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I’m Your Man, a sci-fi rom-com from director Maria Schrader, featuring Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens as a German-speaking romance robot, has won the Lola in Gold for best film at the 2021 German Film Prize, Germany’s top film awards.
Schrader, fresh off her Emmy win (for best directing for a limited series in Netflix’s Unorthodox), picked up the best director Lola for I’m Your Man. Schrader and co-screenwriter Jan Schomburg took the best screenplay honor for their I’m Your Man script, an adaptation of a short story by German writer Emma Braslavsky. Maren Eggert, who plays the robot’s no-nonsense human love interest, won the best actress Lola for her performance, a role that has already earned her the best actress Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, where I’m Your Man premiered earlier this year.
For best actor, Stevens lost out to German star Oliver Masucci, of Dark and Look Who’s Back fame, who took the Lola trophy for his turn as legendary director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Oskar Roehler’s Enfant terrible.
The best documentary honor went to Maria Speth for Mr. Bachmann and His Class, a heartwarming portrait of an unorthodox teacher and his sixth-grade students, most of them from immigrant families. The film was another Berlin Festival hit, where it won the Silver Bear jury prize and Berlin’s inaugural festival audience award. Best children’s film went to Byambasuren Davaa’s Mongolian-set Veins of the World.
Lorna Ishema won best supporting actress for Sarah Blasskiewitz’s Ivie wie Ivie, in which she plays an Afro-German searching for her roots after the death of her father. Thorsten Merten took the best-supporting actor Lola for his performance in Curveball, director Johannes Naber’s bitter political satire about the true story of the German government’s involvement in the fake intelligence about weapons of mass destruction used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
In the technical categories, Tides, aka The Colony, Tim Fehlbaum’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama set on a future Earth decimated by environmental disaster, won four Lolas: best visual effects for Denis Behnke, best set design for Julian R. Wagner’s dystopian landscapes, best film score for composer Lorenz Dangel and best hair and make-up for Sabine Schumann. Best costume design went to Tanja Hausner for her period outfits in The Royal Game, Philipp Stölzl’s adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s German literary classic of the same name. Hanno Lentz won the best cinematography Lola for his experimental lensing of another literary adaption: Dominik Graf’s Fabian: Going to the Dogs, adapted from the Erich Kästner novel, with the film also taking best editor honors for Claudia Wolscht.
The best sound design honor was awarded to Pascal Capitolin and Richard Borowski for their work on Enrique Sánchez Lansch’s music documentary A Symphony of Noise.
The 2021 Lola Awards were held in person in Berlin in front of a gala crowd of 1,200 (all either fully vaccinated or freshly-tested), a big change from last year’s online-only event. The German Film Academy, whose 2,100 members picked tonight’s winners, hope the Lolas will help kickstart the local film industry, which is only now emerging from cinema lockdowns imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most German cinemas have reopened but capacity and various other safety restrictions remain in place.
Of this year’s nominees, none is what one could call a box office hit and few will be known to a broader German audience. Simon Verhoeven’s comedy Nightlife, which was not nominated in any of the main categories, but received the Lola for most successful German film of the year, earned a respectable $14 million at the box office, more than all the nominees combined. Even that has much to do with timing: Nightlife was released early last year in Germany before the country went into COVID-19 lockdown.
Full List of 2021 German Film Award Winners
I’m Your Man, producer: Lisa Blumenberg
Mr. Bachmann and His Class, producer: Maria Speth
Best Children’s Film
Veins of the World, producers: Eva Kemme, Ansgar Frerich, Tobias N. Siebert
I’m Your Man, director: Maria Schrader
I’m Your Man, screenwriters: Jan Schomburg, Maria Schrader
Maren Eggert for I’m Your Man
Oliver Masucci for Enfant terrible
Best Supporting Actress
Lorna Ishema for Ivie wie Ivie
Best Supporting Actor
Thorsten Merten for Curveball
Fabian: Going to the Dogs, cinematographer: Hanno Lentz
Fabian: Going to the Dogs, editor: Claudia Wolscht
Best Sound Design
A Symphony of Noise, sound designers: Pascal Capitolin, Richard Borowski
Best Film Score
Tides, composer: Lorenz Dangel
Best Set Design
Tides, set designer: Julian R. Wagner
Best Costume Design
The Royal Game, costume designer: Tanja Hausner
Best Hair and Makeup
Tides, hair and make-up artist: Sabine Schumann
Best Visual Effects
Tides, VFX Artist: Denis Behnke
Most Successful German Film
Nightlife, director: Simon Verhoeven, producers: Max Wiedemann, Quirin Berg
Lifetime Achievement Award
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