Sudabeh Mortezai’s Joy triumphed at the Österreichischer Filmpreis 2020, winning – during the awards evening on Thursday, the 30th of January at the Grafenegg Auditorium – the prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (for Joy Anwulika Alphonsus) and Best Screenplay.
Let us agree: although it was not included in the five films in the running for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Joy – directed by Sudabeh Mortezai – enjoyed a lot of satisfaction. After six nominations for the Österreichischer Filmpreis 2020, it won four of the most important prizes at the awards ceremony on Thursday, the 30th of January, at the Grafenegg Auditorium. In fact, it won the Österreichischer Filmpreis for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (newcomer Joy Anwulika Alphonsus) and Best Screenplay. In a nutshell, this feature film even managed to surpass Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe in terms of the number of awards it won, which was practically the favourite and had, at the time, obtained ten nominations, but then took home “only” three awards (Best Editing, Best Makeup and Best Production Design).
And so, during the lively awards ceremony – presented by director, actor and casting director Markus Schleinzer together with his colleague, actress and director Salka Weber, who had fun exchanging stage outfits – broadcast on ORF channel 3, directed by Mirjam Unger, we could witness amazing victories and real surprises, with some particularly striking moments, such as, for example, when the two hosts recalled the personalities of Austrian cinema who had passed away in the last year (including the director Gustav Deutsch) or when the Österreichischer Filmpreis for lifetime achievement was awarded to the producer Josef Aichholzer.
Undoubtedly, there are those who were quite disappointed by this recent award ceremony. Just like those who, on the contrary, would not have expected such a great success (just as young Joy Anwulika Alphonsus stated when collecting her award). And yet, between discoveries of new talents (see, above all, the young documentary filmmaker Ulli Gladik, awarded – ex aequo together with director Nikolaus Geyrhalter – for her Inland) and prizes awarded to real masters of contemporary Austrian cinema (see, for example, Tobias Moretti’s victory with the Österreichischer Filmpreis for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Gipsy Queen, or that of Josef Hader, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Nevrland), we can realise how contemporary Austrian cinema is aiming at a production of feature films that are as varied as possible, brave, and not afraid to experiment with new languages or explore themes that have never (or almost never) been dealt with in the past. And this edition of the Österreichischer Filmpreis shows just that: this strong, very strong desire to “take flight”, to loudly affirm its own identity, to want to grow as much as possible in spite of those who, over the past decades, have considered Austrian cinema to be a second-rate film industry.
But, by now, what has been has been. The past has had its day in its own way, the present seems full of interesting ideas and the future is still to be drawn. And certainly local directors and producers will not lack the courage to always discover new paths and even to ‘push the envelope’.
Below is the complete list of winners of this Österreichischer Filmpreis 2020. Congratulations to all and see you next year!
Joy by Sudabeh Mortezai
BEST SHORT FILM
Freigang by Martin Winter
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Joy Anwulika Alphonsus in Joy
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Tobias Moretti in Gipsy Queen
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Pia Hierzegger in The Ground beneath my Feet
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Josef Hader in Nevrland
Sudabeh Mortezai for Joy
Sudabeh Mortezai for Joy
Jo Molitoris for Nevrland
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Christine Ludwig for How I taught myself to be a Child
Heiko Schmidt for Little Joe
Wolfgang Mitterer for The Children of the Dead
Karina Ressler for Little Joe
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Katharina Wöppermann for Little Joe
Gregor Kienel, Thomas Pötz, Rudolf Gottsberger for Nevrland
ÖSTERREICHISCHER FILMPREIS FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Love Machine by Andreas Schmied