It was a big night for Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who won the nation's top acting award and was recognised for his life's work with the Swiss film industry's Honorary Award.
In its laudatory as part of the Swiss Film Award ceremony on Friday, the 76-year-old Ganz was praised as "one of the most important German-speaking actors, a multiple award-winner starring in countless productions in international film and theatre".
The 20th edition of the Swiss Film Award, held in Geneva, crowned the animated film "Ma vie de courgette" (My life as a courgette) by Valais director Claude Barras as best fiction film. It also had been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Feature category.
The best film music award went to Swiss jazz pop singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger of Bern, who wrote the music for the film. A special prize went to Marie-Eve Hildbrand of Lausanne for the film's casting and acting direction.
German film "Die göttliche Ordnung" garnered three awards. Best actress went to Marie Leuenberger, who plays a young Appenzell woman committed to women's voting rights in 1971. Best supporting performance was handed to Rachel Braunschweig. Director Petra Volpe picked up best screenplay.
Ganz, who was born in Zurich on March 22, 1941 to a Swiss father and an Italian mother, also won for best actor as Arthur Bloch in "Un Juif pour l'exemple", de Jacob Berger.
He is the current bearer of the Iffland-Ring, a diamond-studded ring that is considered the highest acting honor in German-speaking theatre. He has had it since 1996. Each ring-bearer is supposed to pick a successor.
Despite winning countless awards, Ganz would rather let his film and stage performances speak for his talents than talking to the media. In 2012, as Ganz was being given a lifetime achievement award by the European Film Academy, Swiss director Fredi M. Murer provided some insights about the celebrated actor.
“In private, he often strikes me as shy and introverted and from the countryside. And then on stage there suddenly appears this ‘grandezza’ [grandness], a certain Italianness.”
On the set of Vitus, Murer said he found Ganz a very precise and concentrated loner. “I think that when he’s in character, he doesn’t want to be spoken to as Bruno Ganz.”