The European Film Awards usually don't have much of an influence on the Academy Awards. Part of the reason is that many of the European Academy's nominated movies aren't eligible for the Hollywood Academy's awards, whether because they were in the running earlier in the year or because they won't have their qualifying Los Angeles run in time for the following year's Oscars. In fact, some may never even get that chance. Besides, it's unclear how many of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' insular members actually know about the existence of the European Film Academy.
Last year's Best Film and Best Director winner, Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer, failed to receive a single Academy Award nomination despite mostly positive reviews from U.S. critics. Of the other five 2010 Best European Film nominees, only Juan José Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes was shortlisted by the Oscars as well – the mystery drama was the winner in the Best Foreign Language Film category, but earlier in the year. So, if an institution influenced another, it was the Hollywood Academy influencing the European one.
Since the European Film Awards' inception in 1988, only two Best European Film winners have gone on to receive a Best Picture Academy Award nomination: Peter Cattaneo's The Full Monty (1997) and Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful (1998).
Including Life Is Beautiful, only six Best European Film winners have received Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominations. The others were Gianni Amelio's Open Doors (1990), Nikita Mikhalkov's Urga (1993; a 1992 Oscar nominee), Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother (1999), Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others (2006), and Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009). Life Is Beautiful, All About My Mother, and The Lives of Others turned out to be the only three Oscar winners in that category.
Additionally, Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves earned Emily Watson a Best Actress Oscar nod; Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amélie (2001) was shortlisted in several technical categories; and Talk to Her (2002) earned Almodóvar the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Among the Best European Director winners, only Almodóvar received a matching Oscar nomination for Talk to Her.
In the European Film Awards' Best Actor/Best Actress categories (no awards were handed out in 1994/95), besides Emily Watson only the following went on to be shortlisted by the Hollywood Academy: Max von Sydow for Pelle the Conqueror (1988), Robert Benigni for Life Is Beautiful, Ben Kingsley for Sexy Beast (2001, supporting actor), Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake (2004), and Penélope Cruz for Volver (2006). Of those, only Benigni won the Oscar as well.
Juliette Binoche's, Helen Mirren's and Kate Winslet's European Film Award wins for, respectively, The English Patient, The Queen, and The Reader took place after their Oscar victories. Same with Kenneth Branagh, nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for Henry V in early 1990; he won the Best European Actor Award later that year.
And it's surely no coincidence that of the ten actors mentioned above, only three – von Sydow, Benigni, and Cruz – received a corresponding Oscar nomination for a non-English-speaking role.
Curiously, Best Actress Oscar winner Marion Cotillard – speaking French in La Vie en Rose – failed to take home the Best European Actress Award, which went instead to Helen Mirren. That was one relatively rare instance when buzz was defeated by actual personal preference.
The Queen picture: Miramax Films