kekilli in DIE FREMDE (When We Leave)
Lesley Manville in ANOTHER YEAR
Sylvie Testud in LOURDES
Lotte Verbeek in NOTHING PERSONAL

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2010:
Jakob Cedergren in SUBMARINO
Elio Germano in LA NOSTRA VITA (Our Life)
Ewan McGregor in THE GHOST WRITER
George Pistereanu in EU CAND VREAU SA FLUIER, FLUIER (If I Want to Whistle,
I Whistle)
Luis Tosar in CELDA 211 (Cell 211)

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2010:
Jorge Guerricaechevarría & Daniel Monzón for CELDA 211 (Cell 211)
Robert Harris & Roman Polanski for THE GHOST WRITER
Samuel Maoz for LEBANON
Radu Mihaileanu for LE CONCERT (The Concert)

CARLO DI PALMA EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER AWARD 2010:
Giora Bejach for LEBANON
Caroline Champetier for DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (Of Gods and Men)
Pavel Kostomarov for Как я провел этим летом (How I Ended this Summer)
Barış Özbiçer for BAL (Honey)

EUROPEAN EDITOR 2010:
Luc Barnier & Marion Monnier for CARLOS
Arik Lahav-Leibovich for LEBANON
Hervé de Luze for THE GHOST WRITER

EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER 2010:
Paola Bizzarri & Luis Ramirez for IO, DON GIOVANNI (I, Don Giovanni)
Albrecht Konrad for THE GHOST WRITER
Markku Pätilä & Jaagup Roomet for PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (The Temptation
of St. Tony)

EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2010:
Ales Brezina for KAWASAKIHO RŮŽE (Kawasaki’s Rose)
Pasquale Catalano for MINE VAGANTI (Loose Cannons)
Alexandre Desplat for THE GHOST WRITER
Gary Yershon for ANOTHER YEAR

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