Isabelle Huppert, one of the greatest actresses of her generation, will be the next recipient of the European Film Academy’s European Achievement in World Cinema. She’s only the third woman to be so honored in this category’s 13-year history. (For the record: the other two were Victoria Abril and Liv Ullmann.)
The 56-year-old Huppert began her career in the early 1970s, appearing in supporting roles in films such as Claude Sautet’s Cesar and Rosalie (1972) and Bertrand Blier’s Going Places (1974). By the end of the decade, she was playing leads in Claude Chabrol’s Violette Nozière (1978) and Jean-François Adam’s Retour à la bien-aimée (1979), and since then, Huppert has been the star of more than 50 productions, both in France and elsewhere.
Among her most notable roles are those in Mauro Bolognini’s Lady of the Camellias (1981), in which she’s flawless as the French courtesan of the title; Bertrand Tavernier’s Academy Award-nominated Coup de torchon (1981), in typical form as a – ahem – sexually creative character; and Diane Kurys’ Coup de foudre / Entre Nous (1984), a beautiful drama in which Huppert plays a former World War II Jewish refugee who, though married and a mother, falls in love with another woman (Miou Miou).
Also, the abortionist in Chabrol’s disturbing Story of Women (1988, above); Emma Bovary in Chabrol’s version of Madame Bovary (1991); a scheming postmaster in Chabrol’s anti-bourgeois La cérémonie (1995); a pianist who’s into some really kinky sex in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher (2001); and a prudish, bespectacled, schoolmarmish type in François Ozon’s offbeat musical 8 Women (2002).
And more: Christophe Honoré’s My Mother (2004, above), teaching her son (Louis Garrel) a thing or two about the arts and sciences of sex; Alexandra Leclère’s dramatic comedy Me and My Sister (2004), in which Huppert plays the neurotic Parisian sibling of small-town bumpkin Catherine Frot; and Chabrol’s Comedy of Power (2006), as a tough investigative magistrate.
In addition to the aforementioned directors, Huppert also worked for the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Cimino, Patrice Chéreau, Olivier Assayas, Marco Ferreri, Joseph Losey, Maurice Pialat, Vittorio and Paolo Taviani, Andrzej Wajda, Michel Deville, and Claude Goretta.
Her list of co-stars include Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant, Béatrice Dalle, Benoît Magimel, Annie Girardot, Charles Berling, Emmanuelle Béart, Daniel Auteuil, François Cluzet, Stéphane Audran, Jean Carmet, Isabelle Adjani, Marie-France Pisier, Pascal Greggory, Kris Kristofferson, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Jeanne Moreau, and Philippe Noiret.
Isabelle Huppert, Jean Dabin in Violette Nozière (top); Huppert in The Piano Teacher (bottom)
Throughout her 38-year film career, Huppert won two best actress awards at Cannes (for Violette Nozière and The Piano Teacher), a British Academy Award for most promising actress (for The Lacemaker in 1977), a best actress César from the French Film Academy (for La cérémonie), a best foreign actress David di Donatello from the Italian Film Academy (for The Lacemaker) in addition to a special David for the bulk of her career in 2003, an European Film Award for The Piano Teacher and another she shared with the cast of 8 Women.
The fact that Huppert has never even been nominated for an Academy Award says a lot about the Academy’s actors’ branch insularity when it comes to non-English-language performances – and absolutely nothing about Isabelle Huppert’s talent as an actress or the quality of her roles.
The European Film Academy has announced the three nominees for the new European Film Award category “Best Animated Feature Film.”
Mia and the Migoo (Mia et le Migou) (France 2008)
by Jacques-Rémy Girerd
A young girl sets out looking for her father, a worker at the building site of a luxury hotel in the middle of a hidden forest. Deep in the woods, she comes face to face with the mysterious creature Migoo.
Niko & the Way to the Stars (Niko - Lentäjän poika) (Finland / Germany / Denmark / Ireland 2008)
by Kari Juusonen & Michael Hegner
While still learning how to fly, Reindeer Niko sets out in search of his father, a famous member of the legendary Santa Flying Forces.
The Secret of Kells (Brendan et le Secret de Kells) (France / Belgium / Ireland 2009)
by Tomm Moore
Recently screened in Los Angeles as part of the local Irish Film Festival, The Secret of Kells is set in 9th-century Ireland, where twelve-year-old Brendan discovers a way to protect the locals from Viking raids.
The nominated films will now be submitted to the EFA members. The winner will be announced at the European Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, 12 December, in Bochum, Germany.
The nominations jury was composed of EFA Board Members Per Holst (producer, Denmark) and Antonio Saura (producer, Spain), in addition to CARTOON (the European Association of Animation Film) representatives Agnès Bizzaro (program consultant/ editor, France/Germany), Enzo d’Alo (director, Italy), and Joanna Quinn (director, UK).
European Film Academy website.
European Film Awards: Prix Eurimages
The European Film Academy has announced that the winners of the 2009 Prix Eurimages, an award “acknowledging the decisive role of co-productions in the European film industry,” will go to two producers “who have combined their efforts to develop and promote European cinema”: Diana Elbaum and Jani Thiltges, heads of, respectively, Entre Chien et Loup in Belgium and Samsa Film in Luxemburg. Additionally, they have joined forces with Patrick Quinet, Sébastien Delloye and Claude Waringo to create Liaison Cinématographique, a production company based in Paris.
Under those various banners, Elbaum and Thiltges have co-produced films by Sam Garbarski, Lucas Belvaux, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Jacques Doillon, and Marina de Van. Among their credits (together or individually) are the unusual Jean-Claude van Damme vehicle JCVD; Irina Palm, starring Marianne Faithfull; the Academy Award-nominated Twin Sisters; Daratt, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Venice Film Festival; and Elles, starring Miou Miou, Carmen Maura, Marisa Berenson, and Marthe Keller.
The information below is from the European Film Academy’s press release:
Since founding her own company Entre Chien et Loup in 1989, Diana Elbaum has produced a wide range of award-winning films - fictions and documentaries - which have received critical acclaim on all continents. Joined by Sébastien Delloye in 1999, they have together produced some 30 films. In 2008, Diana Elbaum co-founded the company Dream Touch Pictures, the new distribution structure in Belgium.
Diana Elbaum has been a group leader at EAVE since 2006. Graduate of New York University, she now lives in Brussels.
Graduate of the INSAS in Brussels, Jani Thiltges co-founded the company Samsa Film in Luxembourg in 1986. In association with the producer Claude Waringo, he has gained a solid reputation as a producer of commercial arthouse films and has built up a catalogue of some 40 feature films. Jani Thiltges is President of the EAVE programme. In 2004, he was decorated by the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg for his activities in the cinematographic field.
The European Co-Production Award - Prix Eurimages will be presented at the 2009 European Film Awards Ceremony in Bochum, Germany, on Saturday, Dec. 12.
More on Eurimages.
Gotham 2009 Nominations
Considered the official beginning of awards season in the United States, the Independent Feature Project announced its 2009 Gotham Award nominations earlier today in New York City.
The five nominees for best picture are:
- Cherien Dabis’ Amreeka, the tale of a Palestinian mother (Nisreen Faour) who immigrates with her teenage son to the American Midwest. No more pesky Israeli check-points, but lots of meat-patty flipping at burger joints.
- Robert D. Siegel’s Big Fan, in which a hardcore New York Giants fan (breakthrough actor nominee Patton Oswalt) gets beaten up by his favorite player – and then has to deal with his unbridled fanaticism.
- Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker follows a US Army bomb squad unit doing some dangerous work in an Iraqi town under siege.
- Directed by Sebastián Silva, and written by Silva and Pedro Peirano, La Nana / The Maid chronicles the emotional ups and downs of a devoted maid (breakthrough actor nominee Catalina Saavedra) whose position is threatened at a wealthy Chilean household. (Curiously, this Chilean-Mexican production – winner of the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance 2009 – got in as an “American” film; else, it couldn’t have received a Best Picture nomination.)
- Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man, in which Michael Stuhlbarg plays a man whose life is suddenly turned upside down.
The Hurt Locker and A Serious Man (both of which also received Gotham nominations for best ensemble performance) are strong contenders for US critics’ awards, Golden Globes, Oscars, et al, while the inclusion of The Maid in the Gothams’ best picture/breakthrough actor lists will possibly increase the chances of Catalina Saavedra to add a few more awards to the World Cinema Prize for Acting she won at Sundance.
The Gotham 2009 winners will be announced on Nov. 30.
Rome Film Festival awards
Golden Marc’Aurelio for Best Film:Brotherhood / Broderskab (dir.: Nicolo Donato).
Grand Jury Prize:The Man Who Will Come / L’uomo che verrà (dir.: Giorgio Diritti).
Best Actor: Sergio Castellitto, Raise Your Head / Alza la testa.
Best Documentary:Sons of Cuba (dir.: Andrew Lang).
Best Documentary Special Mention (tie):
Fratelli d’Italia (dir.: Claudio Giovannesi).
Severe Clear (dir.: Kristian Fraga).
Golden Marc’Aurelio Acting Award:Meryl Streep.
Audience Award:The Man Who Will Come.
Roberto Rossellini Foundation Award: Maya Sansa.
Adam Shankman & Bill Mechanic to Produce Academy Awards Telecast
Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic will produce the 2010 Academy Awards telecast, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Tom Sherak has announced today. As per the Academy’s press release, this will be the “first major Oscar show involvement” for both of them.
Shankman’s directorial credits include Bedtime Stories (2008), Hairspray (2007), A Walk to Remember (2002) and The Wedding Planner (2001). His upcoming projects include Rock of Ages, Sinbad, Bob: The Musical and Bye Bye Birdie. In addition to directing, Shankman, along with his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, produce films through Offspring Entertainment. They are currently producing The Last Song, Going The Distance and Step Up 3D, all set for 2010 release.
Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. While he was at Fox, among the studio’s releases were True Lies (1994), Braveheart (1995), Titanic (1997), The Full Monty (1997), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Cast Away (2000).
Before his stint at Fox, Mechanic served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. His producer credits include this year’s animated feature Coraline and the thriller Dark Water (2005).
The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Photos: John Shearer/WireImage.com (Shankman), Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S. (Mechanic)
European Film Awards: ‘The Sound of Insects’ Is Best Documentary
Peter Liechti’s Swiss documentary The Sound of Insects - Record of a Mummy was the winner of the Prix ARTE for best European documentary, the European Film Academy (EFA) has announced.
Inspired by Shimada Masahiko’s novella How I Became a Mummy, itself inspired by true events, The Sound of Insects tells the story of a forest hunter who discovers the mummified body of a man – the remains of someone who starved himself to death while recording the process along the way.
The jury, composed of Franco-Georgian documentary filmmaker Nino Kirtadzé, Austrian producer Franz Grabner, and Russian documentary filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky, decided to give the award to The Sound of Insects “for its skillful exploration of minimalistic means to create an extraordinary visual story between life and death.”
Peter Liechti will be given his Prix ARTE at the 2009 European Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, 12 December, in Bochum, Germany.
European Film Awards: Best Documentary Nominations
The European Film Academy has announced the ten non-fiction features up for the 2009 Prix Arte for Best European Documentary.
The nominated documentaries are:
THE BEACHES OF AGNES (Les Plages d’Agnès)
Agnès Varda, France
BELOW SEA LEVEL, Gianfranco Rosi, Italy / USA
BURMA VJ, Anders Østergaard, Denmark
COOKING HISTORY (Ako Sa Varia Dejiny)
Peter Kerekes, Slovakia / Austria / Czech Republic
THE DAMNED OF THE SEA (Les Damnés de la Mer)
Jawad Rhalib, Belgium
DEFAMATION, Yoav Shamir, Denmark / Austria / Israel / USA
THE HEART OF JENIN (Das Herz von Jenin)
Leon Geller & Marcus Vetter, Germany
PIANOMANIA, Lilian Franck & Robert Cibis, Germany / Austria
THE SOUND OF INSECTS - RECORD OF A MUMMY
(Das Summen der Insekten - Bericht einer Mumie)
Peter Liechti, Switzerland
THE WOMAN WITH THE 5 ELEPHANTS (Die Frau mit den 5 Elefanten)
Vadim Jendreyko, Switzerland / Germany
Topics range from the consequences of overfishing in Moroccan waters (The Damned of the Sea) to veteran filmmaker Agnès Varda’s autobiographical essay The Beaches of Agnès; from the 2007 anti-government protests in which thousands of Burmese monks took part (Burma VJ) to a portrait of a homeless community located in a former military base 250 km from Los Angeles (Below Sea Level); from a debate featuring divergent views on the role of anti-Semitism in today’s world (Defamation) to the work of army cooks from World War II to the Russian-Chechen War (Cooking History).
The members of the documentary jury are:
Nino Kirtadzé, documentary filmmaker, France/Georgia
Franz Grabner, producer / editor ORF, Austria
Viktor Kossakovsky, documentary filmmaker, Russia
Upon invitation by the city of Vilnius, this year’s documentary jury will convene in the Lithuanian capital to screen the nominated films and decide on the winner. (That’s unfortunate. Considering the Lithuanian parliament’s new anti-gay law that would potentially criminalize, among other things, gay film festivals, the EFA judges should have gone elsewhere to vote on the best European documentary of the year.)
In association with the European culture channel ARTE, the winner will be presented at the 22nd European Film Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 12 December, in Bochum, Germany.
Golden Horse Awards: Nominations Go to ‘Like a Dream’ & ‘No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti’
With nine nominations, including best film and best director, Hong Kong filmmaker Clara Law’s romantic fantasy Like a Dream (right) leads the 2009 Golden Horse Awards.
Starring Daniel Wu and Yolanda Yuan (a.k.a. Quan Yuan), both of whom are up for acting awards, Like a Dream chronicles a man’s search for a woman who keeps popping up in his dreams.
Two films received seven Golden Horse nods: Taiwanese filmmaker Leon Dai’s No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti and Chinese filmmaker Guan Hu’s Cow.
No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti is based on the true story of a poor waterfront worker who fought Taiwan’s heartless bureaucrats for custody of his daughter. Among its Golden Horse nominations are those for best film, best director, best actor (Chen Wen-pin), and Taiwanese film of the Year. (I’m not sure why the title is in Spanish.)
In Cow, the Chinese communist army orders a peasant to look after a much-needed dairy cow during the harsh winter of 1940, when China was fighting Japan.
Tsai Ming-liang’s Visage / Face, which was up for a Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, garnered five nominations, including best film and best director. In Face, a Taiwanese director (Lee Kang-sheng) travels to the Louvre to shoot a film about the myth of Salome. Also in the cast: Fanny Ardant, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Nathalie Baye, and Laetitia Casta.
Zhou Xun in The Message
Another entry with five nominations was Chen Kuo-fu and Gao Qunshu’s espionage thriller The Message, which earned best actress nods for both Zhou Xun (2006 Golden Horse winner for Perhaps Love) and Li Bingbing.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha star Zhang Ziyi is up for a best supporting actress award for Chen Kaige’s popular Forever Enthralled, the biopic of Peking opera singer Mei Lanfang (played by Lai Leon, who went nominationless).
The 2009 Golden Horse winners will be announced on Nov. 28.
European Film Awards 2009: First Feature Nominees
At the 2009 Zurich Film Festival, the European Film Academy has announced this year’s nominations for the European Discovery Award for best first film. The nominees are:
AJAMI, Germany / Israel
Winner of the Israeli Film Academy’s best picture award, Ajami is set in the mean streets of the occupied territories.
written & directed by Scandar Copti & Yaron Shani
produced by Mosh Danon, Thanassis Karathanos & Talia Kleinhendler
GAGMA NAPIRI (The Other Bank), Georgia / Kazakhstan
After finding his mother with a lover, a pre-teen boy travels back home to Abkhazia in search of his father.
directed by George Ovashvili
written by Nugzar Shataidze
produced by George Ohashvili & Sain Gabdullin
KATALIN VARGA, Romania / UK / Hungary
A woman and her son are on the run from the police (or from more sinister forces) in rural Romania.
Written & directed by Peter Strickland
produced by Tudor Giurgiu, Oana Giurgiu & Peter Strickland
SOIS SAGE (BE GOOD), France / Denmark
A young woman with a mysterious past assumes a new identity in the south of France. Problems arise when she becomes obsessed with a musician.
written & directed by Juliette Garcias
produced by Marianne Slot
SONBAHAR (Autumn), Turkey / Germany
In Autumn, a young ex-con returns to his village where he finds only loneliness and a sense of aimlessness – until a fateful meeting with a Georgian prostitute.
written & directed Özcan Alper
produced by F. Serkan Acar & Kadir Sözen
This year’s nominations were determined by a committee comprised of Board Members Pawel Pawlikowski (UK), Els Vandevorst (the Netherlands), and Pierre-Henri Deleau (France); in addition to Jacob Neiiendam (Denmark), director of the film festival CPH:PIX, as well as film journalists Dana Linssen (the Netherlands) and Alin Taciyan (Turkey), both of them members of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics).
The nominated films will now be made available to all 2,000 members of the European Film Academy. The winner will be announced at the 2009 European Film Awards on 12 December in Germany’s Ruhr Metropolis (that’s in Bochum, not far from Dortmund and Essen).