The 2017 Academy Awards nominations caused ripples of excitement in Germany after “Toni Erdmann,” a 2016 film written and directed by Maren Ade, was made an official Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
A 162-minute long father-daughter comedy, featuring Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller, “Toni Erdmann” escalates into a tug-of-war between a prankster father and his no-nonsense business consultant daughter.
The Oscar nomination does not exactly come as a surprise. Rumors have been swirling since critics broke into spontaneous applause mid-film during its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last May.
Since then, “Toni Erdmann” has dazzled one festival after another on its way to Academy Awards. The comedy notably won five awards at the 29th European Film Awards in December and was nominated at the Golden Globes.
The film was very well received by critics in Germany upon its release in July last year, but attracted only 752,000 viewers in cinemas, making it the 38th most-viewed film of 2016 in the country.
Ms. Ade, 40, is a screenwriter and a director from Karlsruhe, a city in Germany's southwestern Baden-Württemberg state. “Toni Erdmann” is her third feature. She studied film in Munich and made her 2003 debut feature, “The Forest for the Trees,” as her graduation film. Six years later, follow-up “Everyone Else” won the jury’s grand prix at the Berlinale film festival.
The last German film that was nominated in the foreign film category was “The White Ribbon” by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke in 2010. Three years earlier, “The Life of Others,” a drama set in East Germany, won the coveted statue.