UPDATE, WRITETHRU: Maren Ade’s father-daughter relationship dramedy, Toni Erdmann, scored a clean sweep at the European Film Awards tonight in Wroclaw, Poland. The movie, which is also Germany’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar, won in each of its categories: Best European Film, Director, Actor (Peter Simonischek), Actress (Sandra Huller) and Screenplay. In accepting the Film award, Ade noted this is the first time in EFA history that a movie directed by a woman has won the top prize.

european film awards
EFA

Other winners included Hannes Holm’s Swedish pic A Man Called Ove which won in the European Comedy race; Claude Barras’ My Life As A Zucchini from Switzerland in the Animated category; and The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki from Finnish helmer Juho Kuosmanen. Each of those films is the Oscar submission from their respective countries.

The European Film Awards have a pretty solid track record of mirroring the eventual Oscar winner in the Foreign Language race. Toni Erdmann’s wins tonight give the film further momentum. The FL shortlist will be revealed next week. Sony Pictures Classics has Toni Erdmann domestically, but saw its other contenders tonight, Elle and Julieta, walk away empty-handed.

But it wasn’t all about awards. During a lengthy ceremony that was heavy on politics, honorees consistently referred to the rising wave of right-wing nationalism spreading throughout the continent and filmmakers were encouraged to support a strong and unified Europe.

Early in the evening, host Maciej Stuhr noted that the European Film Academy was founded in 1989 when “filmmakers got together to stand for a united and free Europe which is what this academy still stands for.”

Chair of the EFA, Agnieszka Holland, didn’t make it to the ceremony but sent a note from the set of House Of Cards of which she’s been directing an episode. Seated in the show’s Oval Office, and flanked by two armed guards, she “refused to leave” the office until “peace is restored.” Speaking of the recent U.S. presidential election, Holland said, “The dark wind that blow across America and placed you-know-who in this office, it’s blowing across our countries as well… Our job just became far more important. Our work, out craft, our art can make a difference.”

Wim Wenders paid tribute to the recently deceased Polish master Andrzej Wajda. “He taught us the most important things are truth, freedom and solidarity.” Gianfranco Rosi, who won the prize for European Documentary with his Berlin Golden Bear winner Fire At Sea, said “We are dealing in a world where we are raising barriers. There are voices of intolerance and violence in a world where somehow countries forget the credits of history.”

Pierce Brosnan accepted an honorary statue for contribution to European cinema, saying, “There is always turbulence but I think now more than ever we need to come together as artists as filmmakers to really try and make sense of what is happening in our countries and our nations; we’ve been given that gift to do that. To all you young men and women out there, keep good strength, keep good faith; whatever the politics of your nation is, be true and make movies of the heart.”

oleg sentsov
Reuters

As with last year’s ceremony, there was a reminder from the European Film Academy, this time via a former member of Pussy Riot, of the plight of Ukranian director Oleg Sentsov who was convicted in 2015 of plotting terrorist attacks and sentenced to 20 years in a Russian prison. The EFA has been very vocal in the case and tonight shared a word from Sentsov which was read out: “We are not your weak point. If we are supposed to become nails in the coffin of tyrants, I’d like to become one. Just know this particular nail will not bend.” The audience then rose to honor him.

See below the original post for the full list of winners.

PREVIOUS: The 29th European Film Awards ceremony is getting underway this evening in Wrocław, Poland. The 2016 European Capital of Culture is playing host to the EFAs which are awarded by the European Film Academy. Maren Ade’s Cannes competitor — and Germany’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar — Toni Erdmann leads the nominations with five including Best European Film. Joining the dramedy in that race are Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake; Paul Verhoeven’s Elle; Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta; and Lenny Abrahamson’s Room which was not eligible in 2015.

The EFAs have been quite prescient in recent years when it comes to the outcome at the Academy Awards with such winners as Ida, The Great Beauty and Amour scooping prizes at both. Previously announced 2016 wins include three nods for Martin Zandvliet’s Danish film Land Of Mine. We’ll update tonight’s winners below as they are announced:

WINNERS
EUROPEAN FILM 2016
Toni Erdmann, dir: Maren Ade
Producers: Janine Jackowski, Jonas Dornbach, Maren Ade, Michel Merkt

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2016
Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann

EUROPEAN COMEDY 2016
A Man Called Ove, dir: Hannes Holm
Producers: Annica Bellander Rune, Nicklas Wikström Nicastro

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2016
Sandra Huller, Toni Erdmann

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2016
Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann

EUROPEAN DISCOVERY – PRIX FIPRESCI
The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki, dir: Juho Kuosmanen
Producer: Jussi Rantamäki

EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY 2016
Fire At Sea, dir: Gianfranco Rosi
Producers: Donatella Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi, Serge Lalou, Camille Laemle, Roberto Cicutto, Paolo Del Brocco, Martine Saada & Olivier Pere

EUROPEAN SHORT FILM 2016
9 Days – From My Window In Aleppo; dir: Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen, Issa Touma
Producer: Jos de Putter

EUROPEAN ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 2016
My Life As A Zucchini, dir: Claude Barras
Producer: Max Karli

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2016
Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2016
Body, dir: Małgorzata Szumowska

PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED
EFA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2016
Jean-Claude Carrière

EUROPEAN CO-PRODUCTION AWARD 2016
Leontine Petit

EUROPEAN SOUND DESIGNER 2016
Radosław Ochnio; 11 Minutes

EUROPEAN HAIR & MAKE-UP ARTIST 2016
Barbara Kreuzer; Land Of Mine

EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2016
Ilya Demutsky; The Student

EUROPEAN COSTUME DESIGNER 2016
Stefanie Bieker; Land Of Mine

EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER 2016
Alice Normington; Suffragette

EUROPEAN EDITOR 2016
Anne Østerud & Janus Billeskov Jansen; The Commune

EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER 2016
Camilla Hjelm Knudsen; Land Of Mine

EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA (Honorary Award)
Pierce Brosnan

HONORARY AWARD OF THE EFA PRESIDENT AND BOARD
Andrzej Wajda