Two films with Oscar gold in their sights received a nice boost on Sunday when the BFI London Film Festival unveiled its complete list of award winners from the 66th edition of the festival.
“Corsage,” Marie Kreutzer’s feminist reimagining of the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary and Austria’s official submission to the Best International Feature race, took home the trophy for Best Film. The festival had high praise for the film, writing that “the jury was completely seduced by Vicky Krieps’ sublime performance of a woman out of time trapped in her own iconography and her rebellious yearning for liberation.”
“I want to say thank you to the members of the jury for choosing our film and giving us this beautiful award,” Marie Kreutzer said. “For me this award, which is an award for the film, is not only my award it belongs to all of us. The most beautiful thing about my job is to collaborate with so many great creatives and artists and create something together day by day without knowing how it will turn out… For all of us I’m so happy that it turned out so well and that people love the film so much…This award is for everyone on my team. It’s hard to find the right words right now, I’m happy!”
On the nonfiction side, the Sundance hit “All That Breathes” won the top documentary prize, the Grierson Award in Documentary Competition. Shaunak Sen’s portrait of two brothers who rescue birds in India was already positioned to be a contender for Best Documentary Feature, but the praise it received from the jury puts it even further ahead in Oscar race.
“The winner of this year’s award is a film that through an intimate lens reveals the beauty of kinship and the struggle for survival in a time of increasing social and environmental collapse,” the Documentary Competition jury wrote about the film. “This masterful work is thrilling evidence of the present and future of non-fiction filmmaking. This is pure cinema.”
“The film has very deep connections to the UK and London in particular,” Shaunak Sen said. “Our wonderful producers are all based in London, attending the screenings at the London Film Festival was excellent personally for me because apart from the responses from the packed houses also it became a warm gathering of other crew members… Most importantly while the awards are fabulous as a kind of recognition for the work we have put in, it feels special because what awards like this do is give traction to the truly singular work that our protagonists, the brothers Nadeem and Saud, do. I’m absolutely thrilled and so so happy.”
Rounding out the feature film winners list were “1976,” which won the Sutherland Award in First Feature Competition; and “Blue Bag Life,” which took home the Audience Award.