According to the Associated Press, Maggie Gyllenhaal won the Best Actress award at the 2006 Stockholm Film Festival for her performance in Sherrybaby. Sherrybaby also won Best Picture, and Ryan Gosling took home Best Actor for Half Nelson. Meanwhile, director Lasse Hallstrom returned to his hometown to collect the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hallstrom, 60, made his big-screen directing debut in 1975 and also helmed music videos for ABBA. Later, he enjoyed a breakout international hit with his 1985 coming-of-age film My Life as a Dog. It was released in the US in 1987, earning him an Oscar nomination for Best Director. It wasn't long before he began making movies in Hollywood, cranking out such forgettable dramas as Once Around (1991) and Something to Talk About (1995). But Oscar didn't forget about him; Leonardo DiCaprio earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for his performance as a developmentally disabled boy in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993). In 1999, Hallstrom became the Weinstein brothers' go-to guy (along with John Madden) for Oscar films: The Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), The Shipping News (2001), An Unfinished Life (2005), Casanova (2005) and the upcoming The Hoax.
Hallstrom told Reuters about his plans to adapt Per Olov Enquist's prize-winning book The Royal Physician's Visit for an upcoming film, but his next film will be The Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, to be released in 2008, with his wife Lena Olin in a lead role. He also told reporters that My Life as a Dog is his personal favorite of all his films, though he expected that it was too "typically Swedish" and would be "impossible to export."
I agree that My Life as a Dog is his best film, and frankly it's the only one that's even remotely tolerable. But he needn't have worried. Its goopy coming-of-age story was about as Swedish as Stand by Me was; that kind of film plays well in any country. No, Hallstrom is the type of director who is specifically available to win awards. None of his films has any spark of life or any personality; there's no evidence as to why he wants to make films or why he has chosen these specific subjects. They just have a kind of noble, distant sheen.
I mean, if you want to talk Swedish directors, he's no Ingmar Bergman.