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‘The King’s Speech’ And ‘Monsters’ Split The Honors At The British Independent Film Awards

'The King's Speech' And 'Monsters' Split The Honors At The British Independent Film Awards

With the Gotham Awards and the National Board Review giving out their prizes last week, awards season is firmly underway, and things continued apace this weekend with both the European Film Academy Awards, as reported below, and the Moët & Chandon British Independent Film Awards, which took place last night. The latter, now in its thirteenth year, was set up as a sort of UK equivalent to the Independent Spirit awards, intended to reward smaller British movies, which are funded at least 50% by British sources.

While sometimes frustrating (“Kick-Ass” was nominated for Best Picture, for instance…), it does at least bring some valuable attention to smaller films which generally face an uphill struggle in getting seen by wider audiences. Last year saw Duncan Jones‘ “Moon” deservedly take the top prizes, with “Fish Tank,” and “In The Loop” also big winners, and Carey Mulligan and Tom Hardy winning the big acting awards.

This year is perhaps more relevant to the awards season, as the film that picked up the most nominations, “The King’s Speech” is a legitimate Oscar front-runner, hoping to build momentum in the season against main rival “The Social Network.” Fortunately for the period drama, it managed to pick up five awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Colin Firth, Best Screenplay for David Seidler, and both Supporting acting awards, for Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter — the latter surprisingly beating out favorite Lesley Manville,

The other major victor on the night was the excellent micro-budget sci-fi film “Monsters,” whose director Gareth Edwards beat out “The King’s Speech” helmer Tom Hooper for Best Director, as well as winning awards for Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement, for the film’s visual effects. Carey Mulligan won Best Actress for the second year in a row, for her performance in “Never Let Me Go,” while “A Prophet” won Best Foreign Film, and Clio Barnard won the Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director for her tremendous drama/documentary hybrid “The Arbor.”

There were also awards for: Joanne Froggatt, as Most Promising Newcomer in the post-traumatic stress disorder drama “In Our Name“: the Iraqi co-production “Son of Babylon“: the documentary “Enemies of the People” and the short film “Baby.” Bonham-Carter and Liam Neeson both picked up lifetime achievement awards, as well as veteran agent Jenne Casarotto.

On the one hand, we’re pleased that films like “Monsters” and “The Arbor,” which are unlikely to get nods at any other ceremony, are getting recognized, but on the other, we’re not sure that the BIFAs are really continuing to fulfill their remit.

We don’t mind transparent awards bait like “The King’s Speech” being represented if they meet the moving goalposts of the qualifying criteria, but here, it seems to be at the expense of genuinely independent, and most importantly, better films, both in terms of nominees that didn’t win, like “Four Lions” and “Another Year,” and deserving films that were mostly or totally shut out, like “Down Terrace,” “Skeletons,” “Archipelago,” “Neds” and “Scouting Book For Boys.” Still, awards are never going to please everyone, and it’s still preferable to, say, the Golden Globes… Read the full list of nominees and winners below.

Best British Independent Film
Four Lions
The King’s Speech
Never Let Me Go

Best Director
Mike Leigh (Another Year)
Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
Gareth Edwards (Monsters)
Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go)

The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director
Debs Gardner Paterson (Africa United)
Clio Barnard (The Arbor)
Rowan Joffe (Brighton Rock)
Chris Morris (Four Lions)
Gareth Edwards (Monsters)

Best Screenplay
Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Simon Blackwell, Christopher Morris (Four Lions)
Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass)
David Seidler (The King’s Speech)
William Ivory (Made In Dagenham)
Alex Garland (Never Let Me Go)

Best Actress
Manjinder Virk (The Arbor)
Ruth Sheen (Another Year)
Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock)
Sally Hawkins (Made In Dagenham)
Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go)

Best Actor
Jim Broadbent (Another Year)
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Aidan Gillen (Treacle Junior)

Best Supporting Actress
Lesley Manville (Another Year)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Rosamund Pike (Made In Dagenham)
Keira Knightley (Never Let Me Go)
Tamsin Greig (Tamara Drewe)

Best Supporting Actor
Kayvan Novak (Four Lions)
Guy Pearce (The King’s Speech)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Bob Hoskins (Made In Dagenham)
Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go)

Most Promising Newcomer
Manjinder Virk (The Arbor)
Andrea Riseborough (Brighton Rock)
Tom Hughes (Cemetery Junction)
Joanne Froggatt (In Our Name)
Conor McCarron (Neds)

Best Achievement In Production
The Arbor
In Our Name
StreetDance 3D

Raindance Award
Brilliant Love
Jackboots On Whitehall
Son Of Babylon
Treacle Junior

Best Technical Achievement
The Arbor – Sound (Tim Barker)
Brighton Rock – Cinematography (John Mathieson)
The Illusionist – Animation (Sylvain Chomet)
The King’s Speech – Production Design (Eve Stewart)
Monsters – Visual Effects (Gareth Edwards)

Best Documentary
The Arbor
Enemies Of The People
Exit Through The Gift Shop
Fire In Babylon
Waste Land

Best British Short
Photograph Of Jesus
Sign Language
The Road Home

Best Foreign Film
I Am Love
A Prophet
The Secret In Their Eyes
Winter’s Bone

The Richard Harris Award (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film)
Helena Bonham Carter

The Variety Award
Liam Neeson

The Special Jury Prize
Jenne Casarotto

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