‘A Prophet’ dominates European Film Award nominations

Posted by · 7:19 am · November 7th, 2009

Tahar Rahim in A ProphetIs “A Prophet” gradually stealing awards-season momentum from “The White Ribbon?” (It’s the superior film, if you ask me.) Too soon to say, of course, but it certainly came out on top in this morning’s European Film Award nominations.

Jacques Audiard’s searing chronicle of French prison gangs leads the field with six nominations, to four for Michael Haneke’s German Palme d’Or winner. The two films, seen by many pundits as the chief contenders for the foreign-language Oscar, also appear to be the frontrunners here, continuing a rivalry that started way back in May at Cannes.

Also beating “Ribbon”‘s total, with five nods (six, if you include the People’s Choice Award), is “Slumdog Millionaire,” which didn’t make last year’s cut-off date. The film’s popularity clearly still lingers (to the point that it even eked out a Best Actor nod for Dev Patel, ahead of, say, Michael Fassbender), though I sense its moment has passed.

(More discussion, and a full list of nominees, after the cut.)

Two other holdovers from 2008 in the mix are “Let the Right One In” and “The Reader,” the latter looking, for my money, rather dwarfed by its formidable Best Film competitors. The fading memory of the Swedish horror hit, meanwhile, is surely responsible for its otherwise meager showing, with a particularly surprising snub for Best Cinematography.

Meanwhile, I’m delighted to see three key nominations for “Fish Tank,” which is really having a marvelous run, while “Antichrist” overcame its divided reception to score a trio of nods too, including a Best Director bid for Lars von Trier.

Meanwhile, the films’ respective stars, Katie Jarvis and Charlotte Gainsbourg, are unsurprising (and richly deserving) nominees for Best Actress. They may well be the ones to beat, though Kate Winslet is not to be counted out — Helen Mirren also triumphed here, more than nine months after her Oscar win, for “The Queen.”

Penelope Cruz is probably just happy to be there, given that the EFA clearly didn’t warm to “Broken Embraces” as they did Almodóvar efforts; although the Spanish auteur managed a Best Director nod, it’s his first film since 1995’s “The Flower of My Secret” to miss out in the top category.

Notable omissions in the Best Actress lineup include Audrey Tautou for “Coco Before Chanel” (which managed only tech nods and a People’s Choice mention) and, more surprisingly, Giovanna Mezzogiorno in “Vincere” (for which her less-hyped co-star Filippo Tilmi managed a Best Actor nod).

By contrast, the Best Actor contest looks less feisty, as breakout “A Prophet” star Tahar Rahim shouldn’t have too much trouble seeing off some rather weak competition. (Moritz Bleibtrau? Really?) It is interesting, however, that David Kross — for my money, the strongest lead in “The Reader” — finally gets some notice here after being blanked throughout the previous awards season.

One should, of course, be wary of building Oscar hopes upon the EFA nominees. Last year, “Gomorrah” swept the board, while Kristin Scott Thomas took Best Actress … and we all know now how that turned out. But I love the EFAs for maintaining their own identity in the increasingly samey world of precursors — it’s annually a place where some of my favorite films of the year are given center stage for a change, and this year is no exception.

Hell, how many other year-end awards ceremonies can you name where Haneke, Von Trier and Audiard get to do battle? The ceremony takes place on December 12 in Bochum, Germany. Full list of nominees below.

Best Film
“Fish Tank”
“Let the Right One In”
“A Prophet”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“The White Ribbon”

Best Director
Lars von Trier, “Antichrist”
Pedro Almodóvar, “Broken Embraces”
Andrea Arnold, “Fish Tank”
Jacques Audiard, “A Prophet”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Michael Haneke, “The White Ribbon”

Best Actor
Moritz Bleibtrau, “The Baader Meinhof Complex”
Steve Evets, “Looking for Eric”
David Kross, “The Reader”
Dev Patel, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Tahar Rahim, “A Prophet”
Filippo Timi, “Vincere”

Best Actress
Penélope Cruz, “Broken Embraces”
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Antichrist”
Katie Jarvis, “Fish Tank”
Yolande Moreau, “Séraphine”
Noomi Rapace, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Kate Winslet, “The Reader”

Best Screenwriter
Gianni di Gregorio, “Mid-August Lunch”
Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, “A Prophet”
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Michael Haneke, “The White Ribbon”

Best Cinematographer
Christian Berger, “The White Ribbon”
Anthony Dod Mantle, “Antichrist” and “Slumdog Millionaire”
Maxim Drozdov and Alisher Khamidkhodzaev, “Paper Soldier”
Stéphane Fontaine, “A Prophet”

Prix d’Excellence (Technical Achievement)
Waldemar Pokromski (makeup and hair), “The Baader Meinhof Complex”
Catherine Leterrier (costume designer), “Coco Before Chanel”
Brigitte Taillandier, Francis Wargnier, Jean-Paul Hurier & Marc Doisne (sound design), “A Prophet”
Francesci Calvelli (editor), “Vincere”

Best Composer
Alberto Iglesias, “Broken Embraces”
Alexandre Desplat, “Coco Before Chanel”
Jakob Groth, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Johan Söderqvist, “Let the Right One In”

People’s Choice Award
“The Baader Meinhof Complex”
“Broken Embraces”
“Coco Before Chanel”
“The Duchess”
“Fly Me to the Moon”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Let the Right One In”
“Mid-August Lunch”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“The Transporter 3”

Best European Discovery
“Be Good”
“Katalin Varga”
“The Other Bank”

Best Animated Feature Film
“Mia and the Migoo”
“Niko and the Way to the Stars”
“The Secret of Kells”

Best Documentary
“The Beaches of Agnes”
“Below Sea Level”
“Burma VJ”
“Cooking History”
“The Damned of the Sea”
“The Heart of Jenin”
“The Sound of Insects”
“The Woman With the Five Elephants”

Best Short Film
“Between Dreams”
“Die Leiden Des Herrn Karpf: Der Geburtstag”
“The Glass Trap”
“Good Night”
“The Herd”
“Peter in Radiolande”
“Poste Restante”
“Swimming Lesson”
“Tile M for Murder”
“Was Bleibt”

→ 16 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

16 responses so far

  • 1 11-07-2009 at 7:31 am

    j said...

    Probs not much of a precursor for major categories given past winners, but interesting nonetheless on its own merits. Hope Slumdog doesn’t win a bunch as that’d be pointless.
    Docs – Agnes & Burma have great reception here; Defamation I’ve heard some buzz about.
    Wtg – Ribbon Prophet
    Actress – I wonder if Cruz, Gainsbourg, or Jarvis have any chance. Lol if Winslet wins.
    Director – Nice to see a female. Ribbon Prophet. Given agreement w/Pic, looks like Fish Tank is this year’s 3rd choice.

  • 2 11-07-2009 at 7:36 am

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, snubbed in Writing and Cinematography.

  • 3 11-07-2009 at 7:36 am

    geha714 said...

    Martina Gedeck was robbed. She was fantastic as Ulrike Meinhof.

  • 4 11-07-2009 at 8:30 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    J: Granted, I wouldn’t vote for “Slumdog” from this lot of nominees, but why would it be “pointless” to reward it here?

    The ceremony’s “point” is to honor outstanding achievement, not to pre-empt the Oscars.

  • 5 11-07-2009 at 8:38 am

    Jim T said...

    Is A Prophet hard to watch? Because although I want to see Hunger for example, I am reluctant because it might be too upsetting for me.

  • 6 11-07-2009 at 8:53 am

    tdr said...

    @ Jim T: it’s not that hard to whatch. It’s gripping and interesting. And honestly it doesn’t feel 2h 30min. It goes easily. But then again if it’s not our genre, you might find it hard to watch.
    But regardless it’s a great movie and you should see it.

  • 7 11-07-2009 at 9:05 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Depends what you mean by “hard to watch,” Jim. It is a brutal, sometimes bloody piece of work, but it’s also a warm, relatable and often very funny character study. It’s no “Funny Games,” that’s for sure.

    Bottom line: if you’re serious about cinema, you have to see it. Same goes for “Hunger.”

  • 8 11-07-2009 at 9:32 am

    Jim T said...

    I didn’t have a problem with “Funny Games” so I guess I’ll be OK. Thanks everyone :)

  • 9 11-07-2009 at 10:21 am

    Sonia W said...

    ” The film’s popularity clearly still lingers (to the point that it even eked out a Best Actor nod for Dev Patel, ahead of, say, Michael Fassbender), though I sense its moment has passed.”

    It is the Baftas 09 again!

  • 10 11-07-2009 at 10:23 am

    Simon Warrasch said...

    My Choice:

    Best Picture:

    A Prophet (Winner)
    The White Ribbon (Runner up)

    Best Director:

    Jaques Audiard – A Prophet (Winner)
    Michael Haneke – The White Ribbon (Runner up)

    Best Actor:

    Tahar Rahim – A Prophet (Winner)
    Steve Evets – Looking for Eric (Runner up)

    Best Actress:

    Charlotte Gainsbourg – Antichrist (Winner)
    Katie Jarvis – Fish Tank (Runner up)

    Best Screenplay:

    Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, “A Prophet” (Winner)
    Michael Haneke – The White Ribbon (Runner up)

    Best Cinematography:

    Anthony Dod Mantle, “Antichrist” and “Slumdog Millionaire” (Winner)
    Christian Berger – The White Ribbon (Runner up)


    Martina Gedek – The Baader Meinhof Complex
    Johanna Wokalek – The Baader Meinhof Complex & Die Päpstin
    Michael Fassbender – Fish Tank

  • 11 11-07-2009 at 10:50 am

    red_wine said...

    It is so disappointing to see even Europe flip for Slumdog, where it did not get as good reviews as USA and UK. And Dev Patel for Best Actor?? Really? Its disappointing to term certain nominations as ludicrous when so much good taste and judgement has prevailed all around. But what measure does Dev Patel’s acting(?) qualify as worthy of laurels.

    Dunno how this award works but maybe the British vote propelled Slumdog to nominations here. The Reader is less surprising because it was actually a hit in Europe specially in Germany. Mezzogiorno’s absence is weird. She was the almost favorite to win in Cannes until Gainsbourg won. I guess Gainsbourg will win this then also go on to win the Caesar maybe.

    But Cannes seems to have thrown up the really great trio of The White Ribbon, A Prophet & Fish Tank this year. There is complete consensus and inexhaustible praise for these 3 films from all quarters.

  • 12 11-07-2009 at 11:20 am

    Joel said...

    What the frick is “Transporter 3” doing there?

  • 13 11-07-2009 at 11:24 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    People’s Choice, Joel ;)

    Instead of dwelling on the negative, let’s highlight how remarkable it is that “the people” also chose “Let the Right One In,” shall we?

  • 14 11-07-2009 at 2:00 pm

    John said...

    The list of the people’s choice award is really really disgusting… eww….

  • 15 11-07-2009 at 8:15 pm

    slayton said...

    Boring nominees. I was hoping to see some love for Krystyna Janda or Ursula Werner or Andreea Bosneag or Barbara Sarafian.

  • 16 11-10-2009 at 11:46 am

    Marvin said...

    The Flower of my Secret is one of my favorite Almodovar movies! Figures.. I still hold hope that I will like Los abrazos rotos despite its generally cold reaction.