Awards to ‘Amelie’

Pic takes 4 prizes including film, director

BERLIN — Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” swept the European Film Awards in Berlin on Saturday, as had been widely predicted.

“Amelie” scooped four prizes including film, director and cinematography. Jeunet also picked up the People’s Choice award for director.

Actor kudos went to Ben Kingsley for his role as a psychotic gangster in the British film “Sexy Beast.”

“After my 10-year association with the (European Film) Academy, I hope you don’t think this was an inside job,” Kingsley quipped as he accepted the prize; the actor is an EFA board member.

French thesp Isabelle Huppert took actress kudos for her portrayal of a masochistic music instructor in Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher.”

Andreas Veiel’s “Black Box BRD,” about West German terrorist Wolfgang Grams and the 1989 murder of Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen by the Red Army Faction terrorist group, won for documentary.

Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic took the screenplay nod for his war pic “No Man’s Land.”

The Academy awarded Ewan McGregor the European Achievement in World Cinema gong for “Moulin Rouge,” citing his diverse work in film. “When I was wee high and dreamed about being in movies, I dreamed about films full of romance and music. (Director) Baz (Luhrmann) gave me the chance to fulfill that dream with ‘Moulin Rouge,’ ” the actor said.

McGregor also accepted the Screen Intl. European Film Award for non-European film, which went to Luhrmann’s musical.

Spanish helmer Achero Manas took the European Discovery Fassbinder award for new talent for his pic about child abuse, “Pellet.”

U.K. filmmaker Toby MacDonald won the European short film prize for “Je t’aime John Wayne.”

The only standing ovation of the 14th awards, held at the Tempodrom, went to the British comedy team Monty Python. Helmers Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam accepted an award for their group, which was honored for lifetime achievements including pics like “Life of Brian,” “Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

People’s Choice awards for actor and actress went to Colin Firth for “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and Juliette Binoche (“Chocolat”), neither of whom were present.

The event’s biggest no show was German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was supposed to open the ceremony. Negotiations between Afghan factions in Bonn kept Schroeder away from the show.

Instead, German Culture Minister Julian Nida-Ruemelin and Academy president Wim Wenders opened the ceremony. Speaking to an audience of about 1,500, Nida-Ruemelin called for greater support of European cinema, which he praised for its cultural diversity.

Recalling the attacks of Sept. 11, Wenders said recent events have reminded filmmakers of their great responsibility. “We must never forget that the films we make help shape the world.”

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