Lola awards pure 'Heaven'

Akin's cross-cultural drama earns four German Film nods

German director Fatih Akin proved he's not just the darling of the Festival de Cannes as his cross-cultural drama "The Edge of Heaven" won big at the German Film Awards on Friday night, taking home four Lolas, including best picture, director, editing and a screenplay nod for his script.

It is the second best film Lola for Akin, whose international break-through "Head-On" swept the awards in 2004.

This year's victory is particularly sweet, however. Akin has repeatedly butted heads with the German Film Academy, criticizing the way the academy selects its Lola nominees.

Hoisting his golden statue Friday night, he made reference to the public spat, addressing star Til Schweiger, who recently resigned from the German academy after his boxoffice smash "Rabbit Without Ears" was snubbed in the Lola nominations.

"Just watch Til, we're going to join (the academy) again!" Akin said.

"Heaven," a series of interlocking stories set in Germany and Istanbul, beat out the favorite: the moving drama "Cherry Blossoms" from veteran director Doris Dorrie. In the best film category, Dorrie had to make d0 with the runner-up Silver Lola prize.

But "Cherry Blossoms" star Elmar Wepper did take home the best actor Lola for his role as a widower dying of cancer who travels to Tokyo to fulfill the dream of his dead wife.

German star Nina Hoss added a best actress Lola to her Silver Berlin Bear for her starring role as a woman desperate to escape a violent past in Christian Petzold's mysterious thriller "Yella."

While "Heaven" was an unexpected winner, the biggest surprise of the night was Armin Volckers' funky Berlin blaxploitation comedy "Leroy," which won two Lolas: for best children's or youth film and best score for composer Ali N. Askin.