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'Melancholia' Tops European Film Awards + Lars von Trier Bypassed

Melancholia Lars von Trier Alexander Skarsgård Kirsten Dunst Charlotte Gainsbourg
Alexander Skarsgård, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia

Lars von Trier may have made some new enemies at this year's Cannes Film Festival, but he surely still has a number of friends and admirers at the European Film Academy. Von Trier's apocalyptic family drama Melancholia, starring EFA Best Actress nominees Kirsten Dunst (now also a German citizen) and Charlotte Gainsbourg, was the Best Film winner at the 2011 European Film Awards, held in Berlin this evening. Melancholia also won EFA Awards for Best Cinematography (Manuel Alberto Claro) and Best Production Design (Jette Lehmann). [Full list of 2011 European Film Award winners.]

“I don't have a message from Lars for you because he has stopped making public statements. I can't imagine why,” said one of Melancholia's producers while accepting the award. Von Trier's “I feel for Hitler” joke at a press conference in Cannes was perceived as anti-Semitic by some. As a result, the director was officially banned from the festival. Danish police, on behalf of French authorities, later questioned him as well.

Now, the European Film Academy's admiration for Lars von Trier stopped short of a Best Director Award. Unlike fellow controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski, whose The Ghost Writer won EFA's Best Film and Best Director honors last year, von Trier lost the Best Director Award to fellow Dane Susanne Bier for A Better World.

But wait … Wasn't A Better World in competition last year? Nope. You're thinking of the Academy Awards. Due to its funky release schedule regulations, the European Film Awards are oftentimes behind the Academy Awards. Earlier this year, A Better World was the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar winner.

Also earlier this year, Colin Firth was the Oscar winner for Best Actor for his performance in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. I thought Jean Dujardin was going to take home the European Film Award for The Artist – currently one of the most talked-about films and performances – but no, as enough EFA members opted instead for last year's hit in both the Best Actor and Best Editing (Tariq Anwar) categories. In fact, enough European filmgoers also went for The King's Speech, which nabbed the People's Choice Award. Colin Firth wasn't around to pick up his trophy.

Now, in addition to Melancholia, did any news movies win any EFA Awards? Oh, yes. Tilda Swinton, whose We Need to Talk About Kevin was shown at the Cannes Film Festival (but not much elsewhere thus far), was the Best Actress winner. (In Cannes, Kirsten Dunst came out victorious.) In Lynne Ramsay's drama, Swinton plays the mother of a youthful mass murderer. Much like Firth, Swinton was also absent from the EFA ceremony. We Need to Talk About Kevin opens in Los Angeles and New York on December 9.

Stephen FrearsThe Artist, a favorite for the 2012 Oscar, won a single EFA Award: Best European Composer, Ludovic Bource, who thanked the film's perky dog, Uggie, for providing the necessary inspiration. Writer-director Michel Hazanavicius wasn't even nominated; star Jean Dujardin lost to Colin Firth.

Other EFA 2011 winners include Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's screenplay for The Kid with a Bike; Wim Wenders' documentary Pina, Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal, and Fernando Trueba's bolero-rhythmed animated feature and potential Oscar contender Chico & Rita; Terry Gilliam's short The Wholly Family, about an American family visiting Naples; and Hans Van Nuffel's Dutch-Belgian drama Oxygen, the European Discovery of 2011. Oxygen tells the story of two young men in love – and suffering from incurable illnesses.

EFA winners of non-competitive awards were European Achievement in World Cinema recipient Mads Mikkelsen (After the Wedding, Casino Royale, Clash of the Titans), Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Stephen Frears (The Grifters, The Queen, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid), and European Co-Production Award recipient Mariela Besuievsky (Burnt Money, The Secret in Their Eyes, The Oxford Murders).

Additionally, Best Actor nominee Michel Piccoli (Habemus Papam / We Have a Pope) was handed an impromptu Lifetime Achievement Award by Bruno Ganz and Volker Schlöndorff. The 85-year-old French actor's career spans more than six decades and close to 200 movie appearances. Among the directors and co-stars with whom Piccoli has worked are Louis Malle, Luis Buñuel, Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Luc Godard, Catherine Deneuve, Jacques Demy, Marco Ferreri, Ettore Scola, Jacques Rivette, Jane Birkin, and Marcello Mastroianni. Piccoli will turn 86 next Dec. 27.

In his speech, Stephen Frears stated that “I'm not an auteur and I make cheerful films because I can't stand the misery anymore. I'm just a bloke who makes films and hopes the audience likes them. And I'll try to do better next time.” Reports vary as to whom got the most applause at the ceremony: Frears or Piccoli.

Melancholia, a Best Film runner-up at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, has little chance of creating much Oscar buzz. Reviews, however, have been generally quite enthusiastic. Melancholia has an 80 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

EFA winners' quotes via The Hollywood Reporter.

Stephen Frears photo: Sophia Baker / European Film Academy

Melancholia photo: Christian Geisnaes / Magnolia Pictures

National Board of Review & Washington Critics Winners: George Clooney + Michelle Williams & Tilda Swinton

Top 10 Films
Films listed alphabetically except top choice
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Top Foreign Films
13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Le Havre
Point Blank
Top Documentaries
Born to Be Wild
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Top Independent Films
Another Earth
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win
Best Film:
Best Director:
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor:
George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress:
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress:
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best Foreign Film:
A Separation
Best Documentary:
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Best Animated Feature:
Best Ensemble Cast:
The Help
Breakthrough Performance:
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Spotlight Award:
Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class
Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut:
J. C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Original Screenplay:
Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Nat Faxon & Alexander Payne & Jim Rash, The Descendants
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award:
The Harry Potter franchise, for "a distinguished translation from Book to Film"
NBR Freedom of Expression:
Crime After Crime

John Goodman, The Artist
John Goodman, The Artist

Best Film
* The Artist
The Descendants
Win Win

Best Foreign Language Film
13 Assassins
Certified Copy
I Saw the Devil
* The Skin I Live In

Best Director
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
* Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Best Actor
* George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)

Best Actress
Viola Davis (The Help)
Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
* Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
* Albert Brooks (Drive)
John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo (The Artist)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
* Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Best Acting Ensemble
* Bridesmaids
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Help
Margin Call

Best Adapted Screenplay
* Alexander Payne and Nate Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Tate Taylor (The Help)
John Logan (Hugo)
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Tom McCarthy (Win Win)
Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
* Will Reiser (50/50)

Best Animated Feature
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Puss in Boots
* Rango
Winnie the Pooh

Best Documentary
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
* Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
Project Nim

Best Art Direction
Lawrence Bennett, Production Designer, and Gregory S. Hooper, Art Director (The Artist)
Stuart Craig, Production Designer, and Stephenie McMillan, Set Decorator (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)
* Dante Ferretti, Production Designer, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, Set Decorator (Hugo)
Jack Fisk, Production Designer, and Jeanette Scott, Set Decorator (The Tree of Life)
Rick Carter, Production Designer, and Lee Sandales, Set Decorator (War Horse)

Best Cinematography
Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Manuel Alberto Claro (Melancholia)
* Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)

Best Score
* Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Cliff Martinez (Drive)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Howard Shore (Hugo)
John Williams (War Horse)

The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company

Carlos Saldanha & Gary Oldman: Annie Award Nominations

Milou Snowy The Adventures of Tintin
Milou a.k.a. Snowy in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin

Annie Award 2011 Nominations Pt.1: RANGO, RIO, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

Directing in a Feature Production

  • Carlos Saldanha “Rio” - Blue Sky Studios
  • Chris Miller “Puss In Boots” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Don Hall & Stephen Anderson “Winnie The Pooh” - Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Gore Verbinski “Rango” - Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present a Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Jennifer Yuh Nelson “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Kelly Asbury “Gnomeo & Juliet” - Touchstone Pictures

Music in a Feature Production

  • Henry Jackman “Puss In Boots” - DreamWorks Animation
  • John Williams “The Adventures of Tintin” - Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
  • Mikael Mutti, Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Sergio Mendes, John Powell, “Rio” - Blue Sky Studios
  • Zooey Deschannel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Henry Jackman, Robert Lopez “Winnie The Pooh” - Walt Disney Animation Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production

  • Harley Jessup “Cars 2” - Pixar Animation Studios
  • Paul Felix “Winnie The Pooh” - Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Raymond Zilbach “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Tom Cardone, Kyle MacNaughton & Peter Chan “Rio” - Blue Sky Studios

Storyboarding in a Feature Production

  • Bob Logan “Puss In Boots” - DreamWorks Animation
  • David Gosman “Rango” - Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
  • Gary Graham “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Jeremy Spears “Winnie The Pooh” - Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Josh Hayes “Rango” - Paramount Pictures & Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
  • Kris Pearn “Arthur Christmas” - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Nelson Yokota “Gnomeo and Juliet” - Touchstone Pictures
  • Philip Craven “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Scott Morse “Cars 2” - Pixar Animation Studios

Voice Acting in a Feature Production

  • Ashley Jensen as Bryony “Arthur Christmas” - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Bill Nighy as Grandsanta “Arthur Christmas” - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Gary Oldman as Shen “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • James Hong as Mr. Ping “Kung Fu Panda 2” DreamWorks Animation
  • Jemaine Clement as Nigel “Rio” - Blue Sky Studios
  • Jim Cummings as Featherstone “Gnomeo and Juliet” - Touchstone Pictures
  • Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Alexander Dumpty “Puss In Boots” - DreamWorks Animation

Writing in a Feature Production

  • Andy Riley, Kevin Cecil, Mark Burton, Kathy Greenburg, Emily Cook, Rob Sprackling, John R. Smith, Kelly Asbury, Steve Hamilton “Gnomeo & Juliet” - Touchstone Pictures
  • Brian Kesinger, Kendelle Hoyer, Don Dougherty, Clio Chang, Don Hall, Stephen Anderson “Winnie The Pooh” - Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit “Rango” - Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Sarah Smith, Peter Baynham “Arthur Christmas” - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
  • Steve Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cronish “The Adventures of Tintin"– Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall

Editing in a Feature Production

  • Clare Knight, A.C.E. “Kung Fu Panda 2” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Craig Wood, A.C.E. “Rango” - Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Productions
  • Eric Dapkewicz “Puss In Boots” - DreamWorks Animation
  • Michael Kahn “The Adventures of Tintin"– Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
  • Stephen Schaffer, A.C.E. “Cars 2” - Pixar Animation Studios



Winsor McCay Award —Walt Peregoy, Borge Ring, Ronald Searle

June Foray — Art Leonardi

Special Achievement — Depth Analysis

The Adventures of Tintin image: WETA / Paramount

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