Royal Drama Tops British Independent Film Awards But Director Snubbed + Jennifer Lawrence Wins Stockholm

by S. Montgomery
Royal drama The King's Speech Colin Firth Geoffrey Rush: British Independent AwardsRoyal drama The King's Speech with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Tom Hooper's real-life-inspired crowd-pleaser topped the British Independent Film Awards with five wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Firth), and Best Supporting Actor (Rush) – but curiously, not Best Director.

Royal drama tops British Independent Film Awards

The King's Speech dominated the 2010 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs), collecting five – totally expected – trophies. Directed by Tom Hooper, the royal drama inspired by historical events topped the following categories:

  • Best British Independent Film.
  • Best Actor (Colin Firth).
  • Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter).
  • Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush).
  • Best Screenplay (David Seidler).

Curiously, Hooper lost the Best Director BIFA to Monsters filmmaker Gareth Edwards.

In typical “feel-good movie” fashion, The King's Speech chronicles the struggles and ultimate triumph of King George VI (Colin Firth), a chronic stutterer who ascends to the British throne following the abdication of his brother Edward (Guy Pearce).

Full list of 2010 British Independent Film Awards winners and nominations.

Two wins for Helena Bonham Carter

Veteran Helena Bonham Carter (A Room with a View, The Wings of the Dove), who earlier this year played the Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, is Queen Elizabeth in this crowd-pleasing royal drama – The King's Speech is a sleeper-hit-in-the-making in the United States – while Best Actor Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, 1996) is the king's eccentric speech therapist.

In addition to her Best Supporting Actress BIFA Award, Bonham Carter also took home the Richard Harris Award for “outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film.” While at the podium, she lamented that husband Tim Burton wasn't around, complaining “Those kidney stones are bad timing!”

Defending government support for the arts

Best Actor Colin Firth, who turned 50 last September, made no mention of bothersome kidney stones, but he did make a direct allusion to the current sad state of British cinema funding, partly a result of the ongoing economic crisis.

“I think we're all realizing that putting money into film in this country is actually a pretty good idea,” the Best Actor Oscar front-runner told attendees, appending a “thank you for helping an aging and over-familiar British turn cross the 50 mark.”

The King's Speech received £1 million from the publicly funded UK Film Council, set up to help develop and market British films, and whose demise was announced by the conservative David Cameron government last July.

Besides Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, and Guy Pearce, The King's Speech also features Michael Gambon, Jennifer Ehle, and veteran Claire Bloom (The Chapman Report, The Haunting).

'Effortless sexual magnetism' & 'Don Quixote'

Carey Mulligan was the Best Actress winner for Mark Romanek's dystopian/alternative history drama Never Let Me Go, in which she plays a young woman involved in a troubled love triangle. Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley costar in Alex Garland's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel.

Presenting the Variety Award to his fellow Schindler's List player Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes described the recipient as possessing a “unique, in a mold of his own … effortless sexual magnetism,” adding that “after many confessional hours in the hot tub … I can tell you, he has a massive – heart.”

As per BIFA, honoree Neeson then proceeded to quote Gregory Peck: “Wow … and they give you awards as well.”

Agent Jenne Casarotto, described as “the great enabler of British Independent Film,” was given the Special Jury Award. In her acceptance speech, Casarotto declared, “We will get Terry Gilliam's Don Quixote made!”

Monsters Gareth Edwards sci-fi horror thriller surprising Best Director winnerMonsters. Visual effects artist-turned-filmmaker Gareth Edwards' sci-fi/horror thriller was the surprising Best Director winner at the British Independent Film Awards, which this year was dominated by Tom Hooper's “feel-good” royal drama The King's Speech.

'Monsters' gets three BIFAs – but strangely, not a fourth

In addition to its Best Director win, Gareth Edwards' sci-fier Monsters also won BIFAs for Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement for Edwards' own visual effects work.

Made for about $500,000, Monsters tells the story of a photojournalist (Scoot McNairy) escorting his boss' daughter (Whitney Able) through an off-limits area in Mexico where hostile aliens have landed.

Newcomer Edwards was also in the running for the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director. Somewhat strangely, the year's Best Director lost the Best Debut Director trophy to Clio Barnard for The Arbor, an experimental documentary about playwright Andrea Dunbar.

More BIFA winners

Other BIFA 2010 winners included the following:

  • Best Foreign Film A Prophet. Jacques Audiard's 2009 prison drama won/was nominated for a barrage of international awards late last year and early this year.
  • Best British Documentary Enemies of the People, about Cambodia's Killing Fields. Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath directed.
  • Joanne Froggatt as Most Promising Newcomer for In Our Name, in which she plays a British soldier returning from Iraq.

BIFA 2010 presenters included the unfinished Don Quixote's director Terry Gilliam, Helen McCrory, Ella Harris, and Duncan Kenworthy – who remarked that Helena Bonham Carter was achieving “chronic national treasure status.”

British Independent Film Awards quotes via BIFA's Twitter page.

'Winter's Bone' tops Stockholm Film Festival

The opposite of an audience-friendly royal drama, Debra Granik's Ozarks-set Winter's Bone was chosen as Best Film at the 2010 Stockholm International Film Festival, which wrapped up last Nov. 28.

In the last week or so, Winter's Bone also topped the 2010 Gotham Awards and earned a slew of Spirit Award nominations. Its star, Jennifer Lawrence, was Stockholm's Best Actress, while the film itself also received the International Film Critics' (FIPRESCI) prize.

The festival's Best Actor was George Pistereanu for Romania's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle.

Standing ovation for veteran Harriet Andersson

The 2010 edition of the Stockholm Film Festival was attended by 130,000 moviegoers who, according to the festival's press release, gave a standing ovation to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Harriet Andersson (the star of Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly), got to watch Gus Van Sant and Stellan Skarsgård slap each other “open heartedly at the Skandia Theater stage,” and witnessed jury chair Holly Hunter while she “raised the festival spirit.”

In addition to the screening of more than 180 films and assorted homages and festivities, master classes for Swedish filmmakers were held by Van Sant, director Shane Meadows, Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski (The Hurt Locker, 2009), and visual effects artist and Best Director British Independent Film Award winner Gareth Edwards.

Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence opposite of well-dressed British-accented royal dramaWinter's Bone with Jennifer Lawrence. The opposite of a well-dressed, well-lit, British-accented royal drama, Debra Granik's Ozarks-set indie drama was the Best Film at the 2010 Stockholm Film Festival. Playing a teenager searching for her missing father, Jennifer Lawrence was the festival's Best Actress. Additionally, Winter's Bone popped up among Sight & Sound magazine's Top Ten (actually 13) films of the year.

Stockholm Film Festival winners

Best Film
Winter's Bone by Debra Granik.

Best First Film
Phan Dang Di for Bi, Don't Be Afraid.

Best Screenplay
David Michôd, Animal Kingdom.

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone.

Best Actor
George Pistereanu in If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle.

Best Cinematography
Pham Quang Minh, Bi, Don't Be Afraid.

Jameson Music Award
Fred Avril, Magnus Börjesson, and Six Drummers, Sound of Noise.

Special Mention
“Ensemble Direction” by Peter Mullan in Neds.

Winter's Bone by Debra Granik.

Best Short Film
Out of Love by Birgitte Staermose.

Short Film Special Mention
Megaheavy by Fenar Ahmad.


Other Stockholm Film Festival prizes

Telia Film Award
Monga by Doze Niu.

Silver Audience Award (tie)
This is England '86 by Shane Meadows
Waste Land by Lucy Walker.

1 km Film Scholarship
Hugo Lilja, director of The Unliving.

Special Mention 1 km Film
Karzan Kader for his film Bekas.
Michael Bundzen for Something Begins, Something Ends.

ifestival Prize
Sister by Michael Rittmannsberger and Sonja Aufderklamm.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Harriet Andersson.

With a career spanning over 60 years, Harriet Andersson has shown herself in possession of a face, even in perfect stillness, able to inspire the most profound gratitude for the medium of film. Her wide-ranging portrayals of women have helped expand our concept of onscreen femininity. No one could ever forget the feral Monika [in Ingmar Bergman's Summer with Monika], Agnes in her death throws [in Ingmar Bergman's Cries & Whispers], or the silent cruelty of Gloria [in Lars von Trier's Dogville]? The Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award goes to a performer seemingly born for the silver screen.

Visionary Award
Gus Van Sant.

With a heart that beats for society's outsiders, Gus Van Sant has journeyed from the streets of Portland [Mala Noche], to riots in San Francisco [Milk], through empty high-school hallways [Good Will Hunting], and down desolate highways along the way to Idaho [My Own Private Idaho]. He has shown us an America on the other side of the looking glass – a mirror world, both familiar and startlingly alien, designed by a true visionary filmmaker with the sensibility of the poet.

L'Oréal Paris Rising Star
Alicia Vikander.

'Sight & Sound' comes up with 13 Top Ten movies

Sight & Sound, one of the most respected film publications in the world, published its usual list of Top Ten movies back in late November 2010. However, the list – which includes 13 titles – seems to have become available online only in the last few days.

At the very top is David Fincher's Facebook drama The Social Network, the one movie that – at least according to American reviewers – has captured the zeitgeist of the early 21st century. (Some of us would cast their zeitgeist vote for Michael Haneke's Hidden, Sight & Sound's top 2006 release.)

Also on the Sight & Sound list are the following:

'A Prophet' returns & 'delirious' D.H. Lawrence homage

After topping the 2009 Sight & Sound list, Jacques Audiard's prison drama A Prophet is back again – tied at no. 8 with, among others, Patricio Guzmán's 2010 European Film Award-winning documentary Nostalgia for the Light.

Regarding Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love, critic Naman Ramachandran raved that the “Tilda Swinton vehicle is the best portrait of crumbling aristocracy since Luchino Visconti's The Leopard – and also has a delirious homage to D.H. Lawrence as the cherry on the cake.”

Even the long-deceased Jacques Tati (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle) found his way onto the list – by way of Sylvain Chomet's animated feature The Illusionist, based on an unpublished screenplay Tati wrote decades ago.

Updated poll

The Sight & Sound editor added the following at the end of the list:

Our complete poll includes one entry which was received too late to be counted for our print edition and therefore the published poll. Had it been included it would have turned the count into a top 13, adding The Illusionist to the throng of films in equal-eighth place, and raising Winter's Bone above I Am Love.

'Sight & Sound': No royal drama among Top 13 movies of 2010

1. The Social Network.
2. Loong Boonmee raleuk chat / Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
3. Another Year.
4. Carlos.
5. The Arbor.
6. Winter's Bone.
7. Io sono l'amore / I Am Love.
8. Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceausescu / The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu.
8. Film Socialisme.
8. Nostalgia de la luz / Nostalgia for the Light.
8. Shi / Poetry.
8. Un prophète / A Prophet.
8. The Illusionist.

As can be attested above, despite all the awards season buzz no royal drama can be found on the Sight & Sound list.

Eastern Plays Bulgarian drama about bigotry received posthumous Best Actor awardsEastern Plays. Featuring Christo Christov and Ovanes Torosian (right), Kamen Kalev's Bulgarian drama about bigotry is that country's submission for the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Christov died in 2008; he received posthumous Best Actor awards at the Tokyo and Bratislava film festivals.

Best Foreign Language Film Academy screenings

Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's Mamma Gógó and Kamen Kalev's Eastern Plays / Iztochni piesi will have two additional Academy screenings on Dec. 26 at the Wilshire Screening Room in Beverly Hills.

Iceland's entry for the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Mamma Gógó will be presented at 5 p.m.; Bulgarian entry Eastern Plays will screen at 7 p.m.

'Mamma Gógó' & 'Eastern Plays'

Starring Kristbjörg Kjeld as Mamma Gógó, an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and Hilmir Snær Guðnason as a film director, Mamma Gógó is a semi-autobiographical drama – with humorous touches – about how the filmmaker has coped with his mother's illness. Director Fridriksson's Children of Nature was shortlisted in the Best Foreign Language Film category back in 1991.

A study in ethnic and nationalistic bigotry, Eastern Plays tells the story of three people – two Bulgarian brothers and a Turkish immigrant – brought together by a brutal xenophobic attack. As the older brother, nonprofessional Christo Christov (also spelled as Hristo Hristov), who reportedly died of a drug overdose at age 39 in 2008, won posthumous Best Actor honors at the 2009 Tokyo and Bratislava film festivals.

Sunday, Dec. 26, 5 p.m.
MAMMA GÓGÓ by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Iceland)
Wilshire Screening Room
8670 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills

Sunday, Dec. 26, 7 p.m.
EASTERN PLAYS by Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria)
Wilshire Screening Room
8670 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills

RSVP: Tatsfilm.asst at or (310) 260-2800.

Rabbit Hole Nicole Kidman Aaron Eckhart marriage breakup after son hit-and-run deathRabbit Hole with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus), this family drama about the potential breakup of a marriage after the death of the couple's son in a hit-and-run accident is a possible Best Picture Oscar contender, while previous Best Actress winner Kidman (The Hours, 2002) will probably be in the running again.

Nicole Kidman family drama gets preview screening

Filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) is scheduled to attend a preview screening of Rabbit Hole on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his Pulitzer Prize-winning psychological family drama, Rabbit Hole is a potential Oscar contender in the Best Picture category, while Nicole Kidman is a probable Best Actress nominee. Also in the cast: Aaron Eckhart and two-time Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Dianne Wiest (Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986; Bullets Over Broadway, 1994).

The Rabbit Hole synopsis below is from LACMA's press release:

Rabbit Hole … is an intimate portrait [of] Becca and Howie Corbett, a once-happily married couple who have experienced the worst kind of tragedy – the loss of their child in a hit and run accident – and who are struggling to find meaning and happiness in a world that has been lifted off its axis. Isolated in their middle-class home and caught in a maze of memory, guilt and recrimination, they begin to re-build their lives in opposing ways.

Rabbit Hole opens in limited release in the U.S. on Dec. 17.


Image of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in the crowd-pleasing royal drama The King's Speech: The Weinstein Company.

Gareth Edwards' Monsters image: Vertigo Films.

Jennifer Lawrence Winter's Bone image: Sebastian Mlynarski / Roadside Attractions.

Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole image: Lionsgate Pictures.

Christo Christov and Ovanes Torosian Eastern Plays image: Waterfront Film.

“Royal Drama Tops British Independent Film Awards But Director Snubbed + Jennifer Lawrence Wins Stockholm” last updated in May 2018.

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