1. The Oscar nomination for Sandra Hülser is great, but the competition at the awards ceremony in March is strong

The film "Anatomy of a Case" is a crime thriller and yet great cinematic art, this mixture rarely occurs - and the German actress Sandra Hülser, who plays a writer in the film, is, as it was announced today, nominated for the Oscar for best actress .

Director Justine Triet had already triumphed with “Anatomy of a Case” at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year.

The Academy Awards, as the Oscars are officially called, are scheduled to be presented on March 10th in Los Angeles.

The film “Oppenheimer” is nominated in 13 and therefore in the most categories.

In addition to the nomination for Sandra Hülser for her leading role in "Anatomy of a Case", Germany's film industry is also represented in the Oscar competition for the best international film with the film "The Teacher's Room" by director Ilker Çatak.

The German director Wim Wenders is also in the running in the same category with the film “Perfect Days” for Japan, which was shot in Japan.

How good are Sandra Hülser's chances of winning a prize in Los Angeles?

She competes in the category with Hollywood stars Emma Stone (for "Poor Things"), Carey Mulligan (for "Maestro"), Lily Gladstone (for "Killers of the Flower Moon") and Annette Bening (for "Nyad").

Hülser was recently nominated for a Golden Globe, but at the award ceremony in early January she lost to competitor Gladstone in the “Best Actress in a Drama Film” category.

My colleague Hannah Pilarczyk recently portrayed the actress Hülser and found out, among other things, what many people say about her: "Perfect preparation, never any text hang-ups, plus friendly interaction with everyone on set."

Hannah also quotes a laudatory speech given to her colleague by actor Jens Harzer at an awards ceremony in Hamburg.

He has found “wonderful words” for what connects Hülser’s characters: “A lostness that simultaneously insists on independence and uniqueness.” This, Hannah thinks, “is a beautiful description of what is the tragedy, but also the comedy, of many Hülser characters.” figures."

  • Read the whole story here: Sandra Hülser nominated for Oscar for Best Actress

2. Many Russians are freezing this winter because the state is waging war instead of investing in thermal power plants

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Marija in her kitchen in Podolsk, which she can no longer use: she and her family are staying with friends

Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov / DER SPIEGEL

“The cold can truly burn / Like fire,” wrote the writer Heinrich Heine in a famous winter poem. In Russia, many people have to do without heating for a while this winter.

My colleague Christina Hebel is reporting today from a Moscow suburb whose residents are struggling with the collapse of the local district heating system.

The suburb of Podolsk has “become a symbol of the state of Russia,” writes the colleague.

At the beginning of January, temperatures fell below minus 20 degrees Celsius, and an outdated thermal power plant in part of the suburb could no longer withstand this.

More than 170 apartment blocks, a hospital, schools and kindergartens were suddenly without heating, and around 20,000 people had to endure the cold for days.

Tens of thousands of Russians are apparently affected by similar problems elsewhere this winter.

In December, hot water pipes began to burst in the Kaliningrad region, and cold apartments were reported in St. Petersburg and many other cities.

There has been a lack of funds for the renovation of the infrastructure for years; in 2020, the Russian Ministry of Construction estimated the costs for such renovation in the country at four trillion rubles, which is now more than 41 billion euros.

President Vladimir Putin currently has other priorities during wartime.

"It was he who, in 2022, after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, warned the Germans about cold apartments after he had turned off their gas," writes my colleague Christina.

»Now he has to concern himself with the cold homes of his citizens instead of war and geopolitics.

Putin wants to be confirmed in office in March;

He has no use for excited and angry people in the country.

  • Read the full story here: Tens of thousands of Russians were forced to freeze in their homes.

    What's going on in Putin's empire? 

3. The dispute over a chaos financial institution in Thuringia called the “Effenberg Bank” is also a bit of a culture war between East and West

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The setting for a financial crime: the Thuringian half-timbered pearl Schmalkalden

Photo: H. Tschanz-Hofmann / IMAGO

Sometimes stories from the seemingly sober world of business also have great entertainment value.

The financial drama surrounding Volksbank Schmalkalden, which has been affecting the public for some time, is one of them.

The bank is called the “Effenberg Bank” by many people nationwide because the ex-footballer Stefan Effenberg was supposed to use his contacts in the football scene on their behalf to provide cash-strapped clubs with loans from the bank for the purchase of players.

My colleague Tim Bartz is reporting today on a new spectacular volte-face at the bank, which is currently under the supervision of two special representatives from the Bafin banking regulator.

Because the bank was apparently threatened with losses of millions, Bafin had declared a de facto loan ban at the end of 2023, demanded, among other things, daily liquidity reports, forced the 16-member supervisory board out of the bank and appointed two special representatives as acting heads of the institute.

My colleague Tim reports that the highly controversial ex-CEO of VR-Bank may now want to have a greater influence on the bank's fortunes again - an extraordinary general meeting, probably in March in Erfurt, could actually give him opportunities to do so.

The supervisory institutions had accused the bank under the old leadership of, among other things, a "poor risk culture" and expressed "concerns about the reliability of the money laundering prevention function and the bank's customer structure."

These are “harsh accusations that you rarely read with such clarity,” said my colleague.

The events could be dismissed as ingredients of a bizarre provincial drama, but that would probably not do the matter justice.

Because, as my colleague Tim assesses, there is a pinch of culture war mixed into the fight of the comrades in southern Thuringia against the Bonn financial supervisory authority Bafin and the Volksbankenverband BVR from Berlin: East against West, small-town underdogs against bureaucrats, freedom instead of regulation.

»The annoyance of many Effenberg Bank owners and employees towards “those up there” is palpable to anyone who asks around.

In this respect, the affair has something contemporary.”

  • Read the whole story here: A spectacular volte-face at the “Effenberg Bank” is emerging 

What else is important today?

  • Germany is considering an entry ban for right-wing extremists Martin Sellner:

    He is often a guest at new right-wing networks in Germany, most recently Martin Sellner actively promoted his racist ideas in Potsdam.

    Now the right-wing extremist Austrian could be prevented from entering the country in the future.

  • Consumers choose "Tuc Bake Rolls" as the "deceptive package of the year":

    Bread chips from the manufacturer Mondelez have been produced under a different brand since last year, and since then they have been more than twice as expensive.

    Consumers were particularly annoyed by this hidden price increase.

  • Marsupial mice have sex for hours - then the males are eaten:

    The brown broad-footed marsupial mouse's sexual intercourse lasts up to 14 hours, after which many males die of exhaustion.

    The survivors take advantage of this.

My favorite story today: Anja Rützel about jungle camp, day four

To be honest, I could never fully understand the enthusiasm for the so-called trash format "I'm a star - get me out of here!", now my colleague Anja Rützel, who always reports in an amusing way, judges that the current jungle camp crew has been disappointing so far.

“When you watch, you feel like a hormonally much more relaxed Pentecostal camp supervisor, surrounded by rut-confused, gonad-overwhelmed boy scouts,” it says in her text.

"The pubescent and, above all, highly inflationary sex chatter is annoying." And Anja describes what really happened to Cora Schumacher, who apparently left the camp voluntarily before the live broadcast on Sunday.

»In yesterday's episode you could see and hear her coughing badly shortly before: the smoke from the "shitty fire" could no longer be endured for her after a corona illness, she explained.

Then she cried into the jungle phone that she wanted to move out immediately.

  • Read more here: With the “pussy” in the face – and hormones in front of the camera 

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • Economists pick apart Weidel's Dexit idea:

    AfD leader Alice Weidel is flirting with Germany leaving the EU.

    Leading economists are horrified - and point to a chilling example: "That would be an economic disaster."

  • What Wagenknecht's candidates really think about Russia:

    Get out of the EU and NATO?

    Fabio De Masi and Michael von derschulenburg want to enter the EU Parliament for the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance.

    Here they talk about Russia's war and their own ideas about diplomacy.

  • Suddenly it's all about the AfD in Hanoi:

    Germany is more agitated than it has been for a long time, and at the same time Frank-Walter Steinmeier is touring Southeast Asia for a few days.

    The president brings with him concern about the situation at home – and a good intention.

  • How biochar is supposed to save the climate – and our soils:

    In order to curb global warming, CO₂ must be removed from the atmosphere.

    Coal, of all things, could play a key role in this.

    And help farmers and builders.

Which is less important today

Her heart will go on.

Kate Winslet

, 48-year-old actress and famous, among other things, for her role in "Titanic", has donated 5,000 pounds (the equivalent of around 5,840 euros) for a young British woman with a serious eye disease.

Eleven-year-old Lily-Rae Merchant-O'Hanlon from Nottingham started the fundraising campaign so she could see the Northern Lights before her condition worsens and she goes blind.

On the campaign website, Winslet said: “I wish Lily-Rae magical adventures so she can have many special experiences that she will remember!

With much love, Kate Winslet and family."

Mini concave mirror

You can find the entire concave mirror here.

Cartoon of the day

And tonight?

On the occasion of the death of the German pop legend Frank Farian, you could watch the film "Girl You Know It's True", which retells the complicated story about the formation Milli Vanilli, produced by Farian.

My colleague Lars-Olav Beier praised the film and wrote that Farian was not portrayed as a villain, but rather, as the film's director puts it, as a "socially awkward maniac."

You can read an interview by my colleague Alex Gernandt with Farian about Boney M. and other big successes, about black music and hits from 2016 here.

A lovely evening.


Yours, Wolfgang Höbel, author in the culture department