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European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award: Women Mostly Ignored

Danielle Darrieux Lifetime Achievement Award
European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award: Award-less veteran actress Danielle Darrieux.

European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Only three female recipients to date

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

As mentioned in the previous post, French film icon Catherine Deneuve is only the third woman to receive the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award since the organization’s first awards ceremony in 1988. Deneuve’s predecessors are The LoversJeanne Moreau (1997) and Notes on a Scandal‘s Judi Dench (2008). In that regard, the European Film Academy is as male-oriented as the Beverly Hills-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. More on that below.

Male recipients of the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award are the following: Ingmar Bergman, Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini, Andrzej Wajda, Alexandre Trauner, Billy Wilder, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson, Marcel Carné, Alec Guinness, Ennio Morricone, Richard Harris, Monty Python, Tonino Guerra, Claude Chabrol, Carlos Saura, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski, Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, Bruno Ganz, Stephen Frears, and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Are those men undeserving? Of course not. Whether or not you or I like them, they’ve enjoyed long and well-regarded film careers. But now, take a look at the list of women who have yet to receive the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Danielle Darrieux, Deborah Kerr, Sophia Loren among women bypassed by the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Among the women so far bypassed by the European Film Academy for its Lifetime Achievement Award are actresses Danielle Darrieux (whose movie career began in 1931), Michèle Morgan (1935), Micheline Presle (1939), Leslie Caron, Vanessa Redgrave, Sophia Loren, Liv Ullmann, Monica Vitti, Stéphane Audran, Emmanuelle Riva, Maggie Smith, Hanna Schygulla, Claire Bloom, Claudia Cardinale, Helen Mirren, Gina Lollobrigida, Bibi Andersson, Victoria Abril, Harriet Andersson, Julie Christie, Irene Papas, Isabelle Huppert, Carmen Maura, Glenda Jackson, and Isabelle Adjani. In addition to directors Agnès Varda and Lina Wertmuller, and producer Margaret Ménégoz.

A few of those European film women have received other special awards from the European Film Academy, e.g., Achievement in World Cinema recipients Isabelle Huppert, Victoria Abril, Liv Ullmann, and Helen Mirren; and Prix Eurimages winner Margaret Ménégoz. But those awards are not the same as “Body of Work” or “Career” honors.

Of course, it’s too late now for the likes of Deborah Kerr, Margaret Lockwood, Ingrid Thulin, Susannah York, Sara Montiel, Annie Girardot, and Alida Valli, but Julie Andrews is still around. It’s true that Andrews is a Hollywood – not an European Cinema – star, but then again Billy Wilder was a Hollywood filmmaker. Check out, for instance, The Major and the Minor, Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., and The Apartment. Or even Ninotchka (which Wilder co-wrote) or A Foreign Affair or One, Two, Three; though set in Europe, these are definitely not European films. But that didn’t prevent Wilder from taking home the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award back in 1992.

Catherine Deneuve, Angela Lansbury, Angelina Jolie: 2013 ‘Special’ Award recipients

Anyhow, perhaps the European Film Academy’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for Catherine Deneuve was inspired by Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which a few weeks ago named two women as special award recipients: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Angelina Jolie and Honorary Oscar winner Angela Lansbury (along with Steve Martin and Piero Tosi).

Overall, however, when it comes to honoring women in the film industry the Hollywood Academy has a record as poor as its European counterpart. Angela Lansbury is only the tenth woman to receive an Honorary Award for an individual’s body of work, an honor that has been bestowed since 1936, while Angelina Jolie is only the seventh woman to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a periodic trophy presented since the mid-’50s.

Catherine Deneuve European Film Awards
Catharine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve: European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient

Catherine Deneuve has been named the recipient of the the European Film Academy’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award for her “outstanding body of work.” And outstanding it is. Yesterday, I posted an article about Dirk Bogarde (Victim, Death in Venice, Despair), one of the rare performers anywhere on the planet to have consistently worked with world-class international filmmakers. The Paris-born Catherine Deneuve, who turns 70 next Oct. 22, is another one of those lucky actors.

Deneuve’s directors have included an eclectic and prestigious list of filmmakers from various countries. Those include Belle de Jour and Tristana‘s Luis Buñuel; Le Sauvage and La Vie de Château‘s Jean-Paul Rappenau; The Hunger‘s Tony Scott; Un Flic / A Cop’s Jean-Pierre Melville; The Mississippi Mermaid and The Last Metro‘s François Truffaut; The Creatures’ Agnès Varda; Repulsion‘s Roman Polanski; and Hotel America, Scene of the Crime, Changing Times, Thieves, and Ma Saison Préferée‘s André Téchiné.

Here are a few more Catherine Deneuve directors: East-West and Indochine‘s Régis Wargnier; 8 Women and Potiche‘s François Ozon; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Donkey Skin, and The Young Girls of Rochefort‘s Jacques Demy; Kings & Queen and A Christmas Tale‘s Arnaud Desplechin; Généalogies d’un crime‘s Raoul Ruiz; Dancer in the Dark‘s Lars von Trier; The Murri Affair‘s Mauro Bolognini; Pola X‘s Leos Carax; Hustle‘s Robert Aldrich; Place Vendôme‘s Nicole Garcia; Anima Persa‘s Dino Risi; The Convent‘s Manoel de Oliveira; and even the animated Persepolis’ Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.

Deneuve would have been an ideal Alfred Hitchcock heroine, but she arrived on the scene a little late for that. Woody Allen could have made good use of her as well, as Deneuve can be very funny. Perhaps there’s still time. Pedro Almodóvar is another one. And really, if Deneuve can play Queen Cordelia in something like Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia, James Cameron might want to ask her to play Queen Na’vi in Avatar 2. As far as I’m concerned, that would turn the Avatar sequel into a must-see. Or Joss Whedon could cast her as Hulk’s Mom in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

According to the IMDb, Catherine Deneuve has four movies coming out in the not-too-distant future: another one for André Téchiné, the psychological drama based on a true story L’homme que l’on aimait trop (literally, “The Man We Loved a Lot” or “The Man Who Was Much Loved”), with Guillaume Canet and Adèle Haenel; Emmanuelle Bercot’s road movie On My Way; Pierre Salvadori’s Dans my cours; and, currently in pre-production, Benoît Jacquot’s Three Hearts, co-starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroianni, Deneuve’s daughter with Marcello Mastroianni.

Catherine Deneuve movie awards

Catherine Deneuve has taken home a whole array of movie awards, ranging from an Honorary Golden Palm in Cannes to Career Awards and/or Tributes in Shanghai, Moscow, Los Angeles, and Bangkok. (See also: “Catherine Deneuve Lincoln Center Homage.”)

Deneuve was a Best Actress Academy Award nominee for Indochine (1992) and a BAFTA nominee for Belle de Jour (1968). She has been nominated for 11 César Awards, winning twice: for The Last Metro (which also earned her a David di Donatello Award) and Indochine.

Additionally, Catherine Deneuve shared with her fellow 8 Women co-stars – Fanny Ardant, Emmanuelle Béart, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Huppert, Virginie Ledoyen, Firmine Richard, and Ludivine Sagnier – the Best Actress Award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. That same year, Deneuve and her co-stars took home the Best Actress European Film Award.

To date, the 8 Women ensemble win remains not only Catherine Deneuve’s sole European Film Award victory, but her sole nomination as well.

I should add that Catherine Deneuve is only the third woman to receive the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Deneuve’s predecessors were fellow Frenchwoman Jeanne Moreau and the British Judi Dench.

The 2013 European Film Awards will take place in Berlin on Dec. 7.

Catherine Deneuve photo: European Film Academy | Kurt Krieger.

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