'Toni Erdmann' Wins European Film Awards

11:26 AM 12/10/2016

by Scott Roxborough

Maren Ade's German comedy won best film, best director, best screenplay and actor honors for leads Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek.

Andy Kaufman Inspired Germany's Oscar Contender Toni Erdmann-Publicity-H 2016
Courtesy of Komplizen Film/Sony Pictures Classics



In a reverse of the Cannes Film Festival, Maren Ade's German comedy Toni Erdmann beat out Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake to sweep the main categories of the 2016 European Film Awards, taking best film, best director, best screenplay and acting honors for stars Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek.

Ade is the first female director to win best film at the EFAs, now in its 29th year.

Toni Erdmann was snubbed by the Cannes Jury, which gave the Palme d'Or to Loach's social drama. But at the EFAs, Europe's premier film honor, Ade's dramedy won out, winning in every category in which it was nominated. The awards sweep should give a further boost to Sony Pictures Classics' U.S. release, set for Dec. 25. Toni Erdmann is Germany's official entry for best foreign-language film for the 2017 Oscars.

The EFAs honor the best in European cinema from the past year.  Members of the European Film Academy pick their favorites in a slew of categories. The European cinema-going public also voted for the People's Choice Award, which went to Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska for her drama Body, which premiered in Berlin this year.

Former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan received this year's European Achievement in World Cinema honor and gave a moving speech, calling on young filmmakers that "whatever the politics of your nation is, be true to yourself, be bold and go forth!"

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere (Cyrano von Bergerac, The Unbearable Lightness of Being) was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Leontine Petit, one of the producers on The Lobster, received the European co-production award, the Prix Eurimages.

Legendary Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who died in October, was honored with a posthumous prize, the award of the EFA President and Board. The honor has only been awarded three times in the past: to Sir Michael Caine last year, and to two of the EFA's founding members: Manoel de Oliveira and Michel Piccoli.

The technical awards —including editing, cinematography, sound design, score, costume and make-up —were picked by a 7-member expert jury and announced earlier.

A list of winners follows.

  • European Film

    Toni Erdmann (WINNER)


    I, Daniel Blake



  • European Director

    Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann (WINNER)

    Paul Verhoeven, Elle

    Cristian Mungiu, Graduation (Bacalaureat)

    Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake

    Pedro Almodovar, Julieta

  • European Comedy

    A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove) (WINNER)

    Look Who's Back (Er ist wieder da)

    One Man and His Cow (La vache)

  • European Actress

    Sandra Huller, Toni Erdmann (WINNER)

    Isabelle Huppert, Elle

    Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte, Julietra

    Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Like Crazy (La pazza gioia)

    Trine Dyrholm, The Commune (Kollektivet)


  • European Actor

    Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann (WINNER)

    Rolf Lassgard, A Man Called Ove (En man som heter Ove)

    Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

    Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake

    Burghart Klaussner, The People vs. Fritz Bauer (Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer)

    Javier Camara, Truman

  • European Screenwriter

    Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann (WINNER)

    Cristian Mungiu, Graduation (Bacalaureat)

    Paul Laverty, I, Daniel Blake

    Emma Donoghue, Room

    Tomasz Wasilewski, United States of Love (Zjednoczone stany milosci)

  • European Animated Feature Film

    My Life as a Zucchini (Ma via de courgette) (WINNER)

    Psiconautas, the Forgotten Children (Psiconautas, los ninos olvidados)

    The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge)

  • European Discovery — Prix Fipresci

    The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (Hymylieva mies) (WINNER)

    Dogs (Caini)


    Sand Storm

    Thirst (Jajda)

  • European Documentary

    Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) (WINNER)

    21X New York (21X Nowy Jork)

    A Family Affair

    Mr. Gaga

    S Is for Stanley (Trent'anni dietro al volante per Stanley Kubrick)

    The Land of the Enlightened

  • European Short Film

    9 Days - From My Window in Aleppo (WINNER)

    90 Degrees North (90 Grad Nord)

    A Man Returned




    I'm Not From Here (Yo no soy de aqui)

    In the Distance


    Shooting Star

    Small Talk

    The Fullness of Time (Romance) (L'Immense Retour (Romance))

    The Goodbye (El adios)

    The Wall (Le mur)

    We All Love the Sea Shore (Tout le monde aime le bord de la mer)