Sunday, December 05, 2010

"The Ghost Writer" Haunts Europe. Can it Win American Oscar Nods?

The European Film Awards were held yesterday in Estonia's capital Tallin (next year the ceremony will be in Malta). Roman Polanski and Ewan McGregor both appeared via the wonders of the internet (you may have heard Polanski doesn't travel much) to accept for The Ghost Writer. The mystery thriller about a politician under fire and the two sorry writers who attempt to ghost his memoirs is filled with twists. It opened way back in March 2010 but it's apparently not done surprising us. Against the odds, it's been resurfacing in the awards conversation... and not just here. It took home a record-breaking 6 prizes, only losing "people's choice".

The previous EFA record holders, according to Screen Daily, were Spain's Talk to Her (2002) and Germany's Goodbye Lenin (2003) both of which, we foreign film Oscar obsessed must note, notoriously missed out on Oscar's Foreign Film category in their years (albeit for different reasons).

The European Film Awards aren't an Oscar precursor in the traditional way of thinking about these things but could we see The Ghost Writer with a stray Oscar nod or three come January's end? And if so, which? (Adapted Screenplay? Score? Art Direction? *gulp* Pic or Director?) Discuss.

The Euro Winners
  • Picture The Ghost Writer
  • People's Choice Jaco van Dormael's Mr Nobody 
  • Co-Production Award  Zeynep Özbatur Atakan
  • Achievement in World Cinema Gabriel Yared (Juliette Binoche was the surprise presenter of this award to The English Patient composer)
  • Lifetime Achievement Bruno Ganz
  • Discovery Lebanon
  • Director Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer
  • Actor Ewan McGregor, The Ghost Writer
  • Actress Sylvie Testud, Lourdes
  • Animated Feature Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist
  • Documentary Feature Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light
  • Screenwriter & Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer
  • Cinematography Giora Bejach, Lebanon
  • Editor Luc Barnier & Marion Monnier, Carlos
  • Composer Alexandre Desplat, The Ghost Writer
  • Production Designer Albrecht Konrad, The Ghost Writer
I'm sure there will be many claims that this a "political" message given Polanski's legal troubles with the US which have been in the news again a lot this year. And though politics can truly never be extricated from any awards show (even preferring decidedly apolitical movies is in its own way, a political stance) at least some of The Ghost Writer's past and future honors out to be attributed to the fact that it's a fine movie.

Who can The Ghost trust? No one.

I shall update this post if I can find good photos since the evening held appearances from France's Binoche (love) and Denmark's Nikolaj Lie Kaas (also love) among other international film notables.

Related Articles EFA Nominations & "Best in Show: Olivia Williams"


Anonymous said...

Ewan McGregor, The Ghost Writer ?!

Talk about one of the worst performances of this year. Why does Ewan McGregor think it's okay to *just* be charming and phone the rest in?

sheila kind said...

Finally caught this one last night. Well made flick. Still, I have to admit that it wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Far from the best Polanski in my opinion, though not the worst either. I see the European film awards as mainly a sop to the poor suffering Polanski who has been picked on by the awful U.S.A. for having it on with an underage girl. Will it get oscar love? I'd be surprised if it got much.

sheila kind said...

Actually thought McGregor to be the best thing about the film. He was completely convincing as this "ghost" who gets sucked into something that he at first reluctantly takes on, but which eventually takes hold of his imagination and curiosity in a way he never envisioned. I just couldn't quite believe or figure out the relationship between Pierce Brosnan's character and his wife. That seemed more than a little sketchy in the film, like a lot of the other characters.

OtherRobert said...

I'm thinking, at most, The Ghost Writer could sneak in for score or maybe adapted screenplay. I'd love to see McGregor get a nomination, but it's just not a flashy enough role for AMPAS' tastes. He really sells a hard character with a gentle touch. Anoymous actually summed up the problem with the role very well--if you don't understand what the role is supposed to be, it looks like nothing. The character is intentionally a non-entity to bolster the entire concept of the film. To some, it will just look like lazy or bad acting; to others, it's a great, restrained performance.

anna said...

I watched the ceremony last night (there was a live stream on their website) and, to be honest, it was rather amateurish. Forced humour and mostly bad speeches. There were some highlights though:
- Nikolaj Lie Kaas (!!)
- Ewan's (pre-recorded) acceptance speech (it was adorable)
- Wim Winders talking about making "The American Friend" (and in particular a fight between Ganz and Dennis Hopper) when presenting Bruno Ganz with his award.

Peggy Sue said...

Despite I love Ewan, I must say Luis Tosar totally deserved the best actor award for "Cell 211". He's mesmerizing in it.

"The Ghost Writer" is clearly one of the best movies of the year and also one of the best thrillers in a very long time.

adri said...

If it was just personal taste, I'd put the film as a contender for best ensemble, score, script, and editing.

But the composer Alexandre Desplat has done 5 (!)film scores this year, including The King's Speech. I'd say that Olivia Williams has the best chance at an outside shot at a nomination. Then they can give the film some recognition but make it seem like they're still snubbing Polanski.

JayJ said...

It's not getting in. Political thrillers rarely get Oscar love, and with the being set outside the U.S. it's definitely not getting in.
And I am throughly convinced that the main reason this film is getting awards in Europe is because of his legal troubles. It is a "We love you Roman, don't let those mean Americans get you down" award.

Mirko said...

It's one of my favorite movies this year, so I'm totally happy it scored big in Estonia...hoping it won't be forgotten during the rest of the awards season...

I'm also glad Ewan won, even if I can understand that someone is quarrelling for his not-so-award-baity role...of course I'm sorry "best in show" Williams wasn't included in the triumph...wish they could reintroduce the best supporting categories...

Volvagia said...

Wow. I think I like overselling more than most when it comes to acting (I think Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness is better than Liam Neeson in Schindler's List), but what's up with hating what Ewan did? I had no qualms about the part (probably not top 5, but among the 10.) I had no problems with Catrall, and I actually think that Brosnan is, amazingly, the most likely person to get a nom if heat starts appearing. (At this point, I only think Rush (pic coattails), Bale (winner heat) and Garfield (pic coattails again) are solid. Ruffalo and Harris are not at all solid bets (hard role made to look effortless and you've mentioned Ed's is a very easy type of part.) Hoskins has the problem of being buried by other supports, Murray's playing himself, Rockwell is fading week by week, Armie Hammer is a gimmick and I doubt they want to view Penn as a support, among other issues. I think, considering recent developments, here's our field:

Brosnan (The movie could pick up heat like crazy.)