The Actor Award
went to Timothy Spall for his role as the renowned British artist J.M.W. Turner whose use of light
and color made him a pioneering and controversial figures of his day.
was directed by seven-time Academy Award® nominated and multiple BAFTA winning writer/director Mike Leigh (Another Year, Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies). The legendary British actor Timothy Spall ( Harry Potter, Secrets & Lies) is one of the frequent Leigh collaborators which also includes Academy Award® nominated cinematographer
Dick Pope (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies, The Illusionist) and Academy Award®-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran ( Another Year, Anna Karenina, Atonement). Leigh works in close collaboration with his actors and used his unique methods of improvisation
to bring Turner and his 19th century world to life. Mike Leigh said: “Turner as a character is compelling. I want to explore the man, his working life, his
relationships and how he lived. But what fascinates me most is the drama that lies in the tension between this driven eccentric and the epic, timeless
world he evoked in his masterpieces. “
In accepting the award, Timothy Spall said, “I’ve spent a lot of time being a bridesmaid. This is the first time I’ve ever been a bride, so I’m quite
pleased about that. This is as much an accolade for Mr. Leigh as it is for me.” Spall recalled that when Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies,
in which he also starred, won the Palme d’Or, he was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. “I thank God that I’m still here and alive.”
The film was already presold before Cannes by ISA Pyramide to U.S. to Sony Pictures Classics, Canada to Mongrel Media Inc.,
France to Canal + and Diaphana Distribution , Germany to
Prokino Filmverleih Gmbh
Switzerland tp Pathe Films Ag.
The film is gorgeous, capturing the milieu in which Turner lived. From his cramped quarters where he lived with his father and housekeeper (and sometimes a
sort of lover) to his home in Margate where he marries into a reasonably secure lifestyle, the essence of the man’s soul is bared when he refuses the offer
of a wealthy man to buy all his art because he wants to bequeath it to his beloved England. Again, the passion of the soul is not able to be bought and so
Turner turns himself from an ungainly and ugly man to a man whose soul is nourished by love and cannot be bought.