'Cold War' Wins Big at 2018 European Film Awards

Courtesy of Protagonist Pictures
'Cold War'

Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white Polish drama took home five trophies, including for best film and best actress for Joanna Kulig.

Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War was the big winner Saturday night at the 31st annual European Film Awards in Seville, Spain, walking away with five awards, including for best director, screenwriter, actress and a technical award announced earlier for editor.

Pawlikowski dedicated his first award of the night to his parents, whose story inspired the black-and-white romantic period drama. Cold War star Joanna Kulig earned best actress honors.

Expectations will now be high for Cold War to follow in the footsteps of Pawlikowski’s previous film, Ida, which went from nabbing five top prizes at the EFAs in 2014 to a foreign-language film Academy Award win two months later. Cold War, which will be released Dec. 21 in the U.S. through Amazon, is representing Poland in the same Oscar category this year.

All of this year’s EFA best film nominees — including Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro, Lukas Dhont’s Girl and Ali Abbasi’s Border — premiered at Cannes, and all, except Happy as Lazzaro, were nominated to represent their countries in the foreign-language film Oscar category. Dogman beat out Rohrwacher's drama to represent Italy at the Academy Awards.

Other favorites going into Saturday's gala did not walk away empty-handed. Italian actor Marcello Fonte was named best European actor for his turn in Matteo Garrone’s drama Dogman, a performance that also earned him a best actor prize at Cannes this year.

The European Discovery Award — Prix FIPRESCI — went to Girl, whose director Dhont dedicated the prize to star Victor Polster and Nora Monsecour, the young trans girl on which the story is based. Of Polster, whose casting in the film elicited critiques among some in the transgender community because he is himself is not transgender and neither is Dhont, the helmer said, “I knew he was going to do that other person justice” in a performance he said showed that “the biggest power of any artist is empathy.”

Dhont had earlier in the day addressed the critiques of his movie at an EFA-sponsored roundtable on gender equality in film: “I think there’s a very important nuance to be made. Yes, we need stories by women told by women ... and yes, we need trans stories told by trans people. But I see cinema as a bridge, I don’t see it as a wall. I think if we are going to limit ... ourselves to only talk about parts of our own identity, I think we are headed in the wrong direction.”

Best animated feature film honors went to Another Day of Life, a pic about a Polish journalist’s harrowing travels through the civil war in Angola.

Luca Guadagnino's gay love story Call Me by Your Name won the People's Choice Award, voted on by European cinemagoers.

As in previous years, politics took center stage at the 2018 European Film Awards, with several presenters and winners calling for European unity and making a few uncomfortable jokes about Brexit, Britain's impending exit from the European Union.

“It rhymes with "sexit," but it’s not sexit at all,” actress Rossy de Palma quipped in her introduction to the night, following EFA chairwoman Agnieszka Holland’s welcome pronouncement: "Today we are here to celebrate our differences, to unite in diversity. Because Europe is not one voice, but a choir of voices.”

"I love Europe, I love Europe," director Armando Iannucci said, simply, as he hoisted his best European comedy trophy for the political satire The Death of Stalin.

Holland and EFA deputy chairman Mike Downey spoke about resisting government oppression, highlighting the cases of imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, whose film The Summer won best European production designer honors this year and who was placed under house arrest for questionable charges. “We stand with Oleg Sentsov,” Downey said. “We stand with Kriill Serebrennikov,” Holland added.

Honorary achievement awards this year went to actor Ralph Fiennes for achievement in world cinema and actress Carmen Maura for lifetime achievement. Costa-Gavras was given the Honorary Award of the EFA President and Board, while Greek producers Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Giorgos Karnavas won the European Co-Production Award, Prix Eurimages.

Reflecting on the history of the awards ceremony on the red carpet heading into the theater, EFA -resident Wim Wenders noted that in the very first edition of the awards in 1988, Maura won the best actress prize for Pedro Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Wenders himself earned best director honors in that first edition for Wings of Desire.

In an emotional tribute to Maura, the German director said, “Tonight I am a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and you are the queen of European cinema.”

The 31st European Film Awards took place at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville. The stage was decorated like a Spanish cafe scene and set to the sounds of flamenco. Award winners were chosen by the more than 3,500 members of the European Film Academy, which includes film professionals from across Europe.

A full list of winners follows.

EUROPEAN FILM
Cold War

EUROPEAN COMEDY
Death of Stalin, Dir. Armando Iannucci

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR
Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War

EUROPEAN ACTRESS
Joanna Kulig for Cold War

EUROPEAN ACTOR
Marcello Fonte for Dogman

EUROPEAN SCREENWRITER
Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War

EUROPEAN DOCUMENTARY
Bergman – A Year in a Life

EUROPEAN SHORT FILM
The Years by Sara Fgaier

EUROPEAN DISCOVERY – Prix FIPRESCI
Girl, Dir. Lukas Dhont

EUROPEAN ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Another Day of Life, Dir. Raul de la Fuente, Damian Nenow

EFA PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
Call Me by Your Name, Dir. Luca Guadagnino

EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER
Martin Otterbeck for U

EUROPEAN EDITOR
Jaroslaw Kaminski for Cold War

EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Andrey Ponkratov for The Summer

EUROPEAN COSTUME DESIGNER
Massimo Cantini Parrini for Dogman

EUROPEAN HAIR AND MAKEUP
Dalia Colli, Lorenzo Tamburini, Daniela Tartari for Dogman

EUROPEAN COMPOSER
Christoph M. Kaiser and Julian Maas for 3 Days in Quiberon

EUROPEAN SOUND DESIGNER
Andre Bendocchi-Alves and Martin Steyer for The Captain

EUROPEAN VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR
Peter Hjorth for Border

EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA
Ralph Fiennes

EFA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Carmen Maura

HONORARY AWARD OF THE EFA PRESIDENT AND BOARD
Costa-Gavras

EUROPEAN CO-PRODUCTION AWARD — Prix Euroimages
Konstantinos Kontovrakis and Giorgos Karnavas