The king of Europa
In true Berlin style, the 14th European Film Awards were celebrated in a tent-like structure, the new Tempodrom, built on the territory of a former railway station in the middle of the city. Decorated with red velvet and large chandeliers for its opening event, the hall took on a circus-like atmosphere, with guests sitting at banquet tables and the band 17 Hippies playing a mix of Eastern European melodies and French chansons. After a welcome by the German State Minister for Culture and the Media, Julian Nida-Rümelin, and EFA President Wim Wenders, the evening's host, British comedian Mel Smith, arrived in a yellow cagoule and hard hat.
Presenting the European Documentary Award 2001 - Prix Arte were Swedish actor Fares Fares and his Welsh colleague Paul Rhys. The prize went to BLACK BOX GERMANY by Andres Veiel who very happily exclaimed, "this is really extraordinary!"
A real highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award by actresses Brenda Blethyn (UK) and Renée Soutendijk (the Netherlands) to the legendary comedians of Monty Python, "for their unique contribution to film and to comedy." Accepting the award were Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones who, in true Monty Python fashion, got into a mock fight with Mel Smith as he tried to take the statuette from the two. It all resulted in the two of them snatching the award back from him and running away with it to the laughter of the spectators, among them the likes of Paz Vega, Fabrizio Gifuni, and Amira Casar, Michael Haneke, Stellan Skarsgaard, Maria Bonnevie and Mehmet Kurtulus.
Another two actresses were next on stage: presenting the European Discovery 2001 - Fassbinder Award were Iben Hjejle from Denmark and Anita Caprioli from Italy. The award went to PELLET by Achero Manas who dedicated the award to his daughter and family.
The audience was up for another highlight when German actress Heike Makatsch and British actor Daniel Craig presented the award European Achievement in World Cinema 2001 to Ewan McGregor. Accepting the award, the Scottish actor said, "When I was a wee lad, when I dreamed about movies, I dreamed about movies full of romance, full of music and dance. So I really have to thank Mr Baz Luhrman for giving me the opportunity to be in one!" (namely MOULIN ROUGE).
The award European Screenwriter 2001, presented by Norwegian actress Kari Simonsen and actor Daniel Brühl from Germany, went to Danis Tanovic for NO MAN’S LAND, this year's European Critic’s Award - Prix Fipresci, announced by British actress Jodhi May and her Danish colleague Mads Mikkelsen, went to LA VILLE EST TRANQUILLE by Robert Guédiguian who expressed his gratitude in German.
A bit of Spanish glamour was then brought to the stage when actress Marisa Paredes arrived to present the award European Actor 2001 to Sir Ben Kingsley for SEXY BEAST. Genuinely surprised, the British actor exclaimed, "I hope you know how proud I am to be holding this award!"
The award for European Actress 2001 was next presented by two actors, Guillaume Canet from France and Til Schweiger from Germany. The award went to Isabelle Huppert for LA PIANISTE who spoke in various languages and thanked the film's director Michael Haneke.
The closing highlight was the announcement of the European Film 2001 by Italian actress Sandra Ceccarelli and her British colleague Charlotte Rampling. The award went to the French film AMÉLIE and its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet happily exclaimed, "I am the king of Europa!". King indeed, for the film also received European Cinematographer (Bruno Delbonnel), Director and a People's Choice Award (both for Jeunet).
Other awards presented include the Screen International European Film Award 2001 (non-European) for MOULIN ROUGE by Baz Luhrmann, the European Short Film 2001 - Prix UIP for JE T’AIME JOHN WAYNE by Toby MacDonald, and People's Choice Awards for Colin Firth (for BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY) and Juliette Binoche (for CHOCOLAT).