'Gomorra' tops European Film Awards

Five nods include best film, actor and director

COLOGNE, Germany -- "Gomorra," Matteo Garrone's no-holds-barred look at the modern-day Italian mafia, whacked the competition at the 2008 European Film Awards, sweeping the top categories with five trophies including best European film and best European director.

Based on the nonfiction bestseller by Roberto Saviano, "Gomorra" shines a light on the dark underside of the Neapolitan mob. It debuted in Cannes, where it won the Grand Prix and is Italy's nominee for the 2009 foreign-language film Oscar.

Toni Servillo won best European actor for his portrayal of the dapper crime boss Franco, in charge of the lucrative business of disposing of toxic waste in picturesque farmland across the country.

Garrone and Saviano, along with a screenwriting team that included Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio and Massimo Gaudioso, won the EFA screenplay prize, and Marco Onorato took the best cinematographer nod.

Kristin Scott Thomas won best European actress for her stunning performance as a woman released after 15 years in prison in Philippe Claudel's "I've Loved You So Long."

The 2008 People's Choice Award went to "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix," directed by David Yates.

Oscar winner Judi Dench was honored with a EFA lifetime achievement award.

The 21st European Film Awards, presented by the European Film Academy, were held Saturday night in Copenhagen.

A complete list of winners is available on the next page.

Best film

Best director
Matteo Garrone, "Gomorra"

Best actor
Toni Servillo, "Gomorra"

Best  actress
Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long"

Best screenwriter
Maurizio Braucci, Ugo Chiti, Gianni di Gregorio, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso and Roberto Saviano, "Gomorra"

Carlo di Palma European Cinematographer Award
Marco Onorato, "Gomorra"

European Film Academy Prix D'Excellence
Magdalena Biedrzycka for costume design, "Katyn"

Best composer
Max Richter, "Waltz With Bashir"

European Film Academy Critics Award - Prix FIPRESCI
Abdellatif Kechiche, "The Secret of the Grain"

European Film Academy documentary - Prix Arte Rene
"Rene" Dir. Helena Trestikova

European Film Academy short film - Prix UIP
"Frankie" by Darren Thornton

European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
Dame Judi Dench

European Achievement  in World Cinema
Soren Kragh-Jacobsen, Kristian Levring, Lars von Trier, and Thomas Vinterberg

People's Choice Award
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"