Tough times for Satrapi’s “Persepolis”

No one said it would be easy ! Competition is always tough in the World of Cinema and when it comes to Awards you have to bow to the final decision and applause the Winner. That is the rule of the Game and as the French very rightly put it: L’Important C’est de Participer ! aka What counts is to Participate. The 20th annual of the European Academy Awards® held in Berlin announced the list of Awardees in a glittering event. Given the relative young history of the European Academy this Award has a less global prestige than the Annual American Oscars® Ceremony or that of other European Film Festivals such as the Berlin Bear, The Venice Lion D’Or or the French International Cannes film Festival Awards ( Palme d’Or, Prix du Jury, Prix du Festival) it is nevertheless influential in distinguishing the major European films and professionals by delivering a total 17 Silver Statuettes meant to offer a window on the best European Films and enhance cooperation between representatives of European Cinema. In its Recent past, the European Award has also been influential to some degree on the final decisions made by members of the US Oscar® Academy in regard to Oscar® Nominations and Award recipients in Best Foreign Film Category. Last Year for instance the excellent German movie The Life of Others directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was awarded at the European Awards in three categories for Best Film, Best Actor ( given to the late actor Ulrich Mühe ) and Best Direction. The movie was also to be Awarded the 2007 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Where as in 2006 Pedro Aldomovar who was Awarded For the Best Screenplay at Cannes and whose Actress Penelope Cruz was Awarded Best Actress within a Collective female ensemble Cast was only nominated at the Oscars® of 2007 which Went to Hellen Mirren for her role in The Queen. The Latter was also awarded the Best Actress Statue during this year’s European Awards®. You may probably ask why ? And the answer is that the Timing of the European Academy Awards happens to be late in the year as opposed to the American Oscars® held in early February of the same year. As a Result the upcoming Oscars® of 2008 will not necessarily award or nominate films that have been considered in 2007. This can be a happy or unfortunate coincidence given the Timings between the two Award ceremonies and can send paradoxical messages to the US Oscar Academy for its nomination list that are officially announced in the following month of January before the actual ceremony due in February.

That said, an Award is an Award and hence the Winner deserves the Applause regardless of one’s personal preferences. This year’s European Academy Awards® in Best film and Best direction went to the Rumanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days that made headlines last summer for winning the Palm d’Or for its director Cristian Mungiu. Unfortunately The two French films running for Best film that is Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud’s animated film ( which won ) and Olivier Dahan’s La Môme a Bio Epic about French Diva Edith Piaf Starring Marillon Cotillard failed to win any Award at this year’s ceremony despite great international reviews and box office success. It should be added that Persepolis is also running for Best foreign film at the upcoming Oscars® along with other contenders from 63 countries including Rumania’s Palme D’Or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. As for La Môme’s Star Marillon Cotillard she is considered as contender for Best Actress at the Upcoming Oscars®. This is one of the other paradoxes that can appear during the Oscar Ceremonies where the cast and crew in a Foreign film can also be awarded an Oscar® in different categories including Best Actress or Actor while the film itself may not represent her or his country in Best Foreign Film Category.

Whatever the case, this year’s 2007 European Film Awards® Highlights were as follows: Rumanian Cristian Mungiu 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took Best Film and Best Director. German director/actor of Turkish Heritage Fatih Akin received the Award for Best Screenplay as he did in Cannes for The Edge of Heaven. Widely appreciated by German Critics for his 2004 movie Head On which earned him the Golden Bear that year.

British actress Helen Mirren continues to reign for her already widely Awarded performance in Stephen Frears The Queen Israeli actor Sasson Gabai was Awarded Best Actor Award for his role in Eran Kolirin’s The Bands Visit. French New Wave Director Jean-Luc Godard was hailed for his entire Career with an Honorary Award. Entire List of Winners In conclusion: not winning the European Academy Award® is indeed a discouragement for French Productions this year that have been particularly popular and critically acclaimed at World Festivals. The films defended by Marjane Satrapi and co-director Vincent Paronnaud for Persepolis as well as for French Star Marillon Cotillard for her excellent performance in La Mome may have received a momentary blow in their race towards the US Oscars ® next year all the more that no other film as Satrapi’s animated box office hit could be more representative of the good health of the European film Industry in recent years. That said the race is only beginning since the Oscar Academy is yet to announce the entire list of nominations including the 5 films selected in Foreign Film Category on Tuesday , January 22, 2008: at 5:30 a.m. PST, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. So Stayed Tuned and may the Best Win !


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