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German Film Awards Nominees Unveiled

The German Film Academy has announced the movies in competition this year for the German Film Awards, the local equivalent of the Oscars.

Matthias Glasner’s epic family drama Dying, Timm Kröger’s experimental sci-fi feature The Universal Theory, and In the Blind Spot, Ayşe Polat’s documentary-style conspiracy thriller set in modern-day Turkey, are among the favorites for this year’s awards, called the Lolas.

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Dying, which stars Lars Eidinger as a classical conductor with an extremely dysfunctional family, picked up nominations in every major category, including best film, best director and best screenplay nominations for Glasner, a best actor nom for Eidinger and a best actress nomination for Corinna Harfoch, who plays Eidinger’s mother. In total, the film is up for nine Lolas.

The Universal Theory, a black-and-white drama about the multiverse, is also in the running for the best film Lola, and Kröger is up for best director. In the Blind Spot, alongside its best film nomination, scored best director and best screenplay nominations for Polat.

Adrian Goiginger’s WW2 film The Fox, which premiered at the Tallinn Black Nights festival last year, picked up five nominations, including for best film. Also up for the Golden Lola for best film are Milena Aboyan’s social drama Elaha and Hans Steinbichler’s Alpine period drama A Whole Life.

In the acting categories, The Zone of Interest lead Christian Friedl picked up a best supporting actor nomination for his turn in 15 Years, Chris Kraus’ sequel to his 2006 drama Four Minutes. Hannah Herzsprung, who reprises her role as the juvenile delinquent with an extraordinary musical talent, is also a contender in the best actress category.

Dying was one of the critical favorites at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, where Glasner won the Silver Bear for best screenplay. The Universal Theory premiered in Venice last year, winning the Venice independent critics’ prize. Polat’s In The Blind Spot, which premiered in Berlin’s Encounters section last year, won the top prize at the Oldenburg Film Festival.

The nominations were carried live on German TV, with German Culture Minister Claudia Roth presenting the nominees together with film academy presidents: Actress Alexandra-Maria Lara (Downfall) and director Florian Gallenberger (John Rabe).

In addition to being Germany’s top cinema prize, the German Film Awards, or Lolas, are also the most lucrative, coming with some $3.25 million (€3 million) in prize money for the winners and nominees, which they can use to finance future projects.

This year’s Lola ceremony will be held in Berlin on May 3.

Last year, İlker Çatak’s Oscar-nominated The Teachers’ Lounge, swept the board, winning the Golden Lola for best film, best director and best screenplay for Çatak, as well as best actress for star Leonie Benesch. It beat out Edward Berger’s multi-Oscar winning frontrunner All Quiet on the Western Front, which was apparently punished by German academy voters for being a Netflix production.

This year, the Lolas could be overshadowed by a more overtly political debate. Last month’s awards ceremony for the Berlin Film Festival was rocked by controversy after German politicians piled on comments made by several winners, who criticized Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict, comments slammed as “antisemitic” by many prominent figures on the left and right in Germany.

Roth has called for a strict code of conduct to govern government-backed cultural institutions in Germany, which would include the German Film Awards but it is still being debated how to formulate such a code so that it would be compatible with Germany’s free speech laws.

German Film Award Nominees

Best Film

In The Blind Spot dir. Ayşe Polat

Dying dir. Matthias Glasner

Elaha dir. Milena Aboyan

The Fox dir. Adrian Goiginger

The Universal Theory dir. Timm Kröger

A Whole Life dir. Hans Steinbichler

Best Director

Matthias Glasner for Dying

Timm Kröger for The Universal Theory

Ayse Polat for In the Blind Spot

Best Actress

Corinna Harfoch for Dying

Hannah Herzsprung for 15 Years

Bayan Layla for Elaha

Best Actor

Lars Eidinger for Dying

Marc Hosemann for Sophia, Death and Me

Simon Morze for The Fox

Best Supporting Actress

Adele Neuhauser for 15 Years

Barbara Philipp for Sprich mit mir

Marie-Lou Sellem for Bones and Names

Best Supporting Actor

Hans-Uwe Bauer for Dying

Christian Friedel for 15 Years

Robert Gwisdek for Dying

Best Screenplay

Matthias Glasner for Dying

Adrian Goiginger for The Fox

Ayse Polat for In The Blind Spot

Best Children’s Film

Checker Tobi und die Reise zu den fliegenden Flüssen dir. Johannes Honsell

Winners dir. Soleen Yusef

Best Documentary Film

Anselm dir. Wim Wenders

Seven Winters in Tehran dir. Steffi Niederzoll

Vergiss Meyn Nicht dir. Fabiana Fragale, Kilian Kuhlendahl, Jens Mühlhoff

Best Cinematographer

Yoshi Helmrath, Paul Spritz for The Fox

Lotta Kilian for Luise

Roland Stuprich for The Universal Theory

Best VFX

Manfred Büttner for The Fox

Marco Del Bianco for Stella, A Life

Karlem Saleh, Adrian Meyer for The Universal Theory

Juri Stanossek, Apollonia Hartmann, Jan Burda for Girl You Know It’s True

Best Hair and Make-Up

Kerstin Gaecklein, Lisa Becker for Stella, A Life

Helene Lang for A Whole Life

Alisza Pfeifer, Christina Baier for Girl You Know It’s True

Best Production Design

Heike Lange, Alexandra Pilhatsch for Girl You Know It’s True

Albrecht Konrad, Ellen Somnitz, Ruth Barbara Wilbert for Stella, A Life

Jurek Kuttner, Marcel Beranek, Hanna Bowe, Bernadette Weinzierl for A Whole Life

Cosima Vellenzer, Anika Klatt for The Theory of Everything

Best Costume Design

Ingken Benesch for Girl You Know It’s True

Tonja Hausner for The Glory of Life

Thomas Olah for Stella, A Life

Best Editing

David J. Achilles for Falling Into Place

Heike Gnida for Dying

Nicole Kortlüke for Seven Winters in Tehran

Best Film Music

Lorenz Dangel for Dying

John Gürtler, Jan Miserre featuring Saba Alizadeh for Empty Nets

Diego Ramos Rodriguez for The Universal Theory

Best Sound Design

Bahma Ardalan, Ansgar Frerich, Florian Beck for Empty Nets

Michael Schlömer, Corinna Fleig, Tobias Fleig for The Dive

Max Vornehm, Christof Ebhardt, Christian Bischoff for A Whole Life

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