The 64th Berlinale begins today in Germany - a press conference for Grand Budapest Hotel is streaming right now. It's the second of the six most powerful and premiere-heavy festivals each year, which schedule like so: Sundance -January; Berlin -February; Cannes - May; and the September glut of Venice, Telluride & Toronto. Like most of the biggies Berlinale has multiple juries for multiple types of awards, major and niche. But here's the main competition jury presided over by former Focus Features chief James Schamus.
The Jury, The Competition Films, and Oscar History after the jump
Top row from left: Greta Gerwig (Actress/Writer, USA), James Schamus (Producer/Writer, USA), Trinie Dyrholm (Actress, Denmark), Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Movie Star, Hong Kong); Bottom row from left: Michel Gondry (Writer/Director, France), Barbara Broccoli (Producer/Honorary Bond Girl, USA), Christoph Waltz (Actor/QT Muse, Austria), and Mitra Farahani (Director, Iran).
No Germans at a German festival... though maybe Christoph Waltz is considered close enough? The best thing about such juries is trying to imagine the conversations among them. They couldn't all possibly have the same taste so it'll be interesting to see which films seize them collectively.
THE COMPETITION FILMS
The jury will help determine the future of the following movies...
'71 (Yann Demange, UK)
Aloft (Claudia Llosa, Spain/Canada/France) - she won the festival's top prize in 2009
Black Coat, Thin Ice (Diao Yinan, China)
Blind Massage (Lou Ye, China/France) - a favorite auteur of film festivals
Boyhood (Richard Linklater, US) -premiered at Sundance
Die Geliebten Schwestern (Dominik Graf, Germany)
Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, UK/Germany) - Opening Night Film!
History of Fear (Benjamin Naishtat, Argentina/Uruguay/Germany/France)
In Order of Disappearance (Hans Petter Moland, Norway) - Molland almost always works with Stellan Skarsgård as his leading man
Inbetween Worlds (Feo Aladag, Germany) - that title could have easily been the title of her last picture, When We Leave, which was very moving
Jack (Edward Berger, Germany)
Life of Riley (Alain Resnais, France) -91 year old French master is still working. 3 of his films have been won Oscar nominations: Mon Oncle D'Amerique, Last Year at Marienbad, and Hiroshima Mon Amour
The Little House (Yoji Yamada, Japan)
Macondo (Sudabeh Mortezai, Austria)
No Man's Land (Ning Hao, China)
Praia do Futuro (Karim Aïnouz, Brazil/Germany)
Stations of the Cross (Dietrich Brüggemann, Germany)
Stratos (Yannis Economides, Greece/Germany/Cyprus)
The Third Side of the River (Celina Murga, Argentina/Germany/Netherlands)
Two Men in Town (Rachid Bouchareb, France/Algeria/US/Belgium) - this Algerian director has been nominated for Oscar's Best Foreign Film prize thrice so he's always one to watch
BERLINALE, THE PAST FIVE YEARS
As a memory jog, here are films that won major prizes in the past five years of Berlinale, setting them on their international awards course. Berlinale is a major "tell" when it comes to Foreign Language Submissions in the Oscar race each year.
2013 Child's Pose which became Romania's Oscar submission but was not nominated. Chile's Gloria, and Bosnia's A Day in the Life of an Iron Picker which also won major prizes both went on to become Oscar submissions but were not nominated.
2012 Caesar Must Die which became Italy's Oscar submission but was not nominated. They also gave prizes to War Witch (Canada) and A Royal Affair (Denmark) which became Oscar nominees.
2011 A Separation, their clear favorite which won 3 prizes, went on to two Oscar nominations and was the first masterpiece to win Best Foreign Language Film in many many years, hopefully changing the course of that prize back to its original glories when auteur masterpieces were rewarded quite regularly
2010 Honey (Bal) which became Turkey's Oscar submission but was not nominated. They had no overlap with Oscar that year despite a prize for Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (remember how good that was?)
2009 The Milk of Sorrow which became Peru's Oscar submission and their first Oscar nominee. They also gave prizes to Asghar Farhadi's About Elly which became an Oscar submission but was not nominated - he'd have to wait a couple more years to become an international sensation.
Trivia Alert: No American picture has won the Golden Bear since Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia!