Toni Erdmann was snubbed at its premiere in Cannes, at the BAFTAs and, just last month, at the Oscars, where it failed to win in the foreign-language category.
But the German comedy, about a workaholic daughter and her worried, and intrusive, prankster father, looks a shoo-in for the top prize at Germany’s version of the Academy Awards, the Lolas.
Toni Erdmann is the clear Lola favorite following the nominations, unveiled Thursday, with 6 noms, including ones for best film, best director, best screenplay, best editing and, in the acting categories, for stars Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek. Ade also picked up a Lola nomination in the best screenwriting category. Two films: Chris Kraus’ The Flowers of Yesterday, which picked up eight nominations, and Nicolette Krebitz‘ Wild, with seven noms, technically beat out Toni Erdmann, but neither has garnered the universal critical or audience acclaim in Germany of Ade’s film.
In the past, the Lolas have often been dominated by male directors, but this year, three of the four best director nominees were women. In addition to Maren Ade, Anne Zohra Berrached was nominated for her drama 24 Weeks, which looks at the struggle of a young couple contemplating aborting their unborn child, and actress-turned-director Nicolette Krebitz picked up a Lola best director nomination for Wild, a drama about a young woman and her wolf that wowed the critics at its premiere in Sundance last year. Chris Kraus was the only male director to pick up a best directing nomination, for his latest, The Flowers of Yesterday.
Wild, 24 Weeks and The Flowers of Yesterday were also nominated in the best film category, alongside Toni Erdmann, Fatih Akin’s coming-of-age drama Tschick and Welcome to the Hartmanns, a refugee-comedy from director Simon Verhoeven.
German culture minister Monika Grutters noted that she has pushed to have more women among on film subsidy boards, the groups that decide which German films to finance.
“When more woman are on the boards that are making the decisions is a good first step forward,” she said. So far, however, Germany has not gone the way of the Swedish and British film subsidy systems and pushed for a de facto quota for female directors.
The 1,800 members of the German Film Academy will vote on the winners of this year’s Lolas, which will be announced in Berlin on April 28. This year’s lifetime achievement award will go to German editor Monika Schindler, whose work includes Free Fall, Night Shapes and The Policewomen. The Lola for the most commercially successful German film of 2016 will be given to Welcome to the Hartmanns.