The British Independent Film Awards Sunday were held Sunday, December 6th at Old Billingsgate in London.
The award for director went to Yann Demange for Northern Ireland-set thriller “’71,” outflanking John Michael McDonagh for “Calvary,” Lenny Abrahamson for “Frank,” Matthew Warchus for “Pride” and Mike Leigh for “Mr Turner.”
The victor in the actor category was Brendan Gleeson for “Calvary,” about a tough-minded Irish priest marked for death by one of his parishioners.
Gleeson paid tribute to the producers “who have to try to make independent film when it is almost impossible for people to risk commercially what is required artistically.”
Cumberbatch was the recipient of the Variety Award, which recognizes an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to shine the international spotlight on the U.K.
In his speech, Cumberbatch said the award was premature, “given the output and standard of previous recipients,” but added that it would inspire him “to work harder to feel like I’ve deserved it, and that won’t really be difficult because I love my job, I love my industry, I love the people I get to work with, a lot of whom are in this room.”
Emma Thompson picked up the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution by an actor to British film. She said she had met Harris once and found they shared a devotion and commitment to alcohol. She jokingly confessed: “I have been with studios. I haven’t enjoyed it. I have tried not to get sucked in… I have done many things for money and I am sorry.”
The winner of the actress honor was Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Amma Asante’s “Belle,” which is inspired by the true story of a mixed-race girl raised as an aristocratic lady in England around the time of the abolition of slavery.
Mbatha-Raw said: “It has just been such a special experience this job, this story showing a period of history that we have seen so frequently on the screen, but to be able to see it from the perspective of a woman of color in the 1780s, in the Jane Austen era, which is part of our cultural heritage.”
The winner of the award for international independent film went to Richard Linklater’s Oscar contender “Boyhood.” Linklater devoted the award to the memory of the late Lindsay Anderson, director of “If” and “O Lucky Man!”
“Frank” writers Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan took the screenplay prize, Imelda Staunton won the supporting actress contest for Matthew Warchus’ “Pride,” a feelgood 80s-set drama about gay rights activists who join forces with striking coal miners. The supporting actor award went to the film’s Andrew Scott.
The Douglas Hickox Award for debut director was picked up by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard for Nick Cave documentary “20,000 Days on Earth.”
The documentary award went to “Next Goal Wins,” a crowdpleaser about the world’s worst international soccer team, directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison.
The award for most promising newcomer went to actress Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, the star of Daniel Wolfe’s thriller “Catch Me Daddy,” which tracks the doomed attempts of a British Asian teen runaway to escape the long arm of her violently protective family.
The Special Jury Prize went to “Deliverance” and “Hope and Glory” director John Boorman. The jury also paid tribute to producer Chris Collins. Technical achievement winner was Stephen Rennicks for the music for Lenny Abrahamson’s musical comedy “Frank,” which stars Michael Fassbender.
The honor for achievement in production was picked up by Guy Myhill’s coming-of-age drama “The Goob,” which played at Venice. The Raindance Award was taken by “Luna,” and “The Karman Line” won the prize for British Short.
17TH MOET BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS – WINNERS AND NOMINEES BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM Winner: Pride
INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM Winner: Boyhood
DIRECTOR Winner: Yann Demange – ’71
THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD FOR DEBUT DIRECTOR Winner: Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard – 20,000 Days on Earth
SCREENPLAY Winner: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan – Frank
ACTRESS Winner: Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle
ACTOR Winner: Brendan Gleeson – Calvary
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Winner: Imelda Staunton – Pride
SUPPORTING ACTOR Winner: Andrew Scott – Pride
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER Winner: Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Catch Me Daddy
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT Winner: Stephen Rennicks – Music – Frank
DOCUMENTARY Winner: Next Goal Wins
THE RAINDANCE AWARD Winner: Luna
BRITISH SHORT Winner: The Kármán Line
THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film) Emma Thompson
THE VARIETY AWARD Benedict Cumberbatch
THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE John Boorman