Continental kudos

A field guide to Western Europe's top awards illustrate the impact of home-grown heroes

Country: U.K.
Award profile: The British Academy of Film & Television Arts gives award. David Lean, Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, Charles Laughton, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger launched awards in late 1940s under auspices of the British Film Academy, renamed BAFTA in 1976.
Who votes?? 4,500 BAFTA film industry members
Impact: Oscar analysts have watched the BAFTAs closely ever since ceremony date shifted forward in 2001, slipping in between the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
Recent top honorees: “The Aviator” (2005), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2004), “The Pianist” (2003), “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2002), “Gladiator” (2001)
Did you know?? Director David Lean donated royalties from “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Doctor Zhivago” to help keep the award ceremony afloat in early days.

The Cesars
Country: France
Award profile: Academy of Film Arts & Techniques gives out award. Brainchild of French journalist George Crevenne, the first Cesar ceremony took place in 1976, with legendary thesp Jean Gabin presiding over proceedings. Aimed mainly at French-lingo pics.
Who votes?? 3,000 Academy members
Impact: Ceremony has little impact on Academy Awards. A win can, however, boost theatrical prospects in the rest of Europe as well as DVD sales.
Recent top winners: French films: “L’Esquive” (2005), “The Barbarian Invasions” (2004), “The Pianist” (2003), “Amelie” (2002), “The Taste of Others” (2001) Foreign films: “Lost in Translation” (2005), “Mystic River” (2004), “Bowling for Columbine” (2003), “No Man’s Land” (2002), “In the Mood for Love” (2001)
Did you know?? Award takes name from the late artist Cesar Baldaccini , who designed the trophy. It is one of his “compression” sculptures, made from compacted bits of metal.

Country: Italy
Award profile: State-backed Davide di Donatello Organization, presided over by former Venice fest chief Gian Luigi Rondi, runs award ceremony with support of showbiz orgs Anica and Agis. Like the Cesars, they are aimed mainly at local fare.
Who votes?? 1,100 Italian cinema professionals
Impact: Ceremony takes place in March/April. A win, or even a nom, can bolster profile and Euro sales at Cannes.
Recent top winners: Italian films: “The Consequences of Love” (2005), “The Best of Youth” (2004), “Facing Windows” (2003), “The Profession of Arms” (2002), “The Son’s Room” (2001) Foreign films: “Million Dollar Baby” (2005), “The Barbarian Invasions” (2004), “The Pianist” (2003), “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2002), “The Taste of Others” (2001)
Did you know?? Elegant statuette takes its inspiration from Donatello’s statue of a naked warrior, reproduced by luxury jeweler Bulgari. Org has tried to boost star presence at the Rome ceremony — Tom Cruise picked up a lifetime achievement award this year with Katie Holmes in tow, in their first major public outing.

Country: Spain
Award profile: The Spanish Academy for Cinema Arts and Sciences gives award. Late producer Alfredo Matas spearheaded idea of a Spanish Oscar-style academy with support of directors Luis Garcia Berlanga and Carlos Saura. First ceremony took place in 1987.
Who votes?? 1,050 academy members
Impact: Taking place late January/early February, awards help draw attention to Spanish talent among Oscar noms. 2005’s best film “The Sea Inside” went on to clinch Oscar foreign lingo kudos.
Recent top winners: “The Sea Inside” (2005), “Take My Eyes” (2004), “Mondays in the Sun” (2003), “The Others” (2002), “El Bola” (2001)
Did you know?? Pedro Almodovar quit the academy last February, citing disagreement over selection procedure. The internationally celebrated director’s work has only ever won three Goyas: best screenplay for “Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and best director and best film for “All About My Mother.”

Country: Germany
Award profile: Neo-German Film Academy, set up in 2003, took over long-running awards in 2005.
Who votes?? 700 Academy members
Impact: Award will move from July to April/early May in 2006 in an effort to improve box office of nominated pics. 2005 winner “Go for Zucker” notched 300,000 more admissions after victory.
Recent top winners: “Go for Zucker” (2005), “Head-on” (2004), “Good Bye, Lenin!” (2003), “Nowhere in Africa” (2002), “The State I Am In” (2001)
Did you know?? Award got name through reader poll conducted by a local TV/film mag in the 1990s. It’s inspired by Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1981 “Lola” and the 1930s classic pic “The Blue Angel,” starring Marlene Dietrich as Lola Lola.

European Film Awards
Country: pan-European
Award profile: The European Film Awards, formerly known as the Felix, kicked off in 1988. The ceremony is administered by the European Film Academy, launched a year later.
Who votes?? The 20 countries with the highest number of EFA members propose one national film each. A committee drawn from the EFA board and a panel of experts proposes another 20 titles. The Academy’s 1,600 members select three noms for each category. They then vote again on the noms.
Impact: Its late November/early December date keeps its profile of pics high, as many also are submitted for the foreign-language Oscar. A win can help distribution prospects across Europe as well as DVD sales.
Recent top winners: European film: “Head-on” (2004), “Good Bye, Lenin!” (2003), “Talk to Her” (2002), “Amelie” (2001), “Dancer in the Dark” (2000)
Did you know?? The award ceremony alternates between Berlin one year and another European city the next. This year it is in Berlin.

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