Matthias Schoenaerts, Belgium’s best Hollywood hope, was awarded the prize for Best Actor at the weekend at the Ensor awards in Ostend. The prize for Best Actress went to Natali Broods for Façades.
Schoenaerts was awarded the prize for his role in Le Fidèle, known in English as Racer and the Jailbird, directed by Michael K. Roskam, whose 2011 film Rundskop (Bullhead) thrust Schoenaerts upon the world stage. He has, however been a rising star since his childhood, when he performed on stage with his father Julien, then considered one of Belgium’s finest actors, working in Flanders and the Netherlands. By the time he starred in Bullhead, he had already made his movie bones in films like Daens, Loft and Far From the Madding Crowd.
Le Fidèle is the story of a gangster and a racing driver who fall in love.
Natali Broods began in Any Way the Wind Blows, a film written and directed by rock star Tom Barman and also starring Schoenaerts, in which a seemingly random group of people go about their business on one day in Antwerp, at the end of which they come together. In her latest, Façades, she plays a woman who has to take over the care of her demented father after her mother abandons him. It was directed by Kaat Beels and Nathalie Basteyns.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, the Flemish actor Bruno Vanden Broecke was awarded the Louise dOr, the prize given annually for the best performance by an actor in a theatre production, for his role in Para, a monologue in which he describes is experience in Somalia 25 years ago. According to the prize jury, “Bruno Vanden Broecke in ‘Para’ is an actor who seems not to be acting; he becomes his character.”