Why The European Film Awards Will Matter This Year

Melancholia Still-Kirsten Dunst-2011
Magnolia Pictures

For the first time, the EFAs could be a signal for Golden Globes and Oscar Winners.

COLOGNE, Germany - The European Film Awards, the European Film Academy’s Oscar-equivalent, have always been prestigious. But when Europe’s top film honors are handed out in Berlin Dec. 3, the EFAs will be something new: relevant.

For the first time in recent memory, the EFAs could prove an indicator of potential nominees and winners for the really big prizes – the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.

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Because of their place at the end of the calendar, the EFAs have traditionally acted as a final stop on a movie’s award run. So 10 months after thanking the U.S. Academy, Helen Mirren picked up her Euro Film Award for The Queen.

This year, however, the EFA contenders are several of this year’s hottest award season hopefuls, among them Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist, Wim Wenders’ dance documentary Pina and Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre. The EFA actress race contains two of the most talked-about performances of the year: Tilda Swinton’s role as the mother of a school shooter in We Need to Talk About Kevin and Kirsten Dunst for her turn as a depressed bride facing Armageddon in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.  If Dunst were to triumph it would be a sensation.  The actress, who holds a German passport in addition to her U.S. one, would be the first American to win at the EFAs.

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The European Film Awards have a way to go before they are mentioned in the same breath as the Oscars, Globes or even Britain’s BAFTAs. But, this year at least, the world will be watching.