No favorite for Euro prize

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Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or-winning abortion drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," Paul Verhoeven's World War II thriller "Black Book" and Sam Garbarski's dark comedy "Irina Palm" are among the titles the European Film Academy has selected in its initial list of nominees for this year's European Film Prize.

The 1,800 members of the EFA will use the list of 42 films to select the nominees in seven main categories. The noms will be announced Nov. 3 at the Sevilla Film Festival.

The 2007 EFA long list is a typical catch-all of the critically acclaimed and/or financially successful European productions of the past year.

Big-budget productions including Olivier Dahan's Edith Piaf bio "La Vie en Rose" and Tom Tykwer's literary adaptation "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" butt up against such art house fare as Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's "Import Export" and Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev's "The Banishment."

Unlike previous years, there is no clear-cut front-runner despite the presence of "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland" — both of which featured Oscar-winning lead performances — on the nominations list.

In another departure, no one European country dominates the selections. No nation — including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., which produce the bulk of films in Europe — has more than three films on the list.

Another interesting development is the rise of Central and Eastern Europe: Some of the most talked-about films come from the EU's newest members, including Mungiu's "4 Months," Serbian thriller "The Trap" by director Srdan Golubovic and Jiri Menzel's Czech-language drama "I Served the King of England."

The winners of the 20th annual European Film Awards will be unveiled Dec. 1 in Berlin.

A full list of European Film Award nominees can be found at hollywoodreporter.com.
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