'Blue is the Warmest Color' stars snubbed in EFA nods, as Knightley and Watts score

Posted by · 10:50 am · November 9th, 2013

Well, in the heated war of words between the director and stars of “Blue is the Warmest Color,” the European Film Awards have (albeit probably not intentionally) taken a side. In this afternoon’s nominations announcement, Abdellatif Kechiche came away with two nods for Best Film and Best Director, but Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux were both left out of the Best Actress category — a shock for a film that’s so performance-driven. (Still, it’s something of a surprise to see the film nominated at all, given that it wasn’t on the initial longlist of eligible titles announced in September.)

The Palme d’Or winner was, in fact, outshone by several other other titles in the nominations list. Somewhat unexpectedly, Belgium’s Oscar entry “The Broken Circle Breakdown” came out on top with five nominations — the only film to score in all the major categories. A profoundly moving tale of a musical couple rocked by their young daughter’s terminal illness, it should now (in absence of the “Blue” girls) be regarded as the frontrunner for Best Actress for Veerle Baetens’ devastating performance, though it could surprise further. I’m increasingly thinking it’s a force to be reckoned with in the Oscar race too.

Scoring four nominations — a drawing level for the lead, when you count its previously announced editing award — is Italy’s Oscar entry, “The Great Beauty.” Paolo Sorrentino’s Fellini-referencing ode to Roman decadence and decay seems to be the favorite for the top honors, though this year there’s no obvious, “Amour”-style sweeper. In a good year for Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore’s romantic mystery “The Best Offer” also landed a Best Film nod, while the category is rounded out by Spain’s flamenco-ized Snow White riff “Blancanieves” (last year’s Oscar submission) and Germany’s sharp hipster comedy “Oh Boy!” (somewhat contentiously, though probably strategically, not entered in the Oscar race).

François Ozon’s delightful black comedy “In the House” was probably just edged out of the top race, given that it scored a lone director bid, as well as nominations for Best Actor and Best Screenplay.

The Best Actress category brings a bit of Hollywood luster to the awards — also edging out the “Blue” stars are British-born Naomi Watts (for “The Impossible,” fortunately, not “Diana”) and Keira Knightley for “Anna Karenina.” The EFA voters were evidently quite fond of last year’s divisive Tolstoy adaptation, given that they also nominated Jude Law for Best Actor and Tom Stoppard for Best Screenplay, while it has already has a win for Best Production Design in the bag.

“Anna Karenina” is also the only British film to feature in the nominations, with such critical favorites as “Berberian Sound Studio” and “The Selfish Giant” among the eligible films left on the sidelines. They’re in pretty good company, at least: “Borgman,” “A Hijacking,” “Stranger by the Lake,” “What Richard Did” and last year’s Oscar nominee “Kon-Tiki” all failed to score a single nomination between them.

The European Film Awards will be presented in Berlin on December 7; I will, once more, be in attendance. Check out the full list of nominees on the next page. 

Best European Film
“The Best Offer” (Italy)
“Blancanieves” (Spain/France)
“Blue is the Warmest Color” (France)
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Belgium)
“The Great Beauty” (Italy/France)
“Oh Boy!” (Germany)

Best European Director
Giuseppe Tornatore, “The Best Offer”
Pablo Berger, “Blancanieves”
Abdellatif Kechiche, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
Felix van Groeningen, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”
Paolo Sorrentino, “The Great Beauty”
François Ozon, “In the House”

Best European Actress
Veerle Baetens, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”
Luminita Gheorghiu, “Child’s Pose”
Keira Knightley, “Anna Karenina”
Barbara Sukowa, “Hannah Arendt”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

Best European Actor
Johan Heldenbergh, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”
Jude Law, “Anna Karenina”
Fabrice Luchini, “In the House”
Tom Schilling, “Oh Boy!”
Toni Servillo, “The Great Beauty”

Best European Screenwriter
Tom Stoppard, “Anna Karenina”
Giuseppe Tornatore, “The Best Offer”
Carl Joos and Felix van Groeningen, “The Broken Circle Breakdown”
Paolo Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello, “The Great Beauty”
François Ozon, “In the House”

Best European Comedy
“I’m So Excited!” (Spain)
“Love is All You Need” (Denmark)
“The Priest’s Children” (Croatia/Serbia)
“Welcome, Mr. President!” (Italy)

Previously announced:

Best European Animated Film
“The Congress”

Best European Documentary
“The Act of Killing”
“The Missing Picture”

Best European Discovery (FIPRESCI Prize)
“Call Girl” 
“Eat Sleep Die” 
“Oh Boy!” 
“The Plague”

Best European Cinematographer
Asaf Sudry, “Fill the Void”

Best European Editor
Cristiano Travaglioli, “The Great Beauty”

Best European Production Designer
Sarah Greenwood, “Anna Karenina”

Best European Costume Designer
Paco Delgado, “Blancanieves”

Best European Composer
Ennio Morricone, “The Best Offer”

Best European Sound Designer
Matz Müller and Erik Mischijew, “Paradise: Faith”

Best European Short Film
“Butter Lamp”
“Death of a Shadow”
“House With Small Windows”
“Nuclear Waste”
“Orbit Ever After”
“A Story for the Modlins”
“Sunday 3”
“Though I know the River is Dry”
“The Waves”

Comments Off on 'Blue is the Warmest Color' stars snubbed in EFA nods, as Knightley and Watts score Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: HitFix · In Contention