English-Language ‘Anthropoid,’ ‘A Prominent Patient’ Dominate Czech Lion Nominations

Sean Ellis, Anthropoid
Courtesy of Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

Anthropoid,” an English-language film based on the assassination of a Nazi officer in wartime Prague, and local biopic “A Prominent Patient” (“Masaryk”) dominated the Czech Lion Awards nominations, earning 12 and 14 nods respectively, including best film. Both films were eligible for nominations in 14 of 15 categories overall.

“Anthropoid’s” British director, Sean Ellis, personally received nominations in four categories: best director, best screenplay (shared with co-writer Anthony Frewin), best photography and, as he also served as a producer, best film.

Cillian Murphy was nominated for best actor for his performance as Czech resistance fighter Josef Gabcik, and Jamie Dornan was nominated as best supporting actor playing Gabcik’s comrade in arms Jan Kubis. Both actors are Irish.

“Anthropoid” (pictured) only missed out on nods in the best actress and supporting actress categories, with no recognition for Czech actress Anna Geislerova or Canada’s Charlotte Le Bon who play the female leads, and in the best documentary category, for which it wasn’t eligible. Additional nominations included for best editing, sound, music, art direction, costumes and makeup.

The film, which was supported by the Czech State Cinematography Fund and is a Czech-UK-French co-production, tells the true story of the mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in May 1942 and its aftermath. Code-named Operation Anthropoid, it was the only successful assassination attempt on a senior Nazi commander during World War II.

“A Prominent Patient,” a biopic of Czech diplomat and politician Jan Masaryk which opens in the Czech Republic in March, scored the most nominations overall with 14. The film was nominated in all eligible categories except best actress but saw two nominations in best supporting actor with both Oldrich Kaiser and Hanns Zischler going up against Dornan. (It was ineligible for best documentary.) Lead actor Karel Roden will compete not only against Murphy for best actor but against himself, having also been nominated for his role in Petr Vaclav’s drama “We Are Never Alone.”

“Anthropoid” and “A Prominent Patient” will compete for both best film and best director awards against “I, Olga Hepnarova,” directed by Tomas Weinreb and Petr Kazda, about the 22-year-old mass murderer who drove a truck into a group of innocent people in Prague in 1973; Olmo Omerzu’s darkly comic domestic drama “Family Film,” about parental negligence and youthful irresponsibility; and Jan Hrebejk’s “The Teacher,” about the impact on a Bratislava school in 1983 of a new teacher with strong connections in the Communist Party.

The nominations were announced Wednesday. The 24th Czech Lion awards take place on March 4.