‘The Ghost Writer’ leads European Film Award noms

Posted by · 10:17 am · November 6th, 2010

Dear European Film Award nominating members,

You seem to have suffered some form of collective amnesia in recalling the last 12 months of European cinema. So much so that you had to resort to nominating an Argentinian-Spanish co-production (that, let’s face it, everyone thinks of as Argentinian) as one of the continent’s finest this year, despite mentioning it in no other categories.

Allow me to help you. The following are all European films superior to the six you shortlisted in your top category: “Another Year,” “The Illusionist,” “How I Ended This Summer,” “Kawasaki’s Rose,” “White Material,” “Dogtooth,” “Certified Copy,” “Mysteries of Lisbon,” “Four Lions,” “The Mouth of the Wolf,” and so on. And hey, I’m not that high on “I Am Love” either, but are you really saying nothing at all stuck out about it to you? (You only have four cinematography nominees, by the way. Just a thought.)

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

I know you’ve seen the first four on that list, since you grudgingly found room for them in other categories — though I’m not sure Mike Leigh should be all that appreciative of the recognition for his lead actress and composer, when you think even that schlocky Europudding “The Concert” had a better screenplay, or that Sylvain Chomet should be content with an inevitable cakewalk victory in the animated race when minor efforts like “Soul Kitchen” are allowed to play with the big boys. (Your music committee might want to check out Chomet’s score by the way, or least offer an explanation as to how the sledgehammer-subtle strains of the hideous “Loose Cannons” are more worthy of notice.)

As for the rest, let’s be kind and say that you haven’t seen them — though Juliette Binoche’s peak-form, Cannes-awarded performance in “Certified Copy” is a doozy of a turn to miss, and you might feel a tad silly when you catch up with the masterly formal strokes of Claire Denis’s latest and Yorgos Lanthimos’s breakthrough, and remember that the European film you apparently got most excited about in 2010 was a neat, atmospheric but less-than-revelatory Roman Polanski potboiler.

Anyway, laying aside my personal vexation for a moment, “The Ghost Writer” leads the list with seven nominations, and will likely cruise to victory at the EFA ceremony on December 4. After being named the year’s best by FIPRESCI, this consistently underestimated thriller just continues to surprise. As little bearing as these awards have on the American season, I’m feeling ever more tempted to throw it in as a dark-horse Adapted Screenplay prediction.

The full list of nominations:

Best European Film
“The Ghost Writer”
“Of Gods and Men”
“The Secret in Their Eyes”
“Soul Kitchen”

Best European Director
Olivier Assayas, “Carlos”
Paolo Virzi, “The First Beautiful Thing”
Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer”
Semih Kaplanoğlu, “Honey”
Samuel Maoz, “Lebanon”

Best European Actor
Jakob Cedergren, “Submarino”
Elio Germano, “Our Life”
Ewan McGregor, “The Ghost Writer”
George Pistereanu, “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle”
Luis Tosar, “Cell 211”

Best European Actress
Zrinka Cvitešić, “On the Path”
Sibel Kekilli, “When We Leave”
Lesley Manville, “Another Year”
Sylvie Testud, “Lourdes”
Lotte Verbeek, “Nothing Personal”

Best European Screenwriter
Jorge Guerricaechevarría and Daniel Monzón, “Cell 211”
Radu Mihaileanu, “The Concert”
Robert Harris and Roman Polanski, “The Ghost Writer”
Samuel Maoz, “Lebanon”

Best European Animated Feature
“The Illusionist”
“Planet 51”
“Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage”

Best European Documentary
“Nostalgia for the Light”
“Steam of Life”

Best European Cinematographer
Barış Özbiçer, “Honey”
Pavel Kostomarov, “How I Ended this Summer”
Giora Bejach, “Lebanon”
Caroline Champetier, “Of Gods and Men”

Best European Editor
Luc Barnier and Marion Monnier, “Carlos”
Hervé de Luze, “The Ghost Writer”
Arik Lahav-Leibovich, “Lebanon”

Best European Production Designer
Albrecht Konrad, “The Ghost Writer”
Paola Bizzarri and Luis Ramirez, “I, Don Giovanni”
Markku Pätilä and Jaagup Roomet, “The Temptation of St. Tony”

Best European Composer
Gary Yershon, “Another Year”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Ghost Writer”
Ales Brezina, “Kawasaki’s Rose”
Pasquale Catalano, “Loose Cannons”

Best European Discovery (FIPRESCI Prize)
“The Double Hour”
“If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle”
“Nothing Personal”
“When We Leave”

Best European Short
“The External World”
“Hanoi, Warsaw”
“Here I Am”
“Joseph’s Snails”
“The Little Snow Animal”
“Maria’s Way”
“Out of Love”
“Rendezvous in Stella-Plage”
“Stay, Away”
“Talleres Clandestinos”
“Venus vs. Me”

[Photo: Summit Entertainment]

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24 responses so far

  • 1 11-06-2010 at 10:26 am

    Michael said...

    I have never heard of some of these films before (Cell 211, Nothing Personal, When We Leave). Interested to read the commentary once it is posted. This list definitely feels strange but I guess with a different release calender some films qualify from last year. I have a feeling this will have zero baring on the Academy Awards nominations.

  • 2 11-06-2010 at 10:28 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “When We Leave” is Germany’s Oscar submission this year. Reportedly very good. The screener is sitting on my desk as I type this.

  • 3 11-06-2010 at 10:33 am

    Graysmith said...

    Pretty thrilled to see The Ghost Writer getting so much love, especially since it presumably won’t be getting any across the pond.

    Haven’t seen (or even heard of) most of these films, so I can’t make any judgement on the quality of them.. Seems like an off-year for European films (or at least what they chose to nominate), usually there’s more to recognize.

    Pretty pathetic of them to even have an animated film category. It should be a juried thing where it’s awarded to a film, as long as there is any film of high enough quality.

  • 4 11-06-2010 at 10:47 am

    Michael W. said...

    Wonderful to see my prediction of a great showing for The Ghost Writer come true. First Berlin, then the Fipresci award and now this. Wonder if it will continue in the US.

    I’m also thrilled to see Lebanon come in with 6 noms. I had not expected that.

  • 5 11-06-2010 at 10:49 am

    Michael W. said...

    Oh, and by the way. Only two nods for Another Year. First BIFA overlooks it in several categories and now this. Not a great start.

  • 6 11-06-2010 at 10:55 am

    Edward L. said...

    The Secret in Their Eyes? OK, so maybe Spain co-funded it, but does anyone think of that as anything other than an Argentinian film?

    I’m happy for The Ghost Writer, though it’s odd that the one element which I think is a resounding and unqualified success – Pawel Edelman’s cinematography – is snubbed.

  • 7 11-06-2010 at 11:18 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Graysmith: I don’t think anybody could argue these nominations are representative of the year in European cinema. It’s been a great year, but you wouldn’t know it to look at this. I’m mystified.

  • 8 11-06-2010 at 11:32 am

    Michael said...

    haha, I love your commentary Guy. I think you should really write a letter to the EFA committee b/c the points you make are definitely valid.

  • 9 11-06-2010 at 11:38 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I shouldn’t complain too much, I suppose. At least they didn’t nominate Kick-Ass.

  • 10 11-06-2010 at 11:45 am

    /3rtfu11 said...

    OT: I saw “For Colored Girls” and when the Macy Gray sequence (I won’t call it a scene) occurs, you instantly broken into my thoughts. You’re going to love it (her sequence) that is.

  • 11 11-06-2010 at 12:02 pm

    red_wine said...

    I bet even the Academy couldn’t serve up such a slate!

    First of all, what does everyone see in The Ghost Writer? Or are the blinded by the name of its legendary director? The FIPRESCI first named it best film of the year, now this. Whats to say it will not sweep these awards this year.

    I don’t think Of Gods And Men is a great film, well made sure, but there are far better films out there. I think Tournée is far better and is actually my favorite of all the Cannes films I’ve seen thus far this year. Amalric gives a towering performance. Likewise Binoche and Certified Copy seem like bad misses both of which I liked immensely.

    Edgar Ramirez also deserved a mention for Carlos. But great to see George Pistereanu and Elio Germano nominated, both are great performances but the former is downright glorious and one of the year’s very best.

    But yeah honestly I Am Love (absolutely love this film), Dogtooth, A Screaming Man (and many other films) all were robbed to various degrees. Also like I stated earlier, I kinda approve of Another Year’s snubs. Happy-Go-Lucky’s snubs had me up in arms but I’m not gonna have a similar reaction if Another Year suffers a similar fate.

    Guy, aren’t The Ghost Writer and A Screaming Man eligible for the Cesars?

  • 12 11-06-2010 at 12:06 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Not sure — they could be, given the Cesars’ curious workings. But “A Screaming Man” is an African film, as far as I’m concerned.

  • 13 11-06-2010 at 12:15 pm

    Dominik said...

    Guy, you should really take a look at “When we leave”. The movie is dealing with an important social issue here in Germany, and Sibel Kekilli is nothing short of magnificent in the leading role- I´m really happy to see her mentioned. And I do think that she could win “Best Actress”, although Lesley Manville might be the favourite.
    If enough Academy members would see the film, she could even get a Best Actress-nomination- but I´m pretty sure this is wishful thinking.

  • 14 11-06-2010 at 12:21 pm

    Michael W. said...

    To be fair to the EFA, some of the films mentioned – Certified Copy, Dogtooth, White Material, Four Lions, I Am Love – to mention some, were NOT on their longlist. Why, I don’t know. Maybe some were deemed ineligible this year.

    In my opinion, the weirdest thing about these nominations is the Argentinian film in best film (as its only nod). Something seems fishy. To me there’s not much Spain about that one (it’s a great film though!)

  • 15 11-06-2010 at 12:28 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Go ‘Ghost Writer’ go!

    I didn’t even love it all that much. But I enjoyed the performances, the score, and the moodiness of the film. I feel like it deserves some accolades here & there; accolades that will most likely not come during the Oscar award season.

  • 16 11-06-2010 at 2:04 pm

    Ziyad Abul Hawa said...

    Cell 211 is a GREAT movie, which I read in Deadline Hollywood that a remake is in production.

  • 17 11-06-2010 at 2:05 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Dominik: Very much looking forward to checking out When We Leave… it only landed on my doorstep a day or two ago. I hear nothing but good things.

  • 18 11-06-2010 at 2:14 pm

    Eli said...

    Guy, have you seen/heard about Cell 211? I know little about it, but I saw that the local paper last week gave it a glowing 3.5-star review.

  • 19 11-06-2010 at 2:15 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Haven’t seen it. I’ve heard a bit of buzz about it, though — and I know that a lot of people feel Spain should have submitted it for the Oscar.

  • 20 11-06-2010 at 9:32 pm

    The Great Dane said...

    Still crossing my fingers for Olivia Williams making a last-minute surge for her amazing supporting performance in The Ghost Writer…

    My favorite performance of the year!

  • 21 11-07-2010 at 12:47 am

    Everett said...

    We all love criticizing the Academy, but look…almost every other awards body is so much worse.

  • 22 11-07-2010 at 1:43 am

    maurier said...

    “The Screaming Man” was financed by producers from France and Belgium, so it definitely should be nominated as one of the best european movies of the year – just an idea for EFA members for next year’s voting.
    But seriously, two years ago, they nominated in the main category “Happy-Go-Lucky” but now they ignore “Another Year” preferring an Argentinian movie and a German comedy that didn’t impress anyone.

  • 23 11-08-2010 at 7:35 am

    loveantinoo said...

    Cell 211’s actor Luis Tosar appears on the 3 preselected spanish entries for Oscars. It’s now the most relevant actor in Spain, now that Bardem is more enroled into Hollywood. Maybe you remember Tosar from Miami Vice.