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London Film Critics Awards: Helen Mirren & Meryl Streep + Cillian Murphy Movies Top Irish Film Awards

Trish Gates in United 93
James Cromwell and Helen Mirren in The Queen (top); Trish Gates in United 93 (bottom)

The winners of the 2007 London Film Critics' Circle Awards were announced this evening at a ceremony held in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children at the Dorchester Hotel.

London Film Critics' Awards chair Marianne Gray stated that The Queen – winner of the best British film, best British director (Stephen Frears), best British actress (Helen Mirren), and best screenplay (Peter Morgan) awards – “symbolizes everything that is right with the British film industry at the moment and it is great to see that it can compete with the best that Hollywood can offer.”

The Queen was also in the running for the Film of the Year award, but despite its symbolizing “everything that is right with the British film industry” the royal drama lost out to United 93.

The most intriguing aspect of the London critics' top-film pick is that United 93 also happens to be a British production – even if set aboard an American plane. Paul Greengrass, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner were, in fact, voted best British producers of the year – even though their film failed to win a place among the nominees for best British film of 2006. Go figure.

Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland
Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada
Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (top); Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt in The Devil Wears Prada (bottom)

Greengrass was also voted best director, while American performers Forest Whitaker (in the British-made The Last King of Scotland) and Meryl Streep (in The Devil Wears Prada) were chosen best actor and best actress.

Helen Mirren, invincible on this side of the Atlantic, has fared considerably less well in Britain. Besides losing out to Meryl Streep, Mirren has also lost best actress awards to Judi Dench (for Notes on a Scandal) at the Evening Standard British Film Awards, and to Kate Dickie (for Red Road) at the British Independent Film Awards. (In Britain, they have fewer film honors than in the U.S. That I'm aware of, there's no award-giving Cornwall Film Critics Society or Manchester Film Critics Association.)

Michael Caine (for a minor role in The Prestige) and Emily Blunt (for her popular scenery-chewing in The Devil Wears Prada) were voted best British supporting players. (There's no “best [international] supporting player” category.)

Penélope Cruz in Volver
Penélope Cruz in Volver

In addition to Streep's well-deserved recognition – even though hers is in fact a supporting performance – the other good news from the London Critics was the choice of Pedro Almodóvar's Volver as best foreign language film of the year.

Volver, which has just won the Spanish Academy's Goya Awards for best film and best director, has done excellent business in Britain.

Now, the London critics clearly love Hollywood fare. Since its inception in 1980, only eight Film of the Year awards have gone to non-American productions, five of which were British. Of the other three, Babe, The Piano, and Paris, Texas, one (Babe) had some American financing while another was set in the United States (Paris, Texas). No production in a language other than English has thus far been chosen Film of the Year.

A few 2005 American releases that arrived in Britain only last year made the London Film Critics' nominations cut, among them Good Night and Good Luck., Capote, and The Squid and the Whale. But since we're now in 2007, they were apparently deemed passé. Even Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote, the favorite among the favorites of 2005, lost the best actor award to this year's favorite among favorites, Forest Whitaker.

In fact, the new and the newsworthy received the bulk of the London critics' attention. With the exception of Infamous (best British actor Toby Jones) and Red Road (best British newcomer Andrea Arnold), every winning film at the London critics' ceremony is up for some Academy Award or other.

Marianne Gray quote: The Hollywood Reporter

The 27th London Film Critics' Circle Award nominations were announced on Dec. 14 '06.

The 27th London Film Critics' Circle Award winners were announced at the Dorchester Hotel on Feb. 8 '07. Mariella Frostrup and Paul Gambaccini hosted the evening.

2006 London Film Critics Award Winners - Article.

Film of the Year
The Departed.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Volver.
* United 93.
The Queen.

The Attenborough Award for Best British Film
Children of Men.
* The Queen.
Red Road.
The Last King of Scotland.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Best Foreign Language Film
Apocalypto.
Black Book.
The Death of Mr Lazarescu.
The Child.
Pan's Labyrinth.
* Volver.

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth.
Pedro Almodóvar, Volver.
* Paul Greengrass, United 93.
Martin Scorsese, The Departed.
Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men.

Best British Director
Andrea Arnold, Red Road.
* Stephen Frears, The Queen.
Christopher Nolan, The Prestige.
Kevin Macdonald, The Last King of Scotland.
Ken Loach, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Best Actor
Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote.
Richard Griffiths, The History Boys.
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck..
* Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.

Best Actress
Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Penélope Cruz, Volver.
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal.
* Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada.
Joan Allen, The Upside of Anger.

Best British Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat.
* Toby Jones, Infamous.
Timothy Spall, Pierrepoint.
James McAvoy, The Last King of Scotland.
Christian Bale, The Prestige.

Best British Actress
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal.
* Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Kate Winslet, Little Children .
Loraine Stanley, London to Brighton.
Kate Dickie, Red Road.

Best British Supporting Actor
Eddie Marsan, Pierrepoint.
* Michael Caine, The Prestige.
Bill Nighy, Notes on a Scandal.
Leslie Phillips, Venus.
Dominic Cooper, The History Boys.

Best British Supporting Actress
* Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada.
Emma Thompson, Stranger Than Fiction.
Juliet Stevenson, Pierrepoint.
Emily Watson, The Proposition.
Helen McCrory, The Queen.

Best British Newcomer
* Andrea Arnold, writer/director, Red Road.
Paul Andrew Williams, writer/director/producer, London to Brighton.
Jodie Whittaker, actress, Venus.
Clare-Hope Ashitey, actress, Children of Men.
Rebecca Hall, actress, The Prestige.

Best Screenwriter
* Peter Morgan, The Queen.
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale.
Guillermo del Toro, Pan's Labyrinth.
Dan Futterman, Capote.
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine.

Best British Producer
* Paul Greengrass, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, United 93.
Al Clark, Ken Marshall, Rachel Robey, Paul Andrew Williams, London to Brighton.
Lisa Bryer, Andrea Calderwood, Charles Steel, The Last King of Scotland.
Rebecca O'Brien, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Graham King, The Departed.

Dilys Powell Award for outstanding contribution to cinema: Leslie Phillips.

Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
Dame Judi Dench roughs up Cate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal

Helen Mirren Tops 'London Evening Standard' Awards

As The Queen, Helen Mirren has brought back to her castle just about every best actress award in the United States. Ironically, she hasn't fared all that well in Britain. First, she lost to Kate Dickie (Red Road) at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards and now she's lost the Evening Standard Award to Judi Dench's lonely, conniving lesbian teacher in Notes on a Scandal.

As far as the 2007 Academy Awards are concerned, there's no suspense in the best actress category. Barring a meteor crashing into Earth during the Oscar ceremony, Helen Mirren will leave the Kodak Theater with one of those elongated androgynous statuettes in hand.

In her home turf, however, Mirren's position is more precarious. Although I'd say she's the favorite at the British Academy of Film awards (Kate Dickie is not in the running, though Judi Dench is), Mirren doesn't have her name already engraved on the best actress Bafta statuette. (Addendum: I take that totally back. See BAFTA 2007 winners.)

Personally, I think that Judi Dench's win is not only deserving – she evokes empathy for a potential villainess – but also welcome. Last year's films showcased numerous actresses in top form (e.g., Mirren, Dench, Penélope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Annette Bening, Meryl Streep), but U.S. critics, guilds, and Golden Globers – ever the victims of Groupthink Disease – opted to praise the same actress (and oftentimes the same actor, the same two or three films, the same two or three screenplays, and so on) ad nauseam. With her Evening Standard win, Judi Dench has had her work – which is just as flawless as Mirren's – finally recognized by an award-giving group.

Harry Treadaway, Luke Treadaway in Brothers of the Head

Other Evening Standard winners were best film United 93, best screenplay for Peter Morgan for both The Queen and The Last King of Scotland (actually co-written with Jeremy Brock), best comedian Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat, a technical award to cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle for The Last King of Scotland and Brothers of the Head (above, with Harry Treadaway and Luke Treadaway), and a special award to Stephen Frears “for making British film reverberate around the world.”

And finally, the other big surprise at the Evening Standard awards was Daniel Craig's best actor win for the dismal (but widely praised) Casino Royale. Craig must have won the award for keeping a straight face while telling friends and foes that he's bondjamesbond, while chasing a mad terrorist at the airport, while having his balls busted, while … I'd better stop here.

Best Film: United 93 directed by Paul Greengrass

Best Actor: Daniel Craig, Casino Royale

Best Actress: Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal

Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan, The Queen and The Last King of Scotland

The Peter Sellers Award for Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Technical Achievement: Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, The Last King of Scotland and Brothers of the Head

Most Promising Newcomer: Director Paul Andrew Williams, London to Brighton

The Alexander Walker Special Award: Director Stephen Frears, “for making British film reverberate around the world”

Cillian Murphy The Wind That Shakes the Barley Padraic Delaney'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' with Padraic Delaney and Cillian Murphy.

Cillian Murphy Movies Top 2007 Irish Film Awards: 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley,' 'Breakfast on Pluto'

Strangely, although it failed to get nominated in the Best Director (Ken Loach) and Best Screenplay (Paul Haverty) categories, 2006 Cannes winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley was chosen as the Best Irish Film at the 2007 Irish Film & Television Academy Awards ceremony held on February 9, 2007, in Dublin.

Starring Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney, The Wind That Shakes the Barley follows members of the Irish Republican Army as they fight the British in the early 20th century. Liam Cunningham, as a train driver who becomes an activist, was selected as the year's Best Supporting Actor. Other The Wind That Shakes the Barley cast members include Orla Fitzgerald, Mary O'Riordan, Mary Murphy, Laurence Barry, Damien Kearney, and Frank Bourke.

Cillian Murphy: Best Actor for 'Breakfast on Pluto' transvestite cabaret singer

Cillian Murphy, for his part, was the winner of the Best Actor Irish Film Award – but not for The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Instead, Murphy was honored for his performance as a transvestite cabaret singer in Neil Jordan's sociopolitical comedy-drama Breakfast on Pluto. Additionally, Breakfast on Pluto received three other Irish Film Awards: Best Director, Best Screenplay (Jordan and Pat McCabe), and Best Hair and Make-Up.

More Irish Film Awards 2007 winners: Eva Birthistle, 'Little Miss Sunshine'

Eva Birthistle was voted Best Actress for playing the proprietress of a small-town pub – and the object of fanatical priest Matthew Macfadyen's hatred – in Brian Kirk's dark drama Middletown.

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine, everybody's favorite faux irreverent comedy, was the Best International Film. Little Miss Sunshine's ensemble features Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, and Abigail Breslin.

Padraic Delaney and Cillian Murphy The Wind That Shakes the Barley photo: Pathé Distribution

London Film Critics Awards: Helen Mirren & Meryl Streep + Cillian Murphy Movies Top Irish Film Awards © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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