Hamburg: A forge for Oscar winners? | – Culture

Status: 03/10/2023 4:53 p.m

In the night from Sunday to Monday it’s that time again: The Oscars will be awarded! The producer Malte Grunert, who worked in Hamburg for many years, has been nominated for Best Film with “Nothing New in the West”. It would not be the first time that Hamburg has won the Oscars.

von Danny Marques Marcalo

Everything about Christoph Lauenstein’s Oscar is special: first of all, that he, as a Hamburg filmmaker, won the Oscar for his animated short film “Balance” in 1990 – together with his twin brother Wolfgang. This Oscar is awarded by Bugs Bunny! As the two walk onto the stage, they look almost worried. Christoph gives the acceptance speech. It’s very exciting to be on stage with this great guy, says Christoph Lauenstein, holding up the Oscar.

“It’s a very surreal moment. You try to concentrate on the three sentences that you’ve prepared just in case,” says Christoph Lauenstein. “But what you don’t expect at all is that you look into the audience and see all the faces that you usually only see on the big screen.” It’s not every day that Steven Spielberg and Star Wars inventor George Lucas listen attentively.

Oscar win triggers “brain implosion”.

A few years later, Pepe Danquart, film lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, feels the same way. He won in 1994 with his short film “Schwarzfahrer”. Comedian Rosie O’Donnell reads his name. “You’re shocked. There’s an implosion in your brain,” says Pepe Danquart. “Then you’re taken by the hand and guided through five heavily organized press rooms – one for TV, one for radio and so on.”

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In the days and weeks beforehand, most of the nominees are already in Los Angeles, for press events, panel discussions, but also for background talks. A bit of an election campaign is then already being carried out, says Malte Grunert: “Of course it’s about the members of the Academy who are entitled to vote seeing the film. There are screenings to which people are invited. Our director, our actors and I have been to Los Angeles several times , just to raise the profile of the film.”

Long line of Hamburg Oscar winners

Grunert could win the Oscar as the producer of “Nothing New in the West” on Sunday night. He would then not only stand in a row of Hamburg Oscar winners with the Lauenstein twins and Pepe Danquart: Luise Rainer won two acting Oscars in the 1930s – she lived in Hamburg for years. Ernst Fegté, an important set builder for Paramount Studios, was born here and studied at the University of Hamburg. And there are more.

“Of course it’s always difficult to sit at the table with the others who didn’t make it and put a good face on the bad game,” says Christoph Lauenstein about the party after the Oscars. He and his brother then gave up their studies and ran a successful production company in Eimsbüttel. And the Oscar, where is it? “It’s right here on my closet, it’s regularly cleaned and cared for.” After all, an Oscar is not an everyday object and should always shine pretty.

Further information

Soldiers in World War I scurry across a battlefield - scene from the thriller "nothing new in the West" - a Netflix production © Reiner Bajo Photo: Reiner Bajo

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NDR Culture | Classic in the day | 03/11/2023 | 7:40 a.m

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