European Film Awards: Toni Servillo & Camorra Drama Are Big Winners + Judi Dench & Golden Horse Awards

Toni Servillo European Film Awards. Best Actor for Gomorrah mafia thrillerToni Servillo, Best Actor at the European Film Awards. The Italian performer has been featured in about 15 movies since the early 1990s, among them One Man Up (2001), The Consequences of Love (2004), and The Girl by the Lake (2007), all three of which earned him Best Actor nominations at the David di Donatello awards a.k.a. the Italian Oscars. This year, Servillo was named Best European Actor for both Matteo Garrone's Camorra drama Gomorrah and Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo, an unusual look at – possibly mob-connected – Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.

Camorra drama 'Gomorrah' is the big winner at the European Film Awards

Based on Roberto Saviano's nonfiction book, which delves into the workings of the Neapolitan underworld, Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah was the big winner at the 2008 European Film Awards, announced on Dec. 6 in Copenhagen.

Gomorrah topped five categories: Best European Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Toni Servillo, also for Il Divo), Best Screenplay (Garrone, Saviano, Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Massimo Gaudioso), and Best Cinematography (Marco Onorato).

Cannes prize winner & potential Oscar nominee

The Camorra drama, which has been garnering widespread praise at film festivals worldwide – e.g., it was the winner of the Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival – is Italy's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

A Cannes prize and a European Film Academy Award, however, are no guarantee of an Oscar nomination. Last year's European Film Awardand Palme d'Or – winner, Cristian Mungiu's acclaimed Romanian abortion drama 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, ultimately failed to get a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination.

That's one of the key reasons the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has changed the nomination rules in that particular category.

Update: Maybe more rule changes are needed, as Gomorrah has been bypassed by the Academy.

Check out “Oscar 2009: Best Foreign Language Film Semi-Finalists” & “Biggest Oscar Snubs: No. 4.”

Toni Servillo & Kristin Scott Thomas top acting categories

As indicated above, Toni Servillo was the Best European Actor for his work in two movies: Gomorrah and Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo. In the former, Servillo plays an unscrupulous waste management company boss; in the latter, he has the title role – bizarre, scary-looking, and potentially mob-connected Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who served no less than seven terms.

Kristin Scott Thomas was Best Actress for her portrayal of a former doctor recently released from prison – for having committed (a slowly revealed) murder – in Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long / Il y a longtemps que je t'aime. A dozen years ago, Scott Thomas was a Best Actress Oscar nominee for Anthony Minghella's The English Patient; she lost to Frances McDormand in Fargo.

Curiously, this year's Palme d'Or winner, Laurent Cantet's French drama The Class / Entre les murs, was totally bypassed. But then again, it had been shortlisted in only two categories: Best Film and Best Director.

And finally, Judi Dench was the recipient of the European Film Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. A veteran of the British stage (The Cherry Orchard, Cabaret) and television (A Fine Romance, As Time Goes By), Dench has been featured in about 40 films, two of which earned her European Film Award nominations: Iris (2001) and Ladies in Lavender (2005, jointly with costar Maggie Smith).

Next year's European Film Awards will be held in Essen, Germany.

Matteo Garrone European Film Awards. Best Director for his 1st major international successMatteo Garrone, Best Director winner at the European Film Awards. A director/screenwriter/producer since the 1990s – a total of ten narrative features, documentaries, and shorts – Matteo Garrone had his first major international success with the Camorra drama Gomorrah, based on Roberto Saviano's nonfiction book. Among Garrone's previous efforts are The Embalmer (2002), nominated for nine David di Donatello awards – winning Best Supporting Actor (Ernesto Mahieux) and Best Screenplay (Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso, Ugo Chiti) – and Berlin Film Festival entry First Love (2004).

European Film Awards: Winners & nominations

2008 European Film Award nominations: Nov. 8. The winners were announced on Dec. 6 in Copenhagen.

Best European Film

Il Divo, Italy.
Dir./Scr.: Paolo Sorrentino.

The Class / Entre les murs, France.
Dir.: Laurent Cantet.
Scr.: Laurent Cantet, François Begaudeau & Robin Campillo; after François Begaudeau's novel.

* Gomorrah, Italy.
Dir.: Matteo Garrone.
Scr.: Maurizio Bracci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano.

Happy-Go-Lucky, U.K.
Dir./Scr.: Mike Leigh.

The Orphanage / El Orfanato, Spain.
Dir.: Juan Antonio Bayona.
Scr.: Sergio G. Sánchez.

Waltz with Bashir, Israel / France / Germany.
Dir./Scr.: Ari Folman.

Best European Director
Laurent Cantet, The Class.
Andreas Dresen, Cloud 9 / Wolke 9.
Ari Folman, Waltz with Bashir.
* Matteo Garrone, Gomorrah.
Steve McQueen, Hunger.
Paolo Sorrentino, Il Divo.

Best European Actress
Hiam Abbass, Lemon Tree.
Arta Dobroshi, Lorna's Silence / Le Silence de Lorna.
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky.
Belén Rueda, The Orphanage.
* Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long / Il y a longtemps que je t'aime.
Ursula Werner, Cloud 9.

Best European Actor
Michael Fassbender, Hunger.
Thure Lindhardt & Mads Mikkelsen, Flame & Citron / Flammen & Citronen.
James McAvoy, Atonement.
* Toni Servillo, Gomorrah & Il Divo.
Jürgen Vogel, The Wave / Die Welle.
Elmar Wepper, Cherry Blossoms / Kirschblüten - Hanami.

Best European Screenwriter
Suha Arraf & Eran Riklis, Lemon Tree.
* Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso & Roberto Saviano, Gomorrah.
Ari Folman, Waltz with Bashir.
Paolo Sorrentino, Il Divo.

Best Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer Award
Luca Bigazzi, Il Divo.
Oscar Faura, The Orphanage.
* Marco Onorato, Gomorrah.
Sergey Trofimov & Rogier Stoffers, Mongol.

Best European Composer
Tuur Florizoone, Moscow, Belgium / Aanrijding in Moscou.
Dario Marianelli, Atonement.
* Max Richter, Waltz with Bashir.
Fernando Velázquez, The Orphanage.

Best European Film Academy Prix d'Excellence
Marton Agh for Production Design, Delta.
* Magdalena Biedrzycka for Costume Design, Katyn.
Laurence Briaud for Editing, A Christmas Tale / Un conte de Noël.
Petter Fladeby for Sound Design, O'Horten.

Best European Discovery

* Hunger, U.K.
Dir.: Steve McQueen.
Scr.: Enda Walsh & Steve McQueen.

Snow / Snijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina / Germany / France / Iran.
Dir.: Aida Begi.
Scr.: Aida Begi & Elma Tataragi.

Summer Book / Tatil Kitabi, Turkey.
Dir./Scr.: Seyfi Teoman.

Tulpan, Germany / Switzerland / Kazakhstan / Russia / Poland.
Dir.: Sergey Dvortsevoy.
Scr.: Sergey Dvortsevoy & Gennady Ostrovskiy.

Best European Film Academy Documentary - Pix Arte

Durakovo - Village of Fools / Durakovo - Le Village des fous.
Nino Kirtadzé, France.

Carlos Saura, Portugal / Spain.

Children. As Time Flies / Kinder. Wie die Zeit vergeht.
Thomas Heise, Germany.

The Mother / La Mère.
Antoine Cattin & Pavel Kostomarov, Switzerland.

Man on Wire.
James Marsh, U.K.

Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains / Naufragés des Andes.
Gonzalo Arijón, France.

Citizen Havel / Obcan Václav Havel.
Pavel Koutecký & Miroslav Janek, Czech Republic.

Shadow of the Holy Book / Pyhän Kirjan Varjo.
Arto Halonen, Finland.

* René.
Helena Trestikova, Czech Republic.

The Dictator Hunter.
Klaartje Quirijns, The Netherlands.

Judi Dench European Film Awards. Oscar winner is Lifetime Achievement Award recipientJudi Dench at the European Film Awards. Besides her two European Film Award nominations, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Judi Dench has been shortlisted for six Academy Awards, in both the lead and supporting categories, winning once: Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in John Madden's Shakespeare in Love (1998). In the last decade or so, Dench has also become known as the latest incarnation of M, James Bond's boss, in big-budget commercial fare such as GoldenEye, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace. (Bernard Lee and Robert Brown were her predecessors.)

European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
Judi Dench.

European Achievement in World Cinema
Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Kristian Levring, Lars von Trier, and Thomas Vinterberg.

European Film Academy Critics' Award - Prix FIPRESCI
Abdellatif Kechiche, The Secret of the Grain / Couscous / La graine et le mulet.

Prix Eurimages
Vibeke Windeløv & Bettina Brokemper.

Best European Short Film - Prix UIP

Contact / Raak.
Dir.: Hanro Smitsman, The Netherlands.

The Apology Line.
Dir.: James Lees, U.K.

A Kiss to the World / Un Bisou pour le monde.
Dir.: Cyril Paris, France.

Dir.: Johnny Kelly, U.K.

Dir.: Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy, U.K.

* Frankie.
Dir.: Darren Thornton, Ireland.

The Pearce Sisters.
Dir.: Luis Cook, U.K.

Time Is Running Out.
Dir.: Marc Reisbig, U.K.

Fire / Uguns.
Dir.: Laila Pakalnina, Latvia.

2 Birds / Smáfuglar.
Dir.: Rúnar Rúnarsson, Iceland.

Love You More.
Dir.: Sam Taylor-Wood, U.K.

Tolerance / Tolerantia.
Dir.: Ivan Ramadan, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Altruists / De Onbaatzuchtigen.
Dir.: Koen Dejaegher, Belgium.

With a Little Patience / Türelem.
Dir.: Laszlo Nemes, Hungary.

People's Choice Award

Arn: The Knight Templar / Arn - Tempelriddaren.
Dir.: Peter Flinth.
Scr.: Jan Guillou & Hans Gunnarsson.

Dir.: Joe Wright.
Scr.: Ian Mcewan & Christopher Hampton.

Ben X.
Dir./Scr.: Nic Balthazar.

Welcome to the Sticks / Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis.
Dir.: Dany Boon.
Scr.: Dany Boon & Alexandre Charlot.

The Wave.
Dir.: Dennis Gansel.
Scr.: Dennis Gansel & Peter Thorwarth.

The Orphanage.
Dir.: Juan Antonio Bayona.
Scr.: Sergio G. Sánchez.

Hunting and Gathering / Ensemble, c'est tout.
Dir.: Claude Berri.
Scr.: Anna Gavalda & Claude Berri.

* Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Dir.: David Yates.
Scr.: Michael Goldenberg.

Rabbit Without Ears / Keinohrhasen.
Dir.: Til Schweiger.
Scr.: Anika Decker & Til Schweiger.

Dir.: Sergei Bodrov.
Scr.: Arif Aliyev & Sergei Bodrov.

Dir.: Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza.
Scr.: Jaume Balagueró & Luis Berdejo.

Saturn in Opposition / Saturno Contro.
Dir.: Ferzan Ozpetek.
Scr.: Ferzan Ozpetek & Gianni Romoli.

The Warlords Andy Lau Jet Li. Golden Horse Awards' top winner set in war-torn ChinaThe Warlords with Andy Lau and Jet Li. Set in 19th century China, Peter Chan's war drama The Warlords was the top winner at the Golden Horse Awards, taking home four trophies, including Best Film and Best Director. Jet Li lost the Best Actor Golden Horse to Zhang Hanyu for another period war drama, Assembly, set in mid-20th century China.

Golden Horse Awards: Jet Li & Andy Lau period actioner tops

The top winner at the 2008 Golden Horse Awards was The Warlords, the tale of three blood brothers who find themselves at odds with one another in war-torn 1860s China.

Directed by Peter Chan (a.k.a. Peter Ho-Sun Chan), and starring Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro, The Warlords (previously known as The Blood Brothers) won in four categories: Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Score (Chan Kwong-Wing, Peter Kam, Chatchai Pongprapaphan, Leon Ko), and Best Visual Effects (Eddy Wong, Victor Wong, Ken Law).

In April, The Warlords was the big winner at the Hong Kong Film Awards, taking home eight trophies including Best film and Best Director. According to Variety, the film has grossed more than $35 million in China.

Among the other Golden Horse winners were Best Actor Zhang Hanyu for his performance as a military commander during the Chinese Civil War in Assembly, which also earned the Best Adapted Screenplay award for Liu Heng; and Best Actress Prudence Liew for her crack cocaine-addicted street walker in True Women for Sale.

Golden Horse Awards: Winners & nominations

2008 Golden Horse Award nominations: Oct. 30. The winners were announced on Dec. 6.

Best Feature Film
Cape No.7.
Ocean Flame.
* The Warlords.

Best Director
Wei Te-Sheng, Cape No.7.
Pang Ho-Cheung, Trivial Matters.
* Peter Ho-Sun Chan, The Warlords.
Sylvia Chang, Run Papa Run.

Best Actor
* Zhang Hanyu, Assembly.
Liao Fan, Ocean Flame.
Jet Li, The Warlords.
Louis Koo, Run Papa Run.

Best Actress
* Prudence Liew, True Women for Sale.
Monica Mok, Ocean Flame.
Karene Lam, Claustrophobia.
Sandrine Pinna, Miao Miao.

Best Supporting Actor
* Ma Ju-Lung, Cape No.7.
Eason Chang, Trivial Matters.
Leon Dai, Parking.
Hu Jun, Red Cliff.

Best Supporting Actress
* Mei Fang, Orzboyz.
Lai Ming, Money No Enough II.
Li-Qi Wu, Detours to Paradise.
Nora Miao, Run Papa Run.

Best New Performer
Chie Tanaka, Cape No.7.
Johnny C.J. Lin, Cape No.7.
Pang Chin-Yu, Orzboyz.
* Suming Chiang, Hopscotch.

Best Original Screenplay
Yang Ya-Che, Orzboyz.
* Tsai Tsung-Han, Tom Shu-Yu Lin, Winds of September.
Xu Lan, Chun Tin Nam, Aubrey Lam, Huang Jian-Xin, Jojo Hui, He Ji Ping, Guo Jun Li, James Yuen, The Warlords.
Ivy Ho, Claustrophobia.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Pang Ho-Cheung, Trivial Matters.
* Liu Heng, Assembly.

Best Cinematography
Chin Ting-Chang, Cape No.7.
Chen Ying-Chan, Chen Chor-Keung, Ocean Flame.
Arthur Wong, The Warlords.
* Cheng Siu-Keung (HKSE), Sparrow.

Best Film Editing
Chen Hsiao-Dong, Winds of September.
* Yau Chi-Wai, Connected.
Wenders Li, The Warlords.
Kong Chi-Leung, Claustrophobia.

Best Original Film Score
Fred Lu, Lo Chi-Yi, Cape No.7.
* Chan Kwong-Wing, Peter Kam, Chatchai Pongprapaphan, Leon Ko, The Warlords.
Ricky Ho, 12 Lotus.
Xavier Jamaux, Fred Avril, Sparrow.

Best Original Film Song
* Song from, Cape No.7, Lyrics: Matthew Yen; Composer & Performer: Van.
“I Dont Sell Dou Fu” from Kung Fu Dunk, Lyrics: Vincent Fang Wen Shan; Composer: Jay Chou; Performer: Jay Chou, Tu Kuo-Cgang.
“Pang Pang” from Drifting Flowers, Lyrics: Christine Hsu; Composer: Christine Hsu; Performer: Serena Fang.
“Get Together” from Miao Miao, Lyrics: Cin Cin Lee, Cheng Kuei, Composer: Cin Cin Lee, Cheng Kuei; Performer: Chilam Cheung.

Best Documentary
This Darling Life.
Erotic Float Dancers.
* Up the Yangtze.

Best Visual Effects
Phil Jones, Assembly.
* Eddy Wong, Victor Wong, Ken Law, The Warlords.
Craig Hayes, The Orphanage, Red Cliff.
Eddy Wong, Victor Wong, Ken Law, CJ7.

Best Art Direction
Li Yang, Raymond Kwok, Ocean Flame.
Yee Chung -Man, Yi Zheng-Zhou, Pater Wong, The Warlords.
* Chao Shih-Hao, Parking.
Tim Yip, Red Cliff.

Best Makeup & Costume Design
Man Lim-Chung, Trivial Matters.
* Luke Huang, Sai Com, Candy Rain.
Yee Chung-Man, Jessie Dai, Lee Pik-Kwan, The Warlords.
Tim Yip, Red Cliff.

Best Action Choreography
Park Ju-Chun, Assembly.
* Li Chung-Chi, Connected.
Ma Yuk-Sing, Huang Ming-Jian, Ching Siu-Tung, An Empress and the Warriors.
Ching Siu-Tung, The Warlords.

Best Sound Effects
Tu Duu-Chi, Cape No.7.
Wang Danrong, Kim Suk-Won, Assembly.
Sunit Asvinikul, Nakorn Kositpaisal, The Warlords.
* Steve Burgess, Missing.

Best Short Film
My Grandma.
A Son.
* Hopscotch.
The End of the Tunnel.

The Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year
* Cape No.7.
Winds of September.


The Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year
Wei Te-Sheng.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Chang Feng.

Special Contribution Award
Huang Ren.


European Film Awards website.

Image of Matteo Garrone, Toni Servillo, and Judi Dench at the European Film Awards: Rune Evensen / ScanPix.

Andy Lau and Jet Li The Warlords image: Media Asia Films / China Film Group.

“European Film Awards: Toni Servillo & Camorra Drama Are Big Winners + Judi Dench & Golden Horse Awards” last updated in March 2018.

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