Low-Budget 'Oh Boy' Beats Epic 'Cloud Atlas' at German Film Academy Awards

Oh Boy Film Still - H 2012

Oh Boy Film Still - H 2012

Barbara Sukowa takes Best Actress for "Hannah Arendt" while Werner Herzog receives a lifetime achievement honor.

BERLIN – Oh Boy, a low-budget black and white film from first time director Jan-Ole Gerster, has beaten the $100 million epic Cloud Atlas to win Best Film at the Lolas, Germany's version of the Oscars.

This year the awards were set up as a David vs. Goliath battle between the epic Cloud Atlas with its cast of Hollywood stars -- including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Hugh Grant -- and Oh Boy, a low-budget drama from a first-time director.

In the end, it was a draw. Oh Boy took the top honors, including best film, best director for first-timer Gerster and best actor for star Tom Schilling, for his pitch-perfect performance as an aimless twenty-something wandering the streets of Berlin. Gerster also took the best screenplay Lola for his nearly plotless script, which plays out over a single day. Oh Boy's jazz-heavy soundtrack also snatched the Lola for best score (for singer/songwriter Cherilyn MacNeil and the band The Major Minors)

But Cloud Atlas nearly swept the technical awards, winning for best cinematography (for John Toll and Frank Griebe), production design (Uli Hanisch and Hugh Bateup), make up (Daniel Parker and Jeremy Woodhead), costumes (Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud) and editing (Alexander Berner). 

One of the few tech categories not to go to Cloud Atlas was for best sound design, which went to Christian Bischoff, Uwe Haußig and Johannes Konecny for their evocative soundscape to Julian Roman Pölsler's psychological drama The Wall.

Veteran German performer Barbara Sukowa won what was arguably the most competitive category, the Lola for Best Actress, for her depiction of philosopher Hannah Arendt, coiner of the expression "the banality of evil", in the biopic of the same name from Margarethe von Trotta.

Hannah Arendt also won the runner-up Silver Lola for best film for producers Bettina Brokemper and Johannes Rexin of Cologne-based Heimatfilm.

Another vet, Michael Gwisdek, won in the Best Supporting Actor category as an aging barfly in Oh Boy, beating his own son, Robert Gwisdek, nominated in the same category for his role in Nina Grosse's The Weekend. Dad paid tribute to son in his acceptance speech, saying it was Robert's advice to play down his sometimes over-the-top style that led to his award-winning performance.

Christine Schorn won the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her role as a dying matriarch in the tragicomedy Das Leben Ist Nichts Für Feiglinge (Life is not for Cowards).

The Lola for Best Children's Film went to Leo Khasin's Kaddisch for a Friend, which tells of the unlikely friendship between an elderly Jewish man and a Palestinian boy in Berlin.

Markus Imhoof's More Than Honey, a look at the phenomenon of dying honeybees worldwide, won the prize for best documentary.

The Bronze best film Lola went to Lore, the German-language WWII drama from Australian director Cate Shortland.

The Audience Award, voted on by the German public, went to Schlussmacher, a romantic comedy co-directed and starring local box office king Matthias Schweighöfer.

Legendary German director Werner Herzog was honored with an arguably long-overdue lifetime achievement award.

"Don't misunderstand. I'm not retiring. I have several projects in development," said the Oscar-nominated filmmaker after the audience's thunderous applause finally died down. "I've always had the privilege to work with the best. The best actors, the best cameramen, the best musicians, the best editors. I accept this prize in their honor."

The 2013 Lola Awards, held at the Friedrichstadt Palast in Berlin Friday night, come with nearly $4 million (€2.955 million) in prize money for the winners and nominees, money that has to be invested in future films.

Full list of 2013 German Film Award Winners

Best Film - Lola in Gold
Oh Boy
Producers: Marco Kantis, Alexander Wadouh

Best Film - Lola in Silver
Hannah Arendt
Producers: Bettina Brokemper, Johannes Rexin

Best Film - Lola in Bronze
Producers: Karsten Stöter, Benny Drechsel and Liz Watts

Best Children's Film
Kaddisch for a Friend
Producers: Martin Bach, Sigrid Bach and Martin Bach

Best Documentary
More Than Honey
Producers: Thomas Kufus, Helmut Grasser, Pierre-Alain Meier

Best Director
Jan Ole Gerster for Oh Boy

Best Actress
Barbara Sukowa for Hannah Arendt

Best Actor
Tom Schilling for Oh Boy

?Best Supporting Actress
Christine Schorn for Das Leben Ist Nichts Für Feiglinge

Best Supporting Actor
Michael Gwisdek for Oh Boy

Best Screenplay
Jan Ole Gerster for Oh Boy

Best Cinematography
John Toll, Frank Griebe for Cloud Atlas

Best Editing
Alexander Berner for Cloud Atlas

Best Production Design
Uli Hanisch, Hugh Bateup for Cloud Atlas

Best Costume Design
Kym Barrett, Pierre-Yves Gayraud for Cloud Atlas

Best Make Up
Daniel Parker and Jeremy Woodhead for Cloud Atlas

Best Score
The Major Minors, Cherilyn MacNeil for Oh Boy

Best Sound Design
Christian Bischoff, Uwe Haußig and Johannes Konecny for The Wall

Audience Award
Schlussmacher Director: Matthias Schweighöfer

Lifetime Achievement Award
Werner Herzog