Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite” scooped the 32nd European Film Awards, winning best film, best comedy and best actress for Olivia Colman who previously won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Anne in the film.
“The Favourite” was leading the nominations along with Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” and Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and A Spy.”
Lanthimos’s tragicomedy had already banked four craft prizes – cinematography, editing, costume design, and hair and makeup.
“Pain and Glory” won best actor for Antonio Banderas, who previously won best actor at Cannes. Ladj Ly’s police brutality drama “Les Miserables,” which won the jury prize at Cannes and is representing France at the Oscars, won the European Discovery award.
Meanwhile, Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” won the European Screenwriter prize. Sciamma, who had won the screenwriting award at Cannes, said she hopes that young screenwriters will get empowered by this recognition, to push for new ideas.”
“Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, which won last year’s European Film Awards for best film, director and screenplay, won this year’s EFA People’s Choice Award.
Juliette Binoche, the prolific French actor who most recently starred opposite Catherine Deneuve in “The Truth,” received the European Achievement in World Cinema award.
“I think art is finding the new, sharing, and finding a new world. I would like to give an advice to young actresses: Choose your films, be responsible for what you’re choosing, because we make a difference,” said Binoche upon receiving the prize from the hands of well-respected filmmaker Claire Denis with whom she worked on several films, including “Let The Sunshine In.”
Werner Herzog, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, said he was glad “there is not such thing than European cinema… I’m glad European solidarity made it possible for small countries to make wonderful films.”
Wim Wenders, who presented Herzog with the award, called the filmmaker a “genius” and a “self-thought inventor of cinema.”
Nominated in four categories, “An Officer and A Spy” didn’t win any prize. The European Film Awards Academy came under fire in recent days for having nominated the film after Polanski was accused of rape by the former actress Valentine Monnier last month.
J’Accuse Polanski, which started out as a hashtag on Twitter following Monnier’s allegations and the subsequent film release in France and has become a women’s rights group, was one of the activist groups to put pressure on the European Film Awards to take away the nominations that Polanski had earned.