UPDATE, 12:55 PM PT: Pawel Pawlikowski’s Polish drama Ida took the Best European Film prize at the European Film Awards tonight in Riga, Latvia. The movie also won for Best Director, Cinematographer and Screenwriter, as well as being the People’s Choice honoree; missing out only in the Best Actress category. The European Film Awards have become something of a harbinger for what’s to come later in the season. The last two years’ winners — The Great Beauty and Amour — went on to scoop the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It’s undeniable that Ida has a lot of heat on it, but tonight’s wins don’t make Academy glory a foregone conclusion — there are also a lot of other contenders from outside Europe.
Pawlikowski’s black-and-white shot Ida follows a young woman who is about to take her holy orders to become a nun when she discovers she has a living relative she must visit before taking the vows. Her aunt informs her that she is in fact Jewish and the two embark on a voyage of discovery of each other and their past.
Other films honored tonight included Steven Knight’s Locke with the editing prize, the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night for star Marion Cotillard and Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner which won Timothy Spall the Best Actor nod, even though he wore his “silly shoes” to the ceremony.
Regardless of whether the Oscars take a nod from this kudofest to crown the same winner, they might want to take a bit of a lesson. The EFA show has previously been overlong, but this year was a swift run around the table with new emcee — German TV host, author and director Thomas Hermanns. He opened the proceedings proclaiming, “I am a German openly gay comedian… Thanks for the pity… Other countries not far from here could put me directly in jail. So I am very happy to be on this side of the Russian-Latvian border,” he said to laughs before offering up his “full-hosting” services for the night. Those included being able to bring “beer, cigarettes, drugs” to anyone in the audience. He later did so, to a point, delivering champagne, beer and water to attendees. Agnieszka Holland refused an offer of vodka, unless it was Polish (she got it in the end). Then again, it was pretty harsh that a representative of each of the Best European Film nominees (Ida, Force Majeure, Leviathan, Nymphomaniac Director’s Cut – Volume I & II and Winter Sleep) was called to the stage just ahead of the winner being divulged and handed an envelope with only one holding the golden ticket. Below is the full list of golden-ticket holders tonight in Riga:
Ida, dir: Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland)
European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement
The Mafia Only Kills In Summer, dir: Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Italy)
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night (Belgium)
People’s Choice Award
Ida, dir: Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland)
Pawel Pawlikowski, Ida (Poland)
Justine Wright, Locke (UK)
Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida (Poland)
European Costume Designer
Natascha Curtius-Noss, The Dark Valley (Austria/Germany)
European Production Designer
Claus-Rudolf Amler, The Dark Valley (Austria/Germany)
Mica Levi, Under The Skin (UK)
European Sound Designer
Joakim Sundström, Starred Up (UK)
Timothy Spall, Mr Turner (UK)
European Co-Production Award 2014 – Prix Eurimages
European Animated Feature Film
The Art Of Happiness, dir: Alessandro Rak (Italy)
Master Of The Universe, dir: Marc Bauder (Germany/Austria)
Pawel Pawlikowski, Rebecca Lenkiewicz – Ida (Poland)
European Achievement in World Cinema
European Short Film
The Chicken, dir: Una Gunjak (Germany/Croatia)
European Discovery – FIPRESCI Prize
The Tribe, dir: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky (Ukraine)
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