'The Ghost Writer' Inexplicably Wins Six At 2010 European Film Academy Awards

by Oliver Lyttelton
December 6, 2010 2:27 AM
5 Comments
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If there's one thing that Europeans love more than their single currency and topless sunbathing, it's the films of Roman Polanski. Even before his exile on the continent, Polanski was something of a darling in Europe, and even lesser work like "The Ninth Gate" tends to be rapturously received in France and Germany. So it's not entirely surprising that "The Ghost Writer" -- in the opinion of this writer, and a number of others on staff, his worst film since "Pirates" -- picked up the lion's share of honors at Saturday's European Film Academy Awards.

The film took home no fewer than six awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor for Ewan McGregor (one of the few times those words will ever be that close together), best screenwriter - shared between Polanski and co-writer Robert Harris- Best Production Designer for Albrecht Konrad, and Best Composer for Alexandre Desplat.

In happier news, the mostly excellent "Lebanon" picked up two awards, the 'Prix FIPRESCI' for European Discovery, and an award for Giora Bejach's cinematography, while Sylvie Testud deservedly won Best Actress for "Lourdes," Luc Barnier & Marion Monnier won the editing award for "Carlos" and Sylvain Chomet's tremendous "The Illusionist" won the best Animated Feature.

The documentary "Nostalgia De La Luz" and the Polish short "Hanoi-Warszawa" both won their respective categories, while Bruno Ganz picked up a lifetime achievement award, composer Gabriel Yared won the "Achievement in World Cinema" award, and the terrible Jared Leto-led sci-fi drama "Mr. Nobody" won the People's Choice Award. We've said it once, but we'll say it again: democracy doesn't work.

We're fully aware that those of us who hated "The Ghost Writer" are somewhat in the minority, but we find it a little tricky to see the opposing view -- to us, it was a turgid, badly acted (with the exception of the excellent performance from Olivia Williams) and contrived thriller, which coming from anyone except Polanski would have been condemned as a middlebrow potboiler of the worst kind.

With infinitely more deserving films nominated, including "Of Gods and Men," "The Secret In Their Eyes," "Soul Kitchen" and "Carlos," we can't believe the sweeping victory here is anything other than a gesture of solidarity towards the filmmaker after his year of legal difficulties. We'd maybe grudgingly nod at the award for the production design, and possibly even Alexandre Desplat (far from his best work, but when up against Gary Yershon's hideous score for "Another Year," you have to go with the lesser of two evils), but the idea of McGregor taking a home a best actor award is truly baffling. You can check out the full list of winners and nominees below. [Deadline]

EUROPEAN FILM 2010:
BAL (Honey), Turkey/Germany
DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (Of Gods and Men), France
THE GHOST WRITER, France/Germany/UK
LEBANON, Israel/Germany/France
EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (The Secret in their Eyes), Spain/Argentina
SOUL KITCHEN, Germany

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2010:
Olivier Assayas for CARLOS
Semih Kaplanoğlu for BAL (Honey)
Samuel Maoz for LEBANON
Roman Polanski for THE GHOST WRITER
Paolo Virzi for LA PRIMA COSA BELLA (The First Beautiful Thing)

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2010:
Zrinka Cvitešić in NA PUTU (On the Path)
Sibel Kekilli in DIE FREMDE (When We Leave)
Lesley Manville in ANOTHER YEAR
Sylvie Testud in LOURDES
Lotte Verbeek in NOTHING PERSONAL

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2010:
Jakob Cedergren in SUBMARINO
Elio Germano in LA NOSTRA VITA (Our Life)
Ewan McGregor in THE GHOST WRITER
George Pistereanu in EU CAND VREAU SA FLUIER, FLUIER (If I Want to Whistle,
I Whistle)
Luis Tosar in CELDA 211 (Cell 211)

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER 2010:
Jorge Guerricaechevarría & Daniel Monzón for CELDA 211 (Cell 211)
Robert Harris & Roman Polanski for THE GHOST WRITER
Samuel Maoz for LEBANON
Radu Mihaileanu for LE CONCERT (The Concert)

CARLO DI PALMA EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER AWARD 2010:
Giora Bejach for LEBANON
Caroline Champetier for DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (Of Gods and Men)
Pavel Kostomarov for Как я провел этим летом (How I Ended this Summer)
Barış Özbiçer for BAL (Honey)

EUROPEAN EDITOR 2010:
Luc Barnier & Marion Monnier for CARLOS
Arik Lahav-Leibovich for LEBANON
Hervé de Luze for THE GHOST WRITER

EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER 2010:
Paola Bizzarri & Luis Ramirez for IO, DON GIOVANNI (I, Don Giovanni)
Albrecht Konrad for THE GHOST WRITER
Markku Pätilä & Jaagup Roomet for PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (The Temptation
of St. Tony)

EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2010:
Ales Brezina for KAWASAKIHO RŮŽE (Kawasaki’s Rose)
Pasquale Catalano for MINE VAGANTI (Loose Cannons)
Alexandre Desplat for THE GHOST WRITER
Gary Yershon for ANOTHER YEAR

EUROPEAN DISCOVERY 2010- Prix FIPRESCI
LEBANON, Israel/Germany/France
written & directed by Samuel Maoz
produced by Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, David Silber, Uri Sabag, Einat Bickel, Benjamina Mirnik & Illan Girard

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY - Prix ARTE 2010 NOSTALGIA DE LA LUZ (Nostalgia for the Light), France/Germany/Chile Directed by Patricio Guzmán

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY ANIMATED FEATURE FILM 2010 THE ILLUSIONIST by Sylvain Chomet

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY SHORT FILM 2010
HANOI - WARSZAWA (Hanoi – Warsaw), Poland by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz

EUROPEAN CO-PRODUCTION AWARD – Prix EURIMAGES 2010 Zeynep Özbatur Atakan, producer

EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Bruno Ganz, actor

EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA 2010 Gabriel Yared, composer

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD for Best European Film 2010 MR. NOBODY written and directed by Jaco van Dormael produced by Philippe Godeau

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5 Comments

  • oakjoan | February 24, 2011 5:13 AMReply

    I thought Ghost Writer was a wonderful movie. The acting was great (including Pierce Brosnan). The foreboding feeling throughout was chilling and the cinematography was glorious. On the other hand, when one sees some of the films that have won best picture, one realizes that the A.Award means very little. The best film rarely wins and a lot of the time blah movies or even stinkers like The Greatest Show on Earth, Ben Hur, Driving Miss Daisy, Gigi, and most of all Forrest Gump carry home the Oscar. It's quite rare for the actual BEST picture to win the best picture Oscar.

  • tamtam | December 6, 2010 7:14 AMReply

    "The Ghost Writer" DESERVEDLY wins six awards.

    a "topless sunbathing" European

  • Carter | December 6, 2010 5:42 AMReply

    Ghostwriter was great fun.

  • taptup | December 6, 2010 3:25 AMReply

    "we find it a little tricky to see the opposing view"

    LMFAO This, indeed. I can't understand how you call 'The Ghost Writer' "dumb" or "turgid"...and then you say 'Lebanon' is "mostly excellent"!

    Lebanon is one of the dumbest and cheapest examples of how to do a war film, and is way more turgid is its moral approach than Polanski in his exquisitely (and cleverly) superficial and fun thriller.

    A European.

  • sdp | December 6, 2010 2:51 AMReply

    "we find it a little tricky to see the opposing view"

    This. It doesn't even work as a tacky thriller. The worst is when people rave about the final scene and that final shot, which I found particularly ridiculous. So, so dumb. And Brosnan is horrible.

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