The twelve-year-old student Helena Zengel from Berlin has been nominated for a Golden Globe as a supporting actress in the western “News from the World”. This was announced by the Association of Foreign Press (HFPA) in Hollywood on Wednesday. In this category Zengel meets Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) and Olivia Colman (“The Father”), among others.
Zengel plays the orphaned Johanna at the side of two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks. After the American Civil War, she meets Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) in Texas, who travels through the country and reads the news. He takes Johanna into his care and wants to bring her to her relatives. But the way there is dangerous.
“News from the World” was directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Conspiracy”) and shot in English – which was a challenge for the student. It is her debut in English. “So for the first two days, Tom helped me a lot, and so did my mom in translating things,” Zengel told the dpa news agency.
She has not yet understood technical terms. “And in general I wasn’t that good at English. But I actually learned it by constantly being confronted with English. “
“Systemsprenger” won eight German film awards
Zengel had its first big success two years ago with the film “Systemsprenger”. In the drama, which won eight German film awards, she played a rebellious and traumatized girl who was given to care facilities by her mother. Zengel played it so authentically and intensely that word got around to Hollywood – and British director Greengrass signed her for “Neues aus der Welt”.
The girl was also convincing: Tom Hanks (64) raved, according to the film company Universal, that she had “incredible expressiveness”. “Her silence, her eyes, her instincts – she may not be aware of the rules of acting, but she already knows them implicitly.” The industry journal “Hollywood Reporter” certified her an “astonishing achievement”, and the trade journal “Variety” selected it Zengel recently became one of ten promising young actresses whose careers should be given special attention.
She is now one of a small group of child stars in Globe history with a chance to win. In 2020, the then twelve-year-old Roman Griffin Davis was nominated for “Jojo Rabbit”, in 2015 Quvenzhané Wallis (aged twelve) for “Annie”. Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”), Macaulay Culkin (“Kevin – Alone At Home”) and Anna Paquin (“The Piano”) also received nominations as young stars.
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A Netflix series playing in Berlin also has a chance of winning the coveted award. “Unorthodox” by the German director Maria Schrader has been proposed twice: as the best mini-series and in the category for the best actress. Schrader tells the story of an ultra-Orthodox Jew who fled from New York to Berlin before her husband. The main role is played by the Israeli actress Shira Haas, who is in the running for a Golden Globe for best actress.
Because of Corona: Netflix instead of a worldwide cinema release
The globe trophies in the form of a gold-colored globe are considered the most important film award in the USA after the Oscar and will be presented on February 28 in Beverly Hills. A worldwide cinema release was actually planned for “Neues aus der Welt”. But Corona made Zengel’s Hollywood debut a spanner in the works. The film will now be shown on Netflix on Wednesday, February 10th.
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That it doesn’t show in cinemas, “I think it’s stupid,” said Zengel, who comes from Friedrichshain. “It’s a shame because it’s my very first time in Hollywood and then such a big movie. And then it won’t be in the cinemas. “
Nevertheless, the time in Hollywood was an exciting experience for the twelve-year-old. Tom Hanks told her “how he lives and how he does it,” she said. “When we were out for dinner and generally when you are out with him, you can tell that people are watching all the time.” She thinks it is sometimes not that easy to be a great actor.
“You always have to be careful what you say and do,” Zengel stated. “You have to live a little more controlled. But I think it’s still a very good life. You have a job that you love very, very much and you have everything you need. So I think it’s pretty cool to be an actress. ” (dpa)