'Wave' also likely to catch German awards

BERLIN — The German Film Awards will be handed out Friday, with Dorris Doerrie’s “Cherry Blossoms” the odds-on favorite to win the most Golden Lolas.

Yet the most talked about pic at the event will be one that is not in the running — Til Schweiger’s massive hit “Keinohrhasen” (Rabbit Without Ears).

The schism between arthouse and mainstream has once again moved front and center in the run-up to this year’s show, and it’s never been more contentious in the four years since the German Film Academy took over the Lolas.

With an academy of industry professionals in charge of the Lolas, the hope was that the event would be less exclusive and generate greater interest among film fans and TV auds.

Yet the exclusion of “Keinohrhasen” — the most successful German film of the year with a box office cume of $61 million — has again sparked accusations of elitism and brought the Academy’s role into question.

For its part, the Academy maintains that Schweiger failed to submit the film in time for consideration and that it will gladly consider it for next year’s awards if submitted properly and on time.

Regardless, the fracas has inspired Schweiger to set up his own kudos show with a people’s choice award that aims to include moviegoers and showcase popular movies — unlike the Lolas, which, Schweiger has complained, go to “films that no one has ever heard of.”

The Lolas, which are funded by the federal government and carry monetary prizes of up to $790,000, are not meant to award box office success but rather cultural achievement — a fact that in itself provides a strong case for an independent film award free from political baggage.

Other high-profile films that were ignored by the Academy included Michael Herbig’s animated “Lissi,” Leander Haussmann’s screwball comedy “Warum Maenner nicht zuhoeren und Frauen schlecht einparken” (Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps) and Tobi Baumann’s comedy “Vollidiot” (Complete Idiot), all of which were among last year’s top box office performers.

Doerrie’s “Cherry Blossoms,” about a grieving widower who journeys to Japan, will face off against at least one major box office success for best pic — Dennis Gansel’s politically charged “The Wave,” which has raked in $18.6 million and still remains at the top of the charts after six weeks in release.

Other best pic contenders include Fatih Akin’s ensemble drama “The Edge of Heaven,” Robert Thalheim’s “And Along Come Tourists,” Christian Petzold’s haunting thriller “Yella” and Ralf Westhoff’s comedy “Shoppen.”

58TH GERMAN FILM AWARDS WINNERS

Film

“The Edge of Heaven,” Gold Lola

“Cherry Blossoms,” Silver Lola

“The Wave,” Bronze Lola

Director

Fatih Akin, “The Edge of Heaven”

Script

Fatih Akin, “The Edge of Heaven”

Actress

Nina Hoss, “Yella”

Actor

Elmar Wepper, “Cherry Blossoms”

Supporting Actress

Christine Schorn, “Frei nach Plan”

Supporting Actor

Frederick Lau, “The Wave”

Documentary Film

“Pool of Princesses”

Children and Youth Film

“Leroy”

Cinematography

Benedict Neuenfels, “Liebesleben”

Editing

Andrew Bird, “The Edge of Heaven”

Production Design

Erwin Prib, “Absurdistan”

Costumes

Sabine Greunig, “Cherry Blossoms”

Music

Ali N. Askin, “Leroy”

Sound

Dirk Jacob, Dominik Schleier, Martin Steyer, Pawel Wdowczak, “Trade”

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