Český lev (Czech Lion) Awards 2012

Celebrating 2011’s best Czech films

The Český lev (Czech Lion) Awards, which have been held annually since 1993, are the Czech Republic’s version of the Oscars, awarding a crystal lion statuette for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and other relevant categories among Czech films produced over the past year. This year’s Český lev awards were announced Saturday, March 3, at a gala awards ceremony broadcast on ČT1.

If there’s a theme to the past two year’s awards, it’s the triumph of the little movie. Last year, Radim Špaček’s widely under-seen (but extraordinary) Pouta took Best Picture over Ondřej Trojan’s nostalgic Občanský průkaz, which was one of the highest-grossing Czech films in 2010.

This year, Zdeněk Jiráský’s Poupata, a small-town family drama, has taken the Best Picture award in a similarly surprising victory. Poupata also scored victories for Best Director (Jiráský), Actor (Vladimír Javorský), and cinematography (Vladimír Smutný). Its four awards (out of ten nominations) led all nominated films.

Among other Best Picture nominees, the rotoscoped period drama Alois Nebel took home wins for Music, Sound, and Art Design. One of the few Czech features from the past year to receive international recognition, it was the Czech Republic’s official submission for Best Foreign-Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards.

Nevinnost, a drama about a man accused of a vicious crime from director Jan Hřebejk, scored two acting wins, for lead actress Anna Geislerová and supporting actor Hynek Čermák. Odcházení, the first and final film from beloved ex-president Václav Havel, won awards for Screenplay (Havel) and Editing (Jiří Brožek). Rodina je základ státu, a road movie from director Robert Sedláček (Pravidla lži, Největší z Čechů), was shut out of the main categories despite six nominations. Martin Mareček’s Pod sluncem tma won Best Documentary.

Poupata is the feature film debut of director Zdeněk Jiráský, who has previously worked in television and documentaries. The little-seen film had tallied a box office total of less than 1 million CZK since its December release (even less than last year’s Pouta). By comparison, Alois Nebel took in around 10 million CZK, Nevinnost 20 million CZK, and Muži v naději, the highest-grossing Czech film of 2011, took in approximately 100 million CZK.

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Awards announced ahead of the ceremony included Muži v naději as the “Most Successful” Czech film, last year’s Oscar winner The King’s Speech as Best Foreign Film, and Alois Nebel for Best Poster. Josef Somr (Closely Watched Trains, The Joke) received a lifetime achievement award; Rodina je základ státu and Vše pro dobro světa a Nošovic received “Critic’s Choice” awards for Feature and Documentary, respectively.

Odcházení, Rodina je základ státu, and Nevinnost are currently available on local DVD (unfortunately, the Nevinnost DVD does not contain English subtitles). Look for Alois Nebel later this month, and Poupata in April.

A complete list of nominations, with winners in bold:

Best Film

Poupata
Alois Nebel
Nevinnost
Odcházení
Rodina je základ státu

Best Director

Zdeněk Jiráský – Poupata
Tomáš Luňák – Alois Nebel
Jan Hřebejk – Nevinnost
Václav Havel – Odcházení
Robert Sedláček – Rodina je základ státu

Best Actress

Anna Geislerová – Nevinnost
Dagmar Havlová-Veškrnová – Odcházení
Ivana Chýlková – Perfect Days – I ženy mají své dny
Malgorzata Pikus – Poupata
Eva Vrbková – Rodina je základ státu

Best Supporting Actress

Taťjana Medvecká – Dům
Simona Babčáková – Rodina je základ státu
Zuzana Bydžovská – Perfect Days – I ženy mají své dny
Vlasta Chramostová – Odcházení
Anna Linhartová – Nevinnost

Best Actor

Vladimír Javorský – Poupata

Josef Abrhám – Odcházení
Miroslav Krobot – Dům
Karel Roden – Lidice
Ondřej Vetchý – Vendeta

Best Supporting Actor

Hynek Čermák – Nevinnost
Oldřich Kaiser – Odcházení
Oldřich Kaiser – Vendeta
Karel Roden – Alois Nebel
Ondřej Sokol – Perfect Days – I ženy mají své dny

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Best Screenplay

Odcházení – Václav Havel
Lidice – Zdeněk Mahler
Nevinnost – Petr Jarchovský
Poupata – Zdeněk Jiráský
Rodina je základ státu – Robert Sedláček

Best Music

Alois Nebel – Petr Kružík, Ondřej Ježek
Nevinnost – Vladivojna La Chia
Odcházení – Michal Pavlíček
Poupata – Martin Přikryl
Vendeta – Petr Ostrouchov

Best Sound

Alois Nebel – Viktor Ekrt, Ondřej Ježek
Lidice – Marek Hart
Odcházení – Viktor Ekrt, Pavel Rejholec
Poupata – Daniel Němec
Rodina je základ státu – Radim Hladík ml.

Best Cinematography

Poupata – Vladimír Smutný
Alois Nebel – Jan Baset Střítežský
Lidice – Antonio Riestra
Odcházení – Jan Malíř
Vendeta – Martin Strba

Best Editing

Odcházení – Jiří Brožek
Alois Nebel – Petr Říha
Lidice – Adam Dvořák
Nevinnost – Vladimír Barák
Poupata – Petr Turyna

Best Art Design

Alois Nebel – Henrich Boráros, Noro Držiak, Jaromír Švejdík
Autopohádky – Bára Dlouhá, Pavel Koutský, Libor Pixa, Michal Žabka
Fimfárum – Do třetice všeho dobrého – Denisa Grimmová, Patricia Ortiz Martinez, Petr Poš
Odcházení – Zuzana Ježková, Zdeněk Klika, Jiří Kylian, Ondřej Nekvasil, Karel Vaňásek
Poupata – Lucie Lišková, Jan Novotný, Jaromír Pesr, Iva Rašková

Best Documentary

Pod sluncem tma
Divadlo Svoboda
Nickyho rodina
Trafačka – Chrám svobody
Vše pro dobro světa a Nošovic

Český lev Trivia:

Like the Oscars, the award for Best Director typically goes to the director of the film awarded Best Picture. The two times the award has been split were in 2007 and 2001, when Jan Svěrák took the award for Vratné lahve and Dark Blue World, respectively.

Those two awards, in addition to a win for Kolja (which went on to win the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar), ties Svěrák with Jan Hřebejk (Horem pádem, Divided We Fall, and Šakalí léta) as the most-honored Best Director winner.

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Among Best Actress winners, Anna Geislerová’s win for Nevinnost this year gives her a record five awards. For Best Actor, Ivan Trojan currently holds the record for most awards with four.

About half (10 out of 19) of the Best Picture winners have been submitted to the Academy Awards as the official selection of the Czech Republic (each country can only submit one film to compete for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar).

Along with Svěrák’s Oscar-winning Kolja, Hřebejk’s Divided We Fall and Ondřej Trojan’s Želary have been nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award. Previous Czechoslovak nominees: Svěrák’s Obecná škola (1991), Jiří Menzel’s Vesničko má středisková (1986), Miloš Forman’s The Fireman’s Ball (1968) and Loves of a Blonde (1966), and Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains (1967) and Ján Kadár & Elmar Klos’ The Shop on Main Street (1965); those last two won the Oscar.

The Plyšový lev (Plush Lion) award, a Czech version of the Razzie, was handed out to the worst Czech film of the year until the award was abolished in 2008. Few winners are of note; Zdeněk Troška’s three Kameňák films bear the distinction of winning the award each year from 2003-5.

Past Český lev Best Picture winners:

2010: Pouta (director: Radim Špaček)
2009: Protektor (Marek Najbrt)
2008: Karamazovi (Petr Zelenka)
2007: Tajnosti
(Alice Nellis)
2006: I Served the King of England (Jiří Menzel)
2005: Štěstí (Bohdan Sláma)
2004: Horem pádem (Jan Hřebejk)
2003: Nuda v Brně (Vladimír Morávek)
2002: Rok ďábla (Petr Zelenka)
2001: Otesánek (Jan Švankmajer)
2000: Divided We Fall (Jan Hřebejk)
1999: Návrat idiota (Saša Gedeon)
1998: Je třeba zabít Sekala (Vladimír Michálek)
1997: Knoflíkáři (Petr Zelenka)
1996: Kolja (Jan Svěrák)
1995: Zahrada (Martin Šulík)
1994: Díky za každé nové ráno (Milan Šteindler)
1993: Šakalí léta (Jan Hřebejk)


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