Oscar Winner ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ Leads German Film Awards Nominations With 12

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To no one’s surprise, Edward Berger’s epic WWI drama All Quiet on the Western Front is the front runner for this year’s German film awards. The Netflix feature, which picked up nine Oscar nominations and won four — both records for a German movie — received 12 nominations on Friday for Germany’s top cinema honor, known as the Lola.

The film, the first German-language adaptation of the Erich Maria Remarque classic 1929 anti-war novel, is the clear favorite going into this year’s Lolas. In addition to the Oscar sweep — the film won best international feature, best cinematography, best production design, and best score at this year’s Academy Awards — All Quiet on the Western Front dominated the 2023 BAFTAS, taking seven trophies, including for best film and best director.

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All Quiet was nominated in every Lola category it qualified for, including best film, best director for Berger, and best actor and best supporting actor nominations for the film’s leads Felix Kammerer and Albrecht Schuch. Berger and co-screenwriters Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell missed out on a screenplay nom as the Lolas do not have a best-adapted screenplay category.

But a Lola sweep for All Quiet shouldn’t be considered a sure thing. Local critics have given the film a mixed reception, with many calling out the liberties the film takes from the historical record and with Remarque’s book. And violent war films have a spotty record at the German Film Awards. Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Oscar-nominated Downfall, about the final days of Adolf Hitler, received only three Lola nominations and won none, beat out by Go for Zucker!, a low-key, feel-good German-Jewish comedy.

All Quiet‘s main Lola competition includes The Teacher’s Lounge, İlker Çatak’s unsettling look at a teacher at the end of her rope, played by Leonie Benesch, which picked up seven Lola nominations, including best film, best director and best actress for Benesch; and Holy Spider, Ali Abbasi’s Iranian serial killer movie, which premiered in Cannes last year and is up for four Lolas, including best film, best director for Abbasi, best actress for Zar Amir Ebrahimi and best actor for Mehdi Bajestani.

Two adaptations of best-selling autobiographies: David Wnendt’s Sun and Concrete, which picked up 4 Lola nominations, including best film, and Sonja Heiss’s When Will It Be Again Like It Never Was Before, nominated for best film and best director, could also upset All Quiet‘s victory march. Another autobiographical film, Fatih Akin’s Rheingold, about the life of German rapper and ex-con Giwar Hajabi, is a dark horse candidate in the best film race. Akin is a two-time Lola best film winner, for 2004’s Head-On and The Edge of Heaven in 2007, and Rheingold has been a tremendous commercial success, earning around $10 million at the German box office.

All Quiet could also suffer from its association with Netflix, which fully financed the film. The Lolas come with lucrative cash bursaries — $536,000 (€500,000) for the best film honor — and German academy voters may be reluctant to reward a movie made with the backing of a global streaming giant. Every best film nominee receives a guaranteed check for $268,000 (€250,000).

The German culture ministry, which provides the cash, has used All Quiet as an example of how streaming services have dramatically changed the film industry. The film’s success, argues culture minister Claudia Roth, should be a wake-up call for an overly-restrictive and bureaucratic film funding system that privileges theatrical releases even as fewer and fewer Germans are watching movies in cinemas. One of Roth’s proposals is to have Netflix and other major streaming companies contribute more to funding German movies. She would also like to see a decoupling of funding for commercial movies or ones aiming for a commercial audience, and documentaries, shorts, first-time works and artistic films.

Expect those discussions to get louder and more insistent, whoever wins the Lolas at the ceremony in Berlin on May 12 this year.

Below are the nominees for the 2023 German Film Awards.

Best Film

Holy Spider
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Teacher’s Lounge
Rheingold

Sun and Concrete
When Will It Be Again Like It Never Was Before

Best Director

Ali Abbasi for Holy Spider
Edward Berger for All Quiet on the Western Front
Ilker Çatak for The Teacher’s Lounge
Sonja Heiss for When Will It Be Again Like It Never Was Before

Best Actress
Zar Amir Ebrahimi for Holy Spider
Leonie Benesch for The Teacher’s Lounge
Sandra Hüller for Sisi & I

Best Actor
Mehdi Bajestani for Holy Spider
Felix Kammerer for All Quiet on the Western Front
Charly Hübner for Mittagsstunde

Best Supporting Actress
Ulrike Kriener for Einfach mal was Schönes
Jördis Triebel for In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt
Hildegard Schmahl for Mittagsstunde

Best Supporting Actor
Albrecht Schuch for All Quiet on the Western Front
Clemens Schick for Servus Papa, See you in Hell
Karl Markovics for Was man von hier aus sehen kann

Best Screenplay
Johannes Duncker, Ilker Çatak for The Teacher’s Lounge
Jan Braren, Marc Blöbaum, Kilian Riedhof for You Will Not Have My Hate
David Wnendt, Felix Lobrecht for Sun and Concrete

Best Cinematography
James Friend for All Quiet on the Western Front
Judith Kaufmann for The Teacher’s Lounge
Thomas W. Kiennast for Sisi & I

Best Editing
Mechthild Barth for Elfriede Jelinek – Die Sprache von der Leine lassen
Sven Budelmann for All Quiet on the Western Front
Gesa Jäger for The Teacher’s Lounge
Andreas Wodraschke for Sun and Concrete

Best Sound Design

Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Viktor Prášil, Lars Ginzel, Alexander Buck for All Quiet on the Western Front
Marco Teufen, Paul Rischer, Gregor Bonse for Sisi & I
Paul Rischer, Jan Petzold for Sun and Concrete

Best Score
Volker Bertelmann for All Quiet on the Western Front
Marvin Miller for The Teacher’s Lounge
Ralf Wengenmayr for Tausend Zeilen
The Notwist for Wir sind dann wohl die Angehörigen

Best Set Design
Christian M. Goldbeck for All Quiet on the Western Front
Josefine Lindner, Max-Josef Schönborn for The Ordinaries
Sebastian Soukup for Measures of Man

Best Costume Design
Lisy Christl for All Quiet on the Western Front
Regina Tiedeken for In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt
Tanja Hausner for Sisi & I

Best Hair and Make-Up
Heike Merker for All Quiet on the Western Front
Annett Schulze, Dorit Jur, Ines Ransch for In einem Land, das es nicht mehr gibt
Julia Böhm, Friederike Schäfer for Seneca

Best Visual Effects
Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller for All Quiet on the Western Front
Dennis Rettkowski, Tomer Eshed, Markus Frank for School of Magical Animals 2
Johannes Blech for The Ordinaries

Best Documentary
Elfriede Jelinek – Die Sprache von der Leine lassen
Kalle Kosmonaut
Liebe, D-Mark und Tod

Best Children’s Film
Mission Ulja Funk
Der Räuber Hotzenplotz

Most Commercially Successful Film
School of Magical Animals 2

Lifetime Achievement Award
Volker Schlöndorff

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