Oscar Actors: Mueller-Stahl, Armin

For his performance as the abusive father of genius pianist in Scott Hicks’s Shine, Armin Mueller-Stahl received Oscar nomination as Suporting Actor as well as (with his fellow actors from the film) a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee.


Mueller-Stahl was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, and raised in East Berlin. He is an actor, musician, painter, writer, and director. Following his studies, he made his theatrical debut in 1952, performing in classical plays at Berlin’s Volksbühne. He then began working in television and film, making his screen debut in Gustav von Wangenheim’s Heimliche Ehen.


He starred in several features for Frank Beyer, among them Jacob the Liar (1975), Five Cartridges, and Royal Children; and earned critical acclaim for his portrayals in Egon Günther’s The Third and Roland Gräf’s The Flight.


After moving to West Berlin in 1979, Mueller-Stahl starred for Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Lola and Veronika Voss; in Niklaus Schilling’s Der Westen leuchtet; and won the Best Actor Award at the 1985 Montréal World Film Festival for his work in Agnieszka Holland’s Angry Harvest.


His many other films include Patrice Chéreau’s L’Homme blessé; István Szabó’s Colonel Redl; Costa-Gavras’s Music Box; Barry Levinson’s Avalon; George Sluizer’s Utz, for which he was named Best Actor at the 1992 Berlin International Film Festival; Jim Jarmusch’s Night on Earth; Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka; Rob Bowman’s The X Files; Peter Kassovitz’ Jakob the Liar (1999); Agnieszka Holland’s The Third Miracle; and Conversation with the Beast, which he directed, co-wrote, and starred in as Adolf Hitler. On The International, he reunites with Eastern Promises leading lady Naomi Watts.  Mueller-Stahl will next be seen in Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons.


Mr. Mueller-Stahl has published Drehtage (1991), a reflection of his life and work; Verordneter Sonntag (1983); Unterwegs nach Hause (1996); In Gedanken an Marie Louise (1998); the short story Hannah (2004); the novella Venice (2005), containing diary entries and sketches; Kettenkarussell (2006); Armin Mueller-Stahl Portraits: Painting and Drawing (2006), and many more collections of works containing paintings, lithographs and sketches.


At the 2007 Lolas, Germany’s equivalent of the Oscars®, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

See Review of Shine