Oscar fever grips Swiss film-makers

Marc Forster’s Finding Neverland has seven Oscar nominations Keystone

With the Oscars ceremony approaching, Swiss film-makers have high hopes of scooping at least one of the prestigious awards.

This content was published on February 16, 2005 - 16:49

Besides works by Swiss director Marc Forster and producer Arthur Cohn, a film featuring actor Bruno Ganz and a short film shot by cameraman Markus Hürsch are all in the running.

The 77th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will take place in Hollywood’s Kodak theatre on February 27.

This year there is a good chance that one of those making an acceptance speech will be Swiss. No fewer than four nominated films have a Swiss connection.

Forster’s film Finding Neverland has been nominated in seven categories. Only Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator has more nominations – 11 in total.

Forster – who hails from eastern Switzerland – is pinning his hopes on the Oscars, after failing to pick up a Golden Globe award last month. Finding Neverland had been nominated in five categories, including best director.

Oscar hopes

"With so many nominations, he [Forster] has very high chances of success," said Micha Schiwow of the Swiss Films association, which promotes Swiss films at home and abroad.

Of the seven nominations, two are in the most important categories - best picture and best actor (Johnny Depp).

The Swiss producer and six-times Oscar winner, Arthur Cohn, and his co-producer, Ruth Waldburger, have hopes of picking up two golden statuettes. Their French-language film Les Choristes [The Chorus] is nominated in the categories best film song and best foreign language film.

In the second category, Les Choristes is up against the German production Der Untergang [The Downfall], a film about the last days of Hitler’s life, starring Swiss actor Bruno Ganz.

"I think both productions have a very good chance," Schiwow told swissinfo.

Little Terrorist

Swiss cameraman Markus Hürsch also has hopes of Oscar glory. Little Terrorist, the film he made with Indian director Ashvin Kumar, and which has already won several European film prizes, is competing in the best short film category.

"This shows that we have people at home and abroad who can produce or make quality films," Schiwow commented.

Schiwow said that although there were no actual Swiss productions in the running this year, the involvement of Swiss producers and directors in nominated films would draw attention to Switzerland.

"I hope there will be more international and US interaction with Switzerland," he said, adding that this could give a further boost to the Swiss film industry, which has experienced an upturn in recent years.

At least one person closely related to Switzerland is certain to be on the stage come February 27. Renee Zellweger, the Hollywood star and Oscar winner with Swiss roots, is one of the presenters at this year’s ceremony.

swissinfo, Christian Raaflaub

In brief

Four films with a Swiss involvement have a record 11 nominations at this year’s Oscars ceremony.

Marc Forster’s Finding Neverland has been nominated in seven categories.

Les Choristes, produced by Arthur Cohn, is competing against Der Untergang, starring Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, for best foreign language film.

Little Terrorist, filmed by Swiss cameraman Markus Hürsch, is nominated for best short film.

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