"Anonymous," "Stopped on Track" win big at German film awards

Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:51pm EDT
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By Alice Baghdjian

BERLIN (Reuters) - A film by Hollywood director Roland Emmerich portraying William Shakespeare as a fraud won six German Film Prize trophies on Friday at the world's most lucrative movie honors with total prize money of around $4 million.

But the top award, best film, went to Andreas Dresen's "Stopped on Track" ("Halt auf freier Strecke"), a portrait of a man dying from a brain tumor. It won in four categories overall, including director, actor and supporting actor.

The six wins by "Anonymous," starring Welsh actor Rhys Ifans and filmed at Berlin's Babelsberg Studios, came mostly in technical categories such as production design, costumes, cinematography and editing.

The English-language film theorizes that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, penned works such as "King Lear" and "Macbeth," and it depicts William Shakespeare as a drunken buffoon who could barely write his own name.

When "Anonymous" was released in theatres last year, it was criticized by some Shakespeare scholars who said the theory was nonsense. It failed to earn major revenues at worldwide box offices, but did play well in Germany and even picked up an Oscar nomination in the United States for costume design.

Emmerich, better known for directing disaster movies such as "Independence Day" and "2012," told Reuters he was surprised to win so many awards, but they had not altered the way he thought about the film.

"Yes, we got some criticism in Britain, but the film was taken up really well in Germany and in the United States too," he said after the ceremony. "The fact that the film is getting good recognition again hasn't changed things for me."

The German-born director praised working in his homeland and his local crew, saying "it's unbelievable how good it can be."   Continued...

Winners stand together at the end of the German Film Prize (Lola) ceremony in Berlin April 27, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch