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Updated: Amour wins four European Film Awards

Cinema stars descend on Valletta for EFAs ceremony

Amour won the four most prestigious prizes at tonight's European Film Awards in Valletta.

The French, German and Austrian production took home the gongs for best director (Michael Haneke), actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant), actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and film.

Some of the brightest stars of European cinema enjoyed the humorous 25th European Film Awards ceremony at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren, 67, picked up the European Achievement in World Cinema award.

Earlier she had dazzled onlookers on the red carpet, turning heads as she chatted happily to the press.

She said she was honoured to receive the award because she had grown up aspiring to be like the glamourous actresses of European cinema. 

The stars started arriving on the red carpet from 6pm for the gala event, which is held outside Berlin every two years and was held in Malta for the first time.

Mads Mikkelsen, who played Bond villain Le Chiffre in 2006 movie Casino Royale, joked that he would like to team up with Javier Bardem and be a Bond baddie again.

He was nominated for the Best European Actor award for his leading role in Danish film The Hunt.

"Of course, we all want to win when we are nominated," he said, but he lost out to Trintignant, star of Amour.

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and Shame both won two awards apiece. The former won for Best Production Designer (Maria Djurkovic) and Composer (Alberto Iglesias), while Shame won for Best Cinematographer (Sean Bobbit) and Editor (Joe Walker).

European Film Academy president Wim Wenders said the academy had achieved its goal of creating a European film family, which it set out to do 25 years ago.  

Tuxedo-clad Culture Minister Mario de Marco said the occasion made him proud to be Maltese.

In his opening address at the ceremony, Dr de Marco said Malta was the ideal place to celebrate Europe in all its diversity.

"Our films are in search of an audience, and there is indeed an audience out there with a thirst for the authenticity of European films," Dr de Marco said.

Iconic Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The slightly surreal ceremony,  hosted by German comedienne Anke Engelke, started at 8pm and finished at 10.45pm.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Hasta La Vista director Geoffrey Enthoven proposed on stage to his girlfriend. Luckily for him, she seemed to say yes.

As it happened

20.27 Superman, Spiderman or Batman, a Romanian film directed by Tudor Giurgiu has been named best European Short Film.

20:31 Host Anke Engelke is adding a slightly surreal air to the ceremony... who said Germans don't have a sense of humour?

20:39 Now Engelke is mingling with the stars. First she accuses Sir Michael Gambon of trying to pick her up in a bar last night. And, let's be honest, Sir Michael looks guilty. Then Dame Helen Mirren 'confesses' that she also tried to pick up Engelke last night. Form an orderly queue folks...

20:47 Alois Nebal, a Czech, German, Slovakian production directed by Tomáš Luňák, has been named best European Animated Film.

20:50 Dutch film Kauwboy, directed by Boudewijn Koole, has won the European Discovery Award. When Koole spoke to timesofmalta.com on the red carpet earlier he was quietly confident he would win. A man with such a surname was always destined to be a star. 

21:05 Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm win the prize for European Screenwriter for Danish film The Hunt. Don't bet on this being the last award that film wins tonight.

21:11 Hiver Nomade (Winter Nomads), a Swiss documentary about the remarkable journey of two shepherds, has won the the European Documentary award.

21:17 A bumbling Sir Michael Gambon has invited Dame Helen Mirren on stage to collect the European Achievement in World Cinema award. A montage of her greatest cinematic moments is now playing.

21:20 After a standing ovation, Dame Helen Mirren tells the story of when she discovered European film in a niche cinema on a rainy afternoon in Brighton as a 16-year-old. "It was such a revelation to realise what film could be," she said.

She also uttered a few choice phrases that cannot be repeated here. She may have shocked those of us who picture her as the Queen thanks to her 2006 Oscar-winning performance.

21:30 Irish director Jim Sheridan is now on stage presenting the Cinematography award. Which goes to...Sean Bobbit for Shame. Says he forgot his highly witty acceptance speech.

21:35 Sheridan, who produced classic In the Name of the Father, has just announced that the European Composer award goes to Alberto Iglesias for Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.

21:46 Mads Mikkelsen, the man with the cut-glass cheekbones, announces that Michael Haneke wins the European Director award for Amour.

Amour, a French, German and Austrian film, is also up the European Film award.

21:52 Malta's own Marama Corlett is now on stage presenting the European Editor award, which goes to Joe Walker for Shame.

21:56 And Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wins it's second award of the evening. This time it goes to Maria Djurkovic for Production Design.

21:58 The awards are coming thick and fast now. The People's Choice Award for Best Film goes to Hasta La Vista/Come As You Are.

22:02 Hasta La Vista director Geoffrey Enthoven proposes on stage to his girlfriend. She seems to say yes. It would have been very awkward if she didn't...

22:04 Hostess Anke Engelke admits to being bamboozled by the Maltese language. She is not the only star fascinated by Maltese, Dame Helen Mirren also spoke about being amazed by the language on the red carpet.

22:07 Polish actor Maciei Stuhr announces Jean Louis Trintignant as the European Actor winner for his role in Amour. A recorded acceptance speech by Trintignat is played on screen. Mads Mikkelsen had earlier told timesofmalta.com that he always likes to win when nominated but it wasn't to be this time. He also had to turn down an on-stage marriage proposal from Stuhr. The marriage proposals are coming as fast as the awards now...

22:10 And Carice van Houten declares Emmanuelle Riva the winner of the European Actress award, also for Amour. That's Amour's third gong of the night. It has won the holy trinity of the Director, Actor and Actress awards.

22:20 European Film Academy President Wim Wenders is on stage to present iconic Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci with the EFA Lifetime Achievement Award.

22:27 Bertolucci confesses that his mouth is too dry to make a long speech. He recalls attending the first EFAs in 1988. "Long live European cinema and long live the Venus of Malta," he says. Hear, hear.

22:35 Final award of the night up next: the award for Best European Film. French actress Amira Casar and Spanish director Carlos Saura are on stage to present the title.

And the award goes to Amour, its fourth gong of the night!

Amour beat off stiff competition from Olivier Nakache’s Intouchables, Christian Petzold’s Barbara, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Caesar Must Die, Thomas Vinterberg’s  The Hunt and Steve McQueen’s Shame featuring Michael Fassbender.

22:47 That's all folks, hope you enjoyed the awards as much as we did.

Pictures - Jason Borg

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