7th Annual BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS Announces the winners for 2004
The contentious story of an abortionist in 1950s England swept the board tonight at the 7th annual British Independent Film Awards. Vera Drake scooped a massive six awards including the prestigious Best Film and Best Director.
Mike Leigh and actress Imelda Staunton repeated their Venice Film Festival triumph where the film was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film and Best Actress award for Staunton. Again, Leigh, who has enjoyed a momentous year saw his film take the Best Film trophy, his first BIFA. Imelda Staunton as the selfless working class Vera Drake whose beliefs conflict with the morals of 50s society picked up Best Actress.
Further plaudits for Vera Drake saw veteran actor Phil Davis, as Vera’s unassuming husband, and up and coming star Eddie Marsan, as the introverted Reg, pick up Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Vera Drake picked up its sixth award for Achievement in Production.
Dealing with an equally contentious subject, the Best Newcomer award went to So Solid Crew’s Ashley Walters for his portrayal of Ricky in Bullet Boy, an eighteen year old fresh out of custody and desperate to stay on the straight and narrow.
Korean movie Oldboy was named Best Foreign Film in a strong category in which other nominees included Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Motorcycle Diaries. Directed by Chan-wook Park, Oldboy is the story of a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years with no explanation.
The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey to the summit of Siula Grande in Peru was a winner in the documentary category. Touching the Void directed by Kevin Macdonald picked up two awards tonight for Best British Documentary and Best Technical Achievement for Cinematographer Mike Eley.
Elsewhere, Irish director John Crowley received the Douglas Hickox Award for Debut Director for Intermission, his urban love story starring Colin Farrell and Kelly Macdonald.
Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright scooped the Best Screenplay award presented by Meera Syal for their comedy/horror movie Shaun of the Dead. Tagged ‘a romantic comedy with zombies’, the film has proved to be a huge hit all over the UK. This is the first BIFA award for TV’s Spaced writer Pegg and writer/director Wright.
Other awards on the night went to The Barn for the Raindance Award. Directed by Ruaridh Webster and produced by Steffan Boje, The Barn chronicles the life of two American brothers, locked in a barn with terrible injuries after a run-in with some comedy East End gangsters. School of Life took the award for Best British Short.
This year, the Special Jury Prize was awarded to Norma Heyman. Currently producing Mrs Henderson Presents with Bob Hoskins and Dame Judi Dench,
Norma Heyman is widely regarded as the UK’s number one female film producer. Heyman’s previous films include The Honorary Consul, Phil Collins’ film debut Buster, Gangster No.1 and the hugely successful multi-Oscar and BAFTA winning Dangerous Liasions.
The hugely talented British actor Bob Hoskins received from his Mrs Henderson Presents co-star Will Young the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor. Now in its third year and given with the blessing of the Harris family, the honour was given to Hoskins for his remarkable work in film. Oscar nominated for Mona Lisa, his work also includes The Long Good Friday, recently voted by the LFF and BBC London audiences as London’s favourite film of all time. Hoskins can currently be seen in Vanity Fair and Beyond the Sea.
This year’s Variety UK Personality Award honoured J K Rowling for her contribution to the industry. The author has seen four of her successful Harry Potters books be adapted for the big screen. Harry Potter producer David Heyman accepted this award on her behalf.
Best British Film:
Phil Davis – Vera Drake
Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake
Eddie Marsan – Vera Drake
Most Promising Newcomer:
Ashley Walters – Bullet Boy
Mike Leigh – Vera Drake
Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright – Shaun of the Dead
John Crowley – Intermission
Best Foreign Film:
Best British Documentary:
Touching the Void
Best Technical Achievement:
Mike Eley – Cinematography – Touching the Void
Achievement In Production:
Variety UK Personality Award:
Richard Harris Award:
Special Jury Prize:
Best British Short:
School of Life