'Queen' reigns over EFAs, with 'King' not far behind

'Old Europe' still dominates noms

The nominations for the 2007 European Film Awards held few surprises, with Stephen Frears' "The Queen" reigning over the best in European film with six nominations, including ones for best film and director.

The pretender to "Queen's" throne is Kevin Macdonald's "The Last King of Scotland," which received five EFA noms, including one for best film.

Also in the running for the top prize of European Film 2007 are a bevy of festival favorites, including Cristian Mungiu's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"; Fatih Akin's cross-cultural drama "The Edge of Heaven" and Olivier Dahan's Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie en Rose," all of which received multiple EFA nominations.

The dark horse in the best film race is "Persepolis," the animated feature by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud based on Satrapi's graphic novel.

Beat out in the best picture run but still attracting EFA nominations in the direction, acting and cinematography categories was the mystery thriller "The Unknown," from Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore.

The makeup of the European Film Academy, whose 1,800 members vote for the EFAs, tends to favor productions from Western Europe, and this year's nominations attest to that.

With the notable exception of Mungiu's much-praised "4 Months," only two productions from Eastern or Central Europe made the cut: "Banishment," from Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, and the Serbian musical comedy "Gucha," from Dusan Milic.

Another exception to the dominance of "old Europe" is the Israeli crowd-pleaser "The Band's Visit," which picked up nominations in the European actor and European screenplay categories.

The only other multiple nominee at this year's EFAs is Tom Tykwer's European boxoffice hit "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," which received four nominations, including one in the best European actor section for newcomer Ben Whishaw.

The acting categories are usually the most contested at the EFAs, and — with the possible exception of Oscar-winner Helen Mirren ("The Queen") — there is no obvious front-runner.

On the actors front, Whishaw as "Perfume's" super-scented serial killer goes up against James McAvoy, playing Idi Amin's physician in "Last King of Scotland"; Sasson Gabai as a small-town Israeli bemused by a lost Egyptian military band in "Band's Visit"; Elio Germano growing up to a life of crime in "My Brother Is an Only Child;" Miki Manojlovic's sex shop owner in "Irina Palm"; and French veteran Michel Piccoli in Manoel de Oliveira's "Belle Toujours," a sort-of sequel to Louis Bunuel's 1967 classic "Belle de jour."

Mirren could have a run for her money in the European actress race. Potential spoilers include Marion Cotillard's stunning transformation into Edith Piaf in "Rose," Marianne Faithfull's tongue-in-cheek turn as an aging sex performer in "Irina Palm" and Anamaria Marinca's potrayal of desperation in "4 Months" as a woman trying to get an illegal abortion in communist Romania.

The EFA nominations were announced Saturday at the Seville Film Festival. The winners will be announced Dec. 1 at the 20th European Film Awards in Berlin.A complete list of nominees can be found at hollywoodreporter.com.