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British Independent Film Awards: 'Queen' vs. 'King'

This Is England by Shane Meadows

There were numerous surprises at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) ceremony, which was held yesterday, Nov. 29, in West London.

Out of its six nominations, the unofficial favorite, Stephen Frears' The Queen, about the battle of wills between Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) following Princess Diana's death, won only one award – Best Screenplay for Peter Morgan, reprising his Venice Festival win. (Additionally, Helen Mirren was given the Variety UK Personality of the Year Award.)

This Is England (2006) by Shane Meadows, with Thomas Turgoose, George Newton, Jack O'ConnellInstead, the surprise Best Independent British Film winner was This Is England, Shane Meadows' semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about a young man's indoctrination into the world of skinhead gangs in the England of the 1980s. The film also won the Best Promising Newcomer (On-Screen) Award for 12-year-old Thomas Turgoose as the pre-teen-turned-skin. Earlier this fall, This Is England won the Special Jury Prize at the 1st RomeFilmFest.

Red Road (2006) by Andrea Arnold, with Kate Dickie, Tony Curran

Beating the once unbeatable Helen Mirren, stage actress Kate Dickie took the Best Actress award for her feature-film debut as a Glasgow surveillance camera operator pursuing an ex-con in Andrea Arnold's British-Danish psychological thriller Red Road. (By the way, Arnold's film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival earlier this year.)

In the Best Actor category, Dickie's co-star Tony Curran beat the other unbeatable acting nominee, Peter O'Toole, who plays an old and frail but ever-horny actor in Roger Michell's Venus. (O'Toole was deemed unbeatable less because of his performance – in this writer's view a very minor one – than because of his nearly half-century film career.)

Cache / Hidden (2006) by Michael Haneke, with Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Annie Girardot

Best Independent Foreign Film was Michael Haneke's first-rate Caché / Hidden, starring Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil as a bourgeois Parisian couple whose complacent lives are dramatically altered by an event in the far-away past. (Among the losers was Pedro Almodóvar's equally first-rate Volver.)

The Road to Guantanamo (2006) by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross

Among the other winners were veteran Leslie Phillips, 82, chosen Best Supporting Actor/Actress for hamming it up as O'Toole's actor buddy in Venus; Best Director Kevin Macdonald for The Last King of Scotland, a fictitious tale about the relationship between a Scottish doctor and the deranged Uganda leader Idi Amin (nominee Forest Whitaker); and, curiously, Best Documentary The Road to Guantanamo. Somehow, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross' docudrama has been fooling some into believing it is an actual depiction of the fate of three Englishmen of Pakistani ancestry at the American Gulag.

The UK Film Council is Bifa's biggest funder.

The Last King of Scotland (2006) directed by Kevin MacDonald, starring Forest Whitaker, James McAvoyThe Queen (2006) directed by Stephen Frears, starring Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Sylvia Syms, screenplay by Peter Morgan

This Is England (2006) by Shane Meadows, with Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo HartleyKing and Queen rule the 2006 British Independent Film Awards nominations, which were announced on Wednesday, Oct. 25.

I couldn't resist the pun, even though it's not only bad but also inaccurate. In actuality, Shane Meadows' This Is England, winner of the Special Jury Prize at this year's RomeFilmFest, garnered 7 nods – one more than either Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland or Stephen Frears' The Queen. All three films received Best Picture nominations.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) directed by Ken Loach, starring Cillian Murphy, Padraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham

All three directors were also nominated, along with veteran Ken Loach for Cannes Film Festival winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Michael Caton Jones for Shooting Dogs. Loach's war drama also garnered a Best Film nod, but the fifth slot went to Andrea Arnold's mystery thriller Red Road.

Venus (2006) by Roger Michell, with Peter O'Toole, Leslie Phillips, Jodie Whittaker, Vanessa RedgraveIn the acting categories, one can find the renowned (and expected) – Helen Mirren in The Queen, Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland, Peter O'Toole in Venus – next to lesser-known names, including Frances de la Tour in The History Boys, and both Tony Curran and Kate Dickie in Red Road. Veterans Vanessa Redgrave and Leslie Phillips received supporting nods for Venus.

Not surprisingly, Peter Morgan garnered two Best Screenplay nominations – for The Last King of Scotland (with Jeremy Brock) and The Queen.

Surprisingly, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross' docudrama The Road to Guantanamo received a Best Documentary nod – apparently it paid off to omit the film's screenwriting credit (implying that what is shown on screen were mere reenactments of factual events).

Director-screenwriter Jeremy Brock's Driving Lessons – including cast members Julie Walters, Rupert Grint, and Laura Linney – were ignored by the BIFA. And Helen Mirren aside, so were all cast members of The Queen.

The 9th British Independent Film Award nominees were announced on Oct. 25, 2006.

The 9th British Independent Film Award winners were announced at the Hammersmith Palais in West London, on Nov. 29, 2006. 

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
The Last King of Scotland
The Queen
Red Road 
* This Is England
The Wind That Shakes the Barley

BEST FOREIGN INDEPENDENT FILM
Volver
* Caché / Hidden 
De battre mon coeur sest arrêté / The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Brick
Hard Candy

BEST DIRECTOR
* Kevin Macdonald The Last King of Scotland
Stephen Frears The Queen
Michael Caton Jones Shooting Dogs
Shane Meadows This Is England
Ken Loach The Wind That Shakes the Barley

BEST ACTOR 
Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland
Peter OToole Venus
Cillian Murphy The Wind That Shakes the Barley
* Tony Curran Red Road
James McAvoy The Last King of Scotland

BEST ACTRESS
Helen Mirren - The Queen
* Kate Dickie Red Road
Frances de la Tour The History Boys
Robin Wright Penn Breaking & Entering
Juliette Binoche Breaking & Entering

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR / ACTRESS 
Martin Compston Red Road
* Leslie Phillips Venus
Vanessa Redgrave Venus
Joseph Gilgun This Is England
Stephen Graham This Is England

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER (ON SCREEN)
Jodie Whittaker - Venus
* Thomas Turgoose This Is England
Samuel Barnett The History Boys
Harry and Luke Treadaway Brothers of the Head
Dominic Cooper The History Boys
Rafi Gavron Breaking & Entering

BEST SCREENPLAY
Alan Bennett The History Boys
* Peter Morgan The Queen
Hanif Kureishi Venus
Shane Meadows This Is England
Peter Morgan & Jeremy Brock The Last King of Scotland

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD (BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR)
* Menhaj Huda - Kidulthood
Paul Andrew Williams London to Brighton
Andrea Arnold Red Road
Tom Vaughan Starter for Ten
Caradog W. James Little White Lies

BEST BRITISH DOCUMENTARY
The Road to Guantanamo
Blindsight
The Great Happiness Space
The Perverts Guide to Cinema
Unknown White Male

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
* The Last King of Scotland Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle
This Is England Music: Ludovico Einaudi 
The Wind That Shakes the Barley Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd
The Queen Make-Up: Daniel Phillips
The Queen Production Design: Alan MacDonald

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
* London to Brighton
Kidulthood
Shooting Dogs

The Road to Guantanamo
Severance

BEST BRITISH SHORT
* Cubs
Ex Memoria
The 10th Man
Who I Am & What I Want
At the End of the Sentence

THE RAINDANCE AWARD
* The Ballad of AJ Weberman
London to Brighton
Scenes of a Sexual Nature

BEST 15 SECOND SHORT
Chrysanthemums the Word
* Whats the Point?
Fate and Mr McKinley
Death of the Dinosaurs
Ah, Youth

THE VARIETY UK PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Helen Mirren

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO BRITISH FILM BY AN ACTOR)
Jim Broadbent

THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Ken Loach

Jury: Sandy Lieberson (Chair), Reuben Barnes, Martin Childs, Anne V. Coates, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Cumming, Leo Davis, Anna Friel, Jason Isaacs, Mick Jones, Damian Lewis, Helen McCrory, Damien ODonnell, Kelly Reilly, Martin Sherman, and Colin Salmon.


         
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1 Comment to British Independent Film Awards: 'Queen' vs. 'King'

  1. Robert A.

    Can anyone tell me the name of the artist and the ballad played in the Red Road (2006) during the slow dance sequence at Clyde's apartment party? There was no soundtrack listing on IMDB.