Michael Haneke’s Amour picked up the four top prizes at the 25th European Film Awards in Malta, on a night when Shame and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy each scored a brace of trophies.
- See below for full list of winners
The Austrian director’s love story about an elderly Parisian couple won best European Film, European Director, European Actress for Emmanuelle Riva and European Actor for Jean-Louis Trintignant.
Riva could not attend as she is suffering from a bout of flu but sent an acceptance speech that thanked Haneke for writing a part for an older woman and said: “I am so proud to have done it right.”
Trintignant was also absent but sent a video message in which he said: “I just heard I’m the European champion of 2012. I am deeply touched and I would like to thank my wife who supported me every day and every night.”
At Malta’s grand Mediterranean Conference Centre, Haneke first took to the stage to accept the director award from Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.
Speaking in German, he said: “I would like to speak in my own language to maintain my own identity,” before thanking his wife, main actors and producer.
Shortly after returning to his seat, Haneke was back on stage to accept the European Film trophy and said: “I never thought I would get [another award] so quickly,” before saying thank you in German, French, Spanish and Italian.
His previous film, The White Ribbon, also won EFA’s European Film award in 2009 – having won Cannes’ Palme d’Or earlier that year. Amour also won the Palme d’Or when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.
A co-production between France’s Les Film du Losange, Germany’s X-Filme Creative Pool and Austria’s Wega Film, Amour is Austria’s selection for the Foreign Language category at the Oscars.
Steve McQueen’s sex addict drama, starring Michael Fassbender, picked up the European Editor award for Joe Walker’s work on the UK film, which was shot in New York.
Shame was also honoured with the Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer Award for the work of Sean Bobbitt.
The director of photography, who has just finished working with McQueen again on the upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, said of Shame: “It is in the European tradition of brave, innovative, original scripts – and you let the actors get on with it.”
British Cold War drama Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy also walked away with two prizes.
Alberto Iglesias won the European Composer award for his work on Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carré spy novel
Maria Djurkovic was honoured with the European Production Designer prize for her work on the film and said: “Bloody hell. This is amazing. But I would not be here were it not for the amazing Tomas Alfredson.”
Mirren and Bertolucci
Dame Helen Mirren was given a standing ovation as she took to the stage to accept the European Achievement in World Cinema award from Sir Michael Gambon.
Visibly moved, the award-winning actress said: “Thank you for recognising that I too am a fucking hoare,” referring to footage of a speech shown earlier where the same phrase was used by French actress Jeanne Moreau.
She continued: “When I was 16 years-old, I was working as a waitress in a small hotel in Brighton. In the day, I didn’t have much to do and – being the summer in England – it rained every day. So, on one rainy afternoon, I was wandering past this little cinema and I went in to get out of the rain.
“It was one of those cinemas where usually the art movies showed, as well as porn, and they smelled of urine, beer and tobacco. I sat in that cinema and on the screen was Antonioni’s L’Avventura.
“It was such an amazing moment for me to realise what film could be. Up until then I had only seen third run Hollywood movies so it transformed the landscape of what was possible for me in film. From that moment on, I’ve always sought out and wanted to be in anything that seemed like a European film.
“This is the other end of a journey that began in that smelly little cinema.”
Later in the evening, Bernardo Bertolucci, the veteran Italian director behind Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor and this year’s Cannes selection Me and You, was honoured with the EFA Lifetime Achievement Award.
After declaring “Long live European cinema,” the wheelchair-bound director joked: “Maybe this is the beginning of Intouchables 2.”
Prizes and proposals
Denmark’s The Hunt, co-written by Tobias Lindholm and director Thomas Vinterberg, won the European Screenwriter award, while the Netherlands Oscar entry, Kauwboy from director Boudewijn Koole, picked up the European Discovery Prix Fipresci and EFA’s first Young Audience Award.
Switzerland’s Winter Nomads, directed by Manuel von Sturler, won best Documentary; black and white noir Alois Nebel, from Czech director Tomas Lunak, secured the Animated Feature Film prize; and Superman, Spiderman or Batman, from Romania’s Tudor Giurgiu, was named best Short Film.
One of the biggest surprises of the night came with the People’s Choice Award, which went to Belgium’s Come As You Are – not just because it beat the likes of Intouchables but also because producer Mariano Vanhoof proposed live on stage. She said yes.
More than 2,700 European Film Academy members voted for the winners.
The 26th European Film Awards will return to Berlin next year.
Full list of winners
EUROPEAN FILM 2012
France / Germany / Austria
written & directed by Michael Haneke
produced by Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka & Michael Katz
Michael Haneke for AMOUR
Emmanuelle Riva in AMOUR
Jean-Louis Trintignant in AMOUR
Tobias Lindholm & Thomas Vinterberg for JAGTEN (The Hunt)
CARLO DI PALMA EUROPEAN CINEMATOGRAPHER AWARD
Sean Bobbitt for SHAME
Joe Walker for SHAME
EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Maria Djurkovic for TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
Alberto Iglesias for TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
EUROPEAN DISCOVERY 2012 – Prix FIPRESCI
KAUWBOY by Boudewijn Koole (The Netherlands)
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY DOCUMENTARY
HIVER NOMADE (Winter Nomads) by Manuel von Stürler (Switzerland)
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
ALOIS NEBEL by Tomáš Luňák (Czech Republic / Germany / Slovakia)
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY SHORT FILM
SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN OR BATMAN by Tudor Giurgiu, Romania
EUROPEAN CO-PRODUCTION AWARD 2012 - Prix EURIMAGES
Helena Danielsson, Sweden
EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA
Dame Helen Mirren, UK
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Bernardo Bertolucci, Italy
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
HASTA LA VISTA (Come As You Are)
directed by da Geoffrey Enthoven