Euro standouts bask in the glee of Prix V

LONDON — With the last days of 2003 faded to black, it’s time for Eurotrack’s 3rd annual Prix V (for Variety, natch) Awards, spotlighting the year’s distinguished and/or notorious achievements in European showbiz:

  • The Prix Le Carre Award goes to the Hutton Inquiry, that neverending spy-novel scrutiny of who did what to whom and when for what purpose, which in its months-long process managed to obscure the tragedy of the death of defense expert David Kelly while besmirching the reputations of both the BBC and the Blair government.

When the final report is issued, will it dare to properly illuminate the troubling questions about BBC reporting bias or Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction? We’ll keep a spot in next year’s Prix V lineup, just in case.

  • The Prix Petit Plaisir Award goes to Locarno Fest discovery “Mister V,” by young French director Emilie Deleuze.

Exactly the kind of intimate, but riveting film that may not be flashy enough for big success but too much fun for serious cineastes, “Mister V” stands in here for the dozens of wonderful films to come out of Europe in 2003 that may not reach the audiences they deserve simply because of the brutal rules of the cinema game.

  • The Prix Plaisir Prive Award goes to BBC legal drama “Judge John Deed,” from vet scribe G.F. Newman.

The show mixes mature heroes in wigs with mature heroines in robes and all sorts of criminal types, in all sorts of collars — blue, white and lavender — to make an irresistibly purple entertainment.

  • The Prix Comedie Rosbif goes to the U.K. comic talents currently toiling in all fields, including stand-up genderbender Eddie Izzard, the smallscreen’s Ricky Gervais (of “The Office”), the twisted duo behind “Little Britain,” the twisted trio-plus of “League of Gentlemen” and the film hitmeister Richard Curtis, who sent half the critics reaching for poisonous adjectives and the other half, along with audiences, into gentle hysteria with “Love Actually.”

  • The Prix Auteur! Auteur! Award goes to David Mackenzie, helmer of the criminally underseen “Young Adam.”

Special honors also go to producer Jeremy Thomas, who fulfilled Mackenzie’s long-held dream of bringing this Beat Generation classic to the screen; to Warner Bros., which went for quality and long-term filmmaker relationships over the fast buck.

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