Romania's entry to the Oscar race just got a major kudos boost at the European Film Awards held Saturday in Berlin. After previously winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days" took best picture and director (Cristian Mungiu) for its powerful portrayal of two women seeking illegal abortions in Communist-ruled Romania.
According to some pundits, "4 Months" is one of several frontrunners in the foreign film race at the Oscars and it could be a serious player in the contests for best director and screenplay, too. However, Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com reports on woes it encountered at a recent academy screening - click here. Last year's best-pic champ at the European Film Awards won the foreign-language Oscar, "The Lives of Others," and previous top champs were key players in other major academy races: ""Talk to Her" (2002), "Dancer in the Dark" (2000), "Life Is Beautiful" (1997), "The Full Monty" (1997). Other top champs like "Cache" (2005) failed to resonate at the Oscars.
"4 Months" beat the film with the most nominations, "The Queen," which nonetheless reigned supreme with two wins: best actress Helen Mirren and music composter Alexandre Desplat. The big upset was in the lead actor's race where James McAvoy ("The Last King of Scotland") and Ben Whishaw ("Perfume") lost to Sasson Gabai in the controversial "The Band's Visit," which the Oscars recently rejected as Israel's entry in the foreign-language film race because it contains too much spoken English.
(Photos/ Video: IFC Films)