‘Triangle of Sadness’ Wins Top Prize at 2022 European Film Awards
Triangle of Sadness, Ruben Östlund’s biting takedown of the one percent, was the big winner at the 35th European Film Awards, landing four trophies including the top prize of Best European Film at the gala award ceremony in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Saturday.
Östlund also won best screenplay and best director, dedicating his award to Triangle of Sadness star Charlbi Dean, who died following a sudden illness this summer, just months after the film premiered in Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or. Croatian actor Zlatko Burić, who plays Dimitry, a Russian fertilizer magnate in Triangle of Sadness, was the surprise best actor winner, beating out contenders including Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Close breakout Eden Dambrine.
Vicky Krieps took actress honors for Corsage, a feminist period drama from director Marie Kreutzer, in which she stars as an Austrian empress who fights back against the patriarchal structures of her age.
“I want to dedicate this to all the women everyone in the world that need to be seen and heard,” Krieps said in an acceptance speech via video link, “that need to be healed from these deep wounds [of history] so that men and women can come together again.”
The 35th European Film Awards marked the event’s first in-person gala since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Film Academy, which organized the ceremony, celebrated in style at the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik, with guests entering via a unique art installation created by local Icelandic artists Tanja Levý, Lilý Erla Adamsdóttir and Sean O’Brien.
Presenters included Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, German actress Nina Hoss (Tár), Borat Subsequent Moviefilm breakout Maria Bakalova and Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (Beast). The awards were hosted by Icelandic actress, screenwriter and politician Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir — who got one of the first big laughs of the night when she introduced the EFAs as being “just like the Oscars: All the films are foreign!” — and local artist, author and stand-up comedian Hugleikur Dagsson. Musical accompaniment came from the Icelandic Symphonic Orchestra, music collective INNI and Icelandic electro-band GusGus.
The night’s nominated films — from Lukas Dhont’s intimate story of friendship and loss in Close to Carla Simón’s Alcarràs, a heartwarming portrait of a group of Catalan peach farmers; from Ali Abassi’s Iran-set serial-killer thriller Holy Spider to Marie Kreutzer’s feminist period drama Corsage to Östlund’s capitalist satire Triangle of Sadness — were as good an advertisement for the diversity and quality of European cinema as one is likely to find.
But the night’s celebrations come during a crisis point for the European film industry. Arthouse and speciality cinema of the sort honored by the EFAs is heavily dependent on theatrical performance, and European audiences have not returned to theaters post-COVID. Box office in several major territories, including France, Germany and Italy, remains well below pre-pandemic 2019 figures. Of this year’s best film nominees, only Östlund’s wildly entertaining Triangle of Sadness, which is a sleeper candidate in the Oscar race, can be properly called a hit. The film, a Swedish, German, French and U.K. co-production, has grossed more than $16 million worldwide and played strongly across Europe.
As is usually the case at the EFAs, politics took center stage.
In a sign of solidarity with the filmmakers of Ukraine, whose film industry has been decimated since the Russian invasion of the country Feb. 24, this year’s Eurimages Co-Production Award honoring excellence in European co-production was given to all Ukrainian film producers.
A number of Ukrainian producers, including some currently fighting on the front lines of the war, sent video messages to the EFA thanking them for their support. Then an unidentified man stood up in the crowd, hoisting a Ukrainian flag and calling for the release of Maksym Butkevych, the Ukrainian journalist and human rights activist captured by Russian forces in Luhansk Oblast in June.
One of Europe’s top politicians, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, spoke to the EFA audience via video link, accepting the inaugural European Sustainability Award, the Prix Film4Climate, a prize meant to celebrate a “European institution, company or film” which provides an outstanding contribution to furthering sustainability in the movie industry. Von der Leyen accepted on behalf of the European Commission, which was honoured for its European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives aimed at making the European Union climate-neutral by 2050.
“We need every person, every community and every industry to change,” said von der Leyen, pushing the people in the room to do more to help transition Europe’s economy to a green future. “You have the power to change hearts and minds and you can make people see that everyone can make a difference for the planet.” The Prix Film4Climate award took the form of an Icelandic birch tree, planted in a “European film forest” near Reykjavik.
The European Discovery — Prix Fipresci, given to the best debut feature, went to Italian director Laura Samani for Small Body, a dark period drama set in the early 1900s about a woman who goes through trauma after the stillborn death of her first child. The best short film prize went to the Slovenian animated drama Granny’s Sexual Life, co-directed by Urška Djukic and Émilie Pigeard.
Fernando León De Aranoa’s The Good Boss, starring Javier Bardem, won the best European comedy honor, though the film’s producer Jaume Roures protested the category. “It’s a mistake — the film is a drama, not a comedy!” he insisted.
“We tried to make a drama but it didn’t work,” quipped De Aranoa.
Best animated film went to No Dogs or Italians Allowed from director Alain Ughetto, while Mariupolis 2 from director Mantas Kvedaravičius took the prize for best European documentary of 2022. Kvedaravičius was killed during the making of the film, which documents events in Mariupol, Ukraine, amid the current Russian invasion. HIs daughter accepted the prize on his behalf.
The EFA craft honors, called the European Excellence Awards, were announced ahead of Saturday’s ceremony. Winners included Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which took best European production design for Jim Clay and best costume design for Charlotte Walter; Kate McCullough, who won best European cinematography for her lensing of Colm Bairéad’s Irish drama The Quiet Girl; and Edward Berger’s German WWI drama All Quiet on the Western Front, which won best European visual effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank, and best European makeup and hair for Heike Merker.
Cyril Dion’s documentary Animal, which follows two French teenagers as they meet with scientists and activists around the world in search for a new way to cohabitate with other species, won the 2022 Young Audience Award, voted on by young moviegoers from across Europe.
The European University Film Award (EUFA) went to EO by Jerzy Skolimowski.
Also announced before Saturday’s ceremony was the award for Innovation in European Storytelling, which went to veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio (The Traitor, The Wedding Director) for his limited series Exterior Night, made for RAI, which traces the kidnapping and assassination of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in 1978.
Director Elia Suleiman (Divine Intervention, It Must Be Heaven) won this year’s European Achievement in World Cinema prize, the first Palestinian filmmaker to be so honored, while groundbreaking German feminist director Margarethe von Trotta (Hannah Arendt, The German Sisters) received the 2022 European lifetime achievement award.
The full list of 2022 European Film Award winners follows.
Triangle of Sadness, dir. Ruben Östlund
Ruben Östlund for Triangle of Sadness
Vicky Krieps for Corsage
Zlatko Burić for Triangle of Sadness
Ruben Östlund for Triangle of Sadness
The Good Boss, dir. Fernando León De Aranoa
EUROPEAN ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
No Dogs or Italians Allowed, dir. Alain Ughetto
Mariupolis 2, dir. Mantas Kvedaravičius
EUROPEAN DISCOVERY — PRIX FIPRESCI
Small Body, dir. Laura Samani
EUROPEAN SHORT FILM
Granny’s Sexual Life, dirs. Urška Djukic, Émilie Pigeard
EUROPEAN INNOVATIVE STORYTELLING
Exterior Night, dir. Marco Bellocchio
EUROPEAN YOUNG AUDIENCE AWARD
Animal, dir. Cyril Dion
EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY AWARD
EO, dir. Jerzy Skolimowski.
Kate McCullough for The Quiet Girl
Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Burning Days
EUROPEAN PRODUCTION DESIGN
Jim Clay for Belfast
EUROPEAN COSTUME DESIGN
Charlotte Walter for Belfast
EUROPEAN MAKE-UP AND HAIR
Heike Merker for All Quiet on the Western Front
EUROPEAN ORIGINAL SCORE
Paweł Mykietyn for EO
Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich and Florian Holzner for The Hole
EUROPEAN VISUAL EFFECTS
Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank for All Quiet on the Western Front
EURIMAGES CO-PRODUCTION AWARD
Given to all Ukrainian film producers
EUROPEAN SUSTAINABILITY AWARD — PRIX FILM4CLIMATE
The European Commission for its European Green Deal
EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT IN WORLD CINEMA AWARD
EUROPEAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Margarethe von Trotta
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.