God’s Own Country was the big winner at the British Indepdendent Film Awards on Sunday, winning Best British Independent Film, Best Actor for Josh O’Connor, and Best Debut Screenwiter for Francis Lee, who also directed the film. Lady Macbeth was another multiple prize-winner, taking home the awards for Best Screenplay for Alice Birch, Best Actress for Florence Pugh, and Most Promising Newcomer for Naomie Ackie. Armando Iannucci’s Death Of Stalin picked up four awards, which were handed out Sunday evening at a starry awards ceremony in London.
The British independent movie industry turned out in force, although the snow that had blanketed parts of Britain overnight kept double award-winner Rungano Nyoni from attending and had Lee telling the crowd he needed digging out of his home in Yorkshire, northern England, to make the bash.
Host Mark Gatiss opened proceedings by announcing “it’s been another dreadful year for planet Earth,” adding that “January saw a shock remake of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph Of The Will...which turned out to be a live feed from the White House.”
The Sherlock scribe and actor – “that’s Mycroft Holmes over there,” said Christian Slater while presenting the Best Supporting Actress award – went on to joke that the London crowd would probably rather be at home “watching Christopher Plummer classic American Beauty,” before riffing on Brexit and concluding that independent film would be one of the things that gets the country through tough times.
Gary Oldman – considered by many to be the front-runner for the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour – was on hand at the ceremony to collect the Variety Award from Kristin Scott Thomas. The award recognises the global impact he has made throughout his career as an icon of British film and filmmaking.
The Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution to British film by an actor was presented to Vanessa Redgrave by Richard Harris’ son Jared Harris and Redgrave’s daughter Joely Richardson.
I Am Not A Witch won three awards: Breakthrough Producer for Emily Morgan, and the Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) and Best Director for Rungano Nyoni, just the second time the same director has won both, after Anton Corbijn for Control in 2007.
Simon Russell Beale won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Death Of Stalin, which had already won Best Production Design, Best Makeup And Hair Design, and Best Casting. Patricia Clarkson won the best supporting actress award for The Party.Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was a double winner, with the Best Editing and best music category wins. Jordan Peele’s Get Out bagged the only international award on offer, winning Best International Independent Film. – Reuters/ Stewart Clarke