German Film Academy Awards Announce Nominees

Courtesy of X Filme
"The Dark Valley"

German Western "The Dark Valley" leads the pack for this year's Lolas, Germany's Oscars equivalent.

German Alpine Western The Dark Valley is this year's front-runner for the German Film Academy Awards, the Lolas, receiving nine nominations, including for best picture.

The visually stunning genre piece, from Viennese director Andreas Prochaska (an editor on Michael Haneke's Funny Games) stars British actor Sam Riley (On the Road, Control) as a mysterious stranger who arrives at a 19th century Austrian mountain village with revenge on his mind.

Based on a 2010 best-seller by Thomas Willmann, The Dark Valley garnered Lola noms in all the technical categories as well as for best director and a best supporting nom for veteran Austrian actor Tobias Moretti. Film Movement has picked up North American rights to The Dark Valley and plans a limited co-release of the feature with sister label RAM releasing in early 2015.

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Another period drama, Edgar Reitz's Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision, garnered six Lola nominations, including ones for best film and best director. The black-and-white epic is the latest in Reitz's acclaimed Heimat series, which traces the history of the German people.

The German Academy honors, called the Lolas, are the country's top film honor. The German Academy announced this year's nominations on Friday in Berlin.

A surprise nominee this year was the school days comedy Suck Me Shakespeer, which picked up four Lola nominations, including for best picture. Shakespeer was the No. 1 German film last year -- it has earned more than $70 million at the local box office -- but the more art-house-leaning German Film Academy traditionally snubs such mainstream films.

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A comedy of a different sort -- the dark modern-day fairy tale Finsterworld, the feature debut from documentary filmmaker Frauke Finsterwalder -- received four Lola nominations, including for best film, best screenplay (which Finsterwalder co-wrote with her husband, Christian Kracht, based on his own short stories) and a pair of best supporting acting noms: for actress Sandra Huller and for actor Michael Maertens

The other Lola best picture nominees are Georg Maas' GDR spy drama Two Lives -- which made the foreign language Oscar shortlist -- and Love Steaks from director Jakob Lass, which already has a strong festival career behind it, having won awards at both the Max Ophuls and Munich film festivals.

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Another critical favorite, the dark psychological drama Nothing Bad Can Happen from first-timer Katrin Gebbe, was snubbed in the best picture category. But the film, which debuted in Cannes last year, picked up a best director nomination for Gebbe as well as one for best film music.

The winners of this year's Lolas will be announced in Berlin May 9.

The full list:

Best Picture

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision  -- Christian Reitz, producer

Suck Me Shakespeer -- Lena Schomann, Christian Becker, producers

The Dark Valley -- Helmut Grasser, Stefan Arndt, producers

Finsterworld -- Tobias Walker, Philipp Worm, producers

Love Steaks -- Ines Schiller, Golo Schultz, producers

Two Lives -- Dieter Zeppenfeld, Rudi Teichmann, Axel Helgeland, producers

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Best Actress

Carla Juri, Wetlands

Juliane Kohler, Two Lives

Jordis Triebel, Westen

Best Actor

Sascha Alexander Gersak, Five Years

Dieter Hallervorden, Sein letztes Rennen

Hanno Koffle, Free Fall

Best Supporting Actress

Jella Haase, Suck Me Shakespeer 

Sandra Huller , Finsterworld 

Katja Riemann , Suck Me Shakespeer

Best Supporting Actor

Michael Maertens, Finsterworld

Tobias Moretti, The Dark Valley

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Best Screenplay

Suck Me Shakespeer -- Bora Dagtekin, screenwriter

Finsterworld -- Frauke Finsterwalder, Christian Kracht, screenwriters

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision -- Edgar Reitz, Gert Heidenreich, screenwriters

Best Children's Film

Bibi & Tina -- Christoph Daniel, Marc Schmidheiny, Detlev Buck, Sonja Schmitt, producers

Ostwind -- Ewa Karlstroom, Andreas Ulmke-Smeaton, producers

Sputnik -- Marcel Lenz, Guido Schwab, Dorothe Beinemeier, Leontine Petit, Joost de Vries, producers

Best Documentary

Alphabet -- Mathias Forberg, Peter Rommel, producers

Beltracchi – Die Kunst Der Falschung -- Arne Birkenstock, Helmut G. Weber, Thomas Springer, producers

Master of the Universe - Marc Bauder, producer

Best Cinematography

Mr. Morgan's Last Love -- Michael Bertl, cinematographer

The Physician -- Hagen Bogdanski, cinematographer

Run Boy Run -- Daniel Gottschalk, cinematographer

The Dark Valley -- Thomas W. Kiennast, cinematographer

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision -- Gernot Roll, cinematographer 

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Best Editing

Houston -- Anne Fabini, editor

Two Lives -- Hansjorg Weissbrich, editor

Wetlands -- Andreas Wodraschke, editor

Best Set Design

The Dark Valley -- Claus Rudolf Amler, set designer

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision -- Toni Gerg, Hucky Hornberger, set designers

The Physician -- Udo Kramer, set designer

Best Costume Design

Home From Home: Chronicle of a Vision -- Esther Amuser, costume designer

The Dark Valley -- Natascha Curtius-Noss, costume designer

The Physician -- Thomas Olah, costume designer

Best Makeup

The Dark Valley -- Helene Lang, Roman Braunhofer, makeup artists

Run Boy Run -- Kitty Kratschke, Juliane Hubner, makeup artists

The Physician -- Heike Merker, makeup artist

Best Film Music

Ostwind -- Annette Focks, composer

Nothing Bad Can Happen -- Johannes Lehniger, Peter Folk, composers

Finsterworld -- Michaela Melian, composer

The Dark Valley -- Matthias Weber, composer

Best Sound Design

3096 Days -- Michael Kranz, Stefan Busch, Roland Winke, sound designers

The Physician -- Guido Zettier, Max Thomas Meindl, Benjamin Rosenkind, sound designers

The Dark Valley -- Dietmar Zuson, Christof Ebhardt, Tschangis Chahrokh, sound designers