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European Film Awards: Michael Haneke Sets Best Director Record + Annie Awards Bypass Blockbusters

European Film Awards Michael Haneke: Only 3-time Best European Director winner followed by AlmodóvarMichael Haneke at the 2012 European Film Awards. The story of an elderly couple facing illness and death, the German-French-Austrian co-production Amour was the top winner at this year's European Film Awards, collecting trophies in the following categories: Best European Film, Best European Director, Best European Actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant), and Best European Actress (Emmanuelle Riva). Veterans Trintignant and Riva, each one in movies for more than half a century, were first-time nominees/winners, but Michael Haneke is now a three-time Best European Director nominee/winner – a record. The German-born, Austrian-raised Haneke's previous nominations/wins were for another French-language drama, Caché / Hidden (2005), and for The White Ribbon / Das Weiße Band (2009), a stark, black-and-white drama set in pre-World War I Germany. To date, only one other filmmaker has taken home more than one Best European Director award: Pedro Almodóvar (Talk to Her, 2002; Volver, 2006).

'Amour' tops European Film Awards: Michael Haneke + veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant & Emmanuelle Riva win

Michael Haneke's Amour, a French-Austrian-German co-production about an elderly married couple coping with illness and encroaching death, was the top winner at the 2012 European Film Awards ceremony held on Dec. 1 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta.

Besides being voted Best European Film, Amour earned honors for Best Director Haneke, Best Actor Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Best Actress Emmanuelle Riva. (See further below the full list of the 2012 European Film Awards' winners and nominees.)

Neither first-time European Film Award nominee Jean-Louis Trintignant, active in movies since 1955 (Z, The Conformist, Three Colors: Red), nor fellow first-time nominee Emmanuelle Riva, active since 1958 (Hiroshima Mon Amour, Kapò, Therese), was able to attend the ceremony.

The 81-year-old Trintignant (82 next Dec. 11) is touring with a play. The 85-year-old Riva (86 next Feb. 24) has come down with the flu.

Trintignant sent in a video message thanking the European Film Academy, his wife, and those involved in the making of Amour. Riva, for her part, sent in an acceptance speech thanking Haneke for writing a strong role for an older actress, adding, “I am so proud to have done it right.”

Three-time Best Director European Film Award winner Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke, for his part, was present to pick up his third Best Director European Film Award from the hands of Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura and French actress Amira Casar, in addition to his first trophy as a producer of the Best European Film.

The 70-year-old Haneke had previously won Best Director honors for Hidden / Caché in 2005 and The White Ribbon in 2009. Hidden was also 2005's Best European Film, but that award went to producer Veit Heiduschka (who also co-produced Amour).

While accepting his Best Director award, Haneke declared he “would like to speak in my own language to maintain my own identity.” He then thanked his wife, Trintignant and Riva, and the others in the Amour crew. Yet, according to Screen Daily, when Haneke went back up on stage to accept the Best European Film Award, he said thank you in German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

Michael Haneke gets philosophical re: chicken eggs & mashed potatoes

As reported in The Guardian, Haneke – this year's Palme d'Or winner and next year's potential Oscar contender – later “dismissed interest in awards buzz and was courteously curt about the importance of any formal accolade. 'It's very pleasant. The respect of any viewer is important to me.' ” Haneke also opted not to discuss upcoming movie projects, for “you don't talk about eggs that have not yet fallen from the chicken.”

When asked if Amour had autobiographical elements, he later told Euronews: “I think you will find autobiographical traces in any film. That is legitimate. You've got to get inspiration from somewhere. But I do hate autobiographical films.”

And referring to global audiences' eagerness for glitzy but shallow fare – a Hollywood specialty – the German-born, Austrian-raised Haneke lamented, “If you serve someone mashed potatoes, it's possible he won't much like spinach.”

More European Film Award winners

Even though it topped the 2012 European Film Awards, Amour's victory wasn't a clean sweep. Haneke's drama had also been in contention for Best European Cinematographer (Darius Khondji) and Best European Screenwriter (Haneke).

The winners in these categories were, respectively, Sean Bobbitt for Shame, starring Michael Fassbender as a troubled man with a high sex drive, and Tobias Lindholm and Thomas Vinterberg for The Hunt, in which Mads Mikkelsen is a kindergarten teacher wrongly accused of being a child molester.

Shame took home a second European Film Award, for Best European Editor Joe Walker. Tomas Alfredson's spy drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy also won two trophies: for Best European Composer Alberto Iglesias and Best European Production Designer Maria Djurkovic.

The 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, and The Last Emperor filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci.

Helen Mirren, the absentee 2007 Best European Actress winner for The Queen, was in attendance to receive the Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema Award.

Tough competition

This year's European Film Awards competition seems to have been particularly prestigious. For instance, Jean-Louis Trintignant's Best Actor competitors were:

The Intouchables, The Hunt, and Shame were also shortlisted in the Best European Film category. Besides Amour, the other two titles were Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner Caesar Must Die, and Barbara, directed by Best Director Silver Bear winner Christian Petzold.

See below the full list of 2012 European Film Award winners and nominations.

Helen Mirren European Film Awards: Outstanding European Achievement in World CinemaHelen Mirren at the 2012 European Film Awards. The 2007 European Film Awards' Best Actress winner for her portrayal of the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears' The Queen, Helen Mirren was this year's recipient of the non-competitive Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema Award. Initially handed out to specific achievements in a particular year (e.g., Milos Forman for The People vs. Larry Flynt, Roman Polanski for The Ninth Gate), this honorary award has evolved into a “body of work” tribute – a sort of Lifetime Achievement Award for, more often than not, younger (or less elderly), still-active talent. Recent recipients include Mads Mikkelsen, Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Yared, Thomas Vinterberg, Lars von Trier, Michael Ballhaus, Maurice Jarre, and Liv Ullmann. For the record, in 2012 Helen Mirren was seen in Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock (as Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville) and István Szabó's The Door.

European Film Awards: Winners & nominations

Best European Film
* Amour.
Dir.: Michael Haneke.
Prod.: Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka & Michael Katz.

Barbara.
Dir.: Christian Petzold.
Prod.: Florian Koerner von Gustorf & Michael Weber.

Caesar Must Die.
Dir.: Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
Prod.: Grazia Volpi.

The Hunt.
Dir.: Thomas Vinterberg.
Prod.: Morten Kaufmann & Sisse Graum Jørgensen.

The Intouchables.
Dir.: Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano.
Prod.: Nicolas Duval Adassovsky, Yann Zenou & Laurent Zeitoun.

Shame.
Dir.: Steve McQueen.
Prod.: Iain Canning & Emile Sherman

Best European Director
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.
* Michael Haneke, Amour
Steve McQueen, Shame.
Thomas Vinterberg, The Hunt.
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Caesar Must Die.

Best European Actress
Émilie Dequenne, Our Children.
Nina Hoss, Barbara.
* Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Margarete Tiesel, Paradise: Love.
Kate Winslet, Carnage.

Best European Actor
François Cluzet & Omar Sy, The Intouchables.
Michael Fassbender, Shame.
Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt.
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
* Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour.

Best European Screenwriter
Amour, Michael Haneke.
Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu.
Carnage, Roman Polanski & Yasmina Reza.
* The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg & Tobias Lindholm.
The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano.

Carlo di Palma Award for Best
European Cinematographer

Amour, Darius Khondji.
Faust, Bruno Delbonnel.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Gökhan Tiryaki.
* Shame, Sean Bobbitt.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Hoyte Van Hoytema.

Best European Editor
Caesar Must Die, Roberto Perpignani.
The Hunt, Janus Billeskov Jansen & Anne Østerud.
* Shame, Joe Walker.

Best European Composer
The Angels' Share, George Fenton.
A Royal Affair, Cyrille Aufort & Gabriel Yared.
Shun Li and the Poet, François Couturier.
* Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias.

Best European Production Designer
Faust, Elena Zhukova.
A Royal Affair, Niels Sejer.
* Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Maria Djurkovic.

Best European Documentary
* Hiver nomade.
Dir.: Manuel von Stürler.
Prod.: Elisa Garbar & Heinz Dill.

London: The Modern Babylon.
Dir.: Julien Temple.
Prod.: Amanda Temple & Stephen Malit.

Le thé ou l'électricité.
Dir.: Jérôme Le Maire.
Prod.: Isabelle Truc, Isabelle Mathy & Khadija Alami.

Best European Animated Feature Film
* Alois Nebel, Tomás Lunák.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Peter Lord.
Wrinkles, Ignacio Ferreras.

European Discovery of the Year
Broken, Rufus Norris.
* Kauwboy, Boudewijn Koole.
Teddy Bear, Mads Matthiesen.
Twilight Portrait, Angelina Nikonova.
Die Vermissten, Jan Speckenbach.

Best European Short Film
L'Ambassadeur & moi, Jan Czarlewski.
The Back of Beyond, Michael Lennox.
Beast, Attila Till.
Demain, ça sera bien, Pauline Gay.
Einspruch VI, Rolando Colla.
How to Pick Berries, Elina Talvensaari.
In the Open, Albert Sackl.
Morning of Saint Anthony's Day, João Pedro Rodrigues.
Silent, L. Rezan Yesilbas.
* Superman, Spiderman or Batman, Tudor Giurgiu.
Titloi telous, Yorgos Zois.
Two Hearts, Darren Thornton.
Two Ships, Justine Triet.
Villa Antropoff, Vladimir Leschiov & Kaspar Jancis.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Bernardo Bertolucci.

Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema
Helen Mirren.

Prix Eurimages
Helena Danielsson.

People's Choice Award
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius.
Barbara, Christian Petzold.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, John Madden.
Caesar Must Die, Paolo & Vittorio Taviani.
* Come as You Are, Geoffrey Enthoven.
Headhunters, Morten Tyldum.
In Darkness, Agnieszka Holland.
The Iron Lady, Phyllida Lloyd.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Lasse Hallström.
Shame, Steve McQueen.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tomas Alfredson.
The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano

Young Audience Award
* Kauwboy, Boudewijn Koole.
Blue Bird, Gust Van den Berghe.
Sister, Ursula Meier.

European Film Awards website.

Michael Haneke and Helen Mirren European Film Awards 2012 photos: European Film Academy / Rene Rossignaud.

Kali the Little Vampire: National Film Board of Canada short up for Annie AwardsKali the Little Vampire. Surprisingly, a trio of domestic blockbusters have been left out of the running in the 2013 Annie Awards' eight-strong Best Animated Feature category: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. At the other end of the commercial spectrum, two animated shorts from the legendary National Film Board of Canada have been shortlisted: Patrick Bouchard's Bydlo and Regina Pessoa's Kali the Little Vampire. The former, as described on the National Film Board's website, is “an allegory of mankind heading for disaster”; one whose “ tragic vision” was inspired by the fourth movement of 19th century Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition.' ” The latter chronicles the emotional awakening of a sad vampire once he discovers that he can make a difference in the lives of other (non-blood-sucking) people.

Annie Awards: Every animated feature shortlisted – except for a trio of major blockbusters

The DreamWorks box office bomb Rise of the Guardians, the Walt Disney Studios' box office bomb Frankenweenie, the Sony Pictures hit Hotel Transylvania, the British-made The Pirates! Band of Misfits, the French-made The Rabbi's Cat, Focus Features' ParaNorman, and the Disney releases Brave (via Pixar) and Wreck-It Ralph – in other words, just about every animated feature released in the United States in 2012 – received Annie Award nominations for Best Animated Feature of the year.

Curiously, the low-budget, Franco-Belgian Zarafa failed to be included among the Annie Awards' eight Best Animated Feature contenders, but directors Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie found their way into the five-strong Directing in an Animated Feature Production shortlist. Go figure.

Bezançon and Lie's competitors are Genndy Tartakovsky for Hotel Transylvania; Johan Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux for The Rabbi's Cat; Rick Moore for Wreck-It Ralph; and Sam Fell and Chris Butler for ParaNorman.

Hayao Miyazaki & Catherine O'Hara up for Annie Awards

Among the notable names shortlisted in the Annie Awards' countless other categories are:

  • Music in an Animated Feature Production nominee Alexandre Desplat for Rise of the Guardians.
  • Production Design in an Animated Feature Production nominee Rick Heintzich for Frankenweenie.
  • Writing in an Animated Feature Production nominees Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, and Karey Kirkpatrick for From Up on Poppy Hill.

And in the Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production category:

Now, in all fairness, not every animated feature released in the U.S. in 2012 is up for a Best Animated Feature Annie Award. Somewhat surprisingly, these three blockbusters have been bypassed:

  • Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

So, does that mean the Annie Award voters are “out of touch” with movie audiences? Or are movie audiences out of touch with quality fare?

Well, that's a question for Nietzsche, or perhaps Nostradamus. But what we can tell you right here, right now, is that the venerated National Film Board of Canada nabbed two nominations in the Best Animated Short Subject category.

National Film Board of Canada nominees: 'Bydlo' and 'Kali the Little Vampire'

The two National Film Board of Canada Annie Award nominees are Bydlo and Kali the Little Vampire.

Inspired by Modest Mussorgsky's piano concerto “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Patrick Bouchard's Bydlo is described as “a visually arresting stop-motion rendering of the cycles of life, the power of man and beast, and the beauty and horror of labour.” Cynthia Tremblay penned the screenplay.

Directed by Regina Pessoa and narrated by Canadian-born Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner and The Sound of Music co-star Christopher Plummer (Beginners, 2011), Kali the Little Vampire tells the story of Kali (a little vampire), who “lives in the shadows and envies the other children's life in the sun. One day he breaks from his isolation and discovers that he can make a difference in others' lives.”

Walt Disney Studios & the Annie Awards

The 2012/2013 Annie Award winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the UCLA Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

The Walt Disney Studios and the Annie Awards' International Animated Film Society may have been at odds with one another in the past, but guess which studio is a “Platinum Sponsor” of the 40th Annie Awards?

 

Annie Awards website.

Bydlo info via the Toronto Film Festival.

Kali the Little Vampire info via the Uppsala International Short Film Festival.

Kali the Little Vampire image: National Film Board of Canada.


         
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