Donc, 'ere we go!
Broadcast live in 27 countries, the 13th European Film Awards returned to Paris for the second time after 1989. The ceremony at the Théâtre National de Chaillot started with a welcome by French cultural minister Catherine Tasca and EFA President Wim Wenders. On a set of gigantic black stairs, "2000 European Film Awards" written on them in white, the evening's host Antoine de Caunes then welcomed the guests, among them French prime minister Lionel Jospin, Guillaume Canet, Liv Ullmann, Eduardo Noriega, Jeremy Thomas, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Tykwer, Emmanuelle Béart and Jamie Bell, and surprised everybody by exclaiming: "Donc, here we go - I will be speaking English from now on!" That this was only part of a genuinely bilingual script became apparent when he next introduced as "a good friend of mine, even though he's a Brit" co-host Rupert Everett who spoke only French. Together they turned the ceremony into an entertaining and sometimes hilariously funny show.
Kicked off by an amusing clip of various, supposedly cut, film scenes of the two hosts as a more or less romantic couple, the evening's first award was presented by Spanish actress Rossi di Palma. She handed the People's Choice Award 2000 for Best European Actor to a surprised Ingvar E. Sigurdsson from Iceland for his role in ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE.
Next were Italian actress Asia Argento and her Swedish colleague Amanda Ooms presenting the European Discovery 2000 – Fassbinder Award to Laurent Cantet for HUMAN RESOURCES.
A first highlight of the evening came with American actor Harvey Keitel presenting the award European Achievement in World Cinema 2000 to Jean Reno, as he said, "a worthy recipient of an award which recognizes the international standing of an unmistakably European talent." The French actor expressed his gratitude with an international "thank you, muchas gracias, danke et grazie mille!"
German actress Jasmin Tabatabai and British producer Tim Bevan then presented the European Short Film 2000 – Prix UIP, endowed with EUR 10,000, to Livia Gyarmathy for OUR STORK. After a few words in Hungarian, the director thanked the film's lead - a stork.
Dutch actress Maruschka Detmers and her Spanish colleague Fele Martínez presented the Screen International European Film Award 2000 for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. Wearing his typical sunglasses, director Wong Kar-Wai said, "Thank you, it's a great honour!" and thanked his crew, producers and distributors.
Next on stage were French actress Julie Gayet and her Welsh colleague Matthew Rhys presenting the European Critics’ Award 2000 – Prix Fipresci to CLOUDS OF MAY by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. The Turkish director thanked FIPRESCI and the Academy saying, "when we made this film we never expected such beautiful prizes!"
Presented by the French actress Fanny Ardant, next was the award European Screenwriter 2000 which went to Agnès Jaoui & Jean-Pierre Bacri for IT TAKES ALL KINDS.
This year's European Documentary Award – Prix Arte was presented by English actress Alice Evans and her Croatian colleague Rade Šerbedžija. They announced a special mention for the German documentary HOME GAME by Pepe Danquart and presented the award to the French film THE GLEANERS AND I. The director Agnès Varda thanked the Academy and said that if the gleaners she filmed had a place here, "it's because of their courage, their clarity, energy and generosity which spread warmth and light."
British singer/actress Patsy Kensit and German actor Joachim Król then presented the award European Cinematographer 2000 to Vittorio Storaro for GOYA IN BORDEAUX. The Italian cinematographer pointed out that cinema is a product of a collective energy and thanked the film's producer and director.
Another highlight came with Spanish actress Carmen Maura and her Belgian colleague Marie Gillain presenting the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in Spanish and French to Richard Harris. To standing ovations the legendary Irish actor had the audience burst into laughter when he announced that he was "so bloody nervous that I'm dying for a pee!" He said "I am thrilled with this!" and took a seat with the other winners on the stairs on stage.
Two actresses were next, Franka Potente from Germany and Valeria Golino from Italy, presenting the award European Actor 2000 to a nervous Sergi Lopez from Spain for his role in HARRY, HE IS HERE TO HELP.
Finally, the award European Film 2000 was presented by Portuguese actress/director Maria de Medeiros, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and EU Commissioner Viviane Reding. Almodóvar told the audience that he had been living with these statuettes for some years, pointed out that "some of my problems disappeared," and said, "It's something very good to have at your home so I recommend it to you all." The award went to the film DANCER IN THE DARK which also won European Actress 2000 for Björk and two People's Choice Awards. Since the Danish director Lars von Trier doesn't like to travel, the award was accepted by the film's producer Vibeke Windeløv who thanked the film's 28 European co-producers "for daring to invest in us".