'Shame,' 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'Tyrannosaur' lead BIFA nods

Posted by · 7:36 am · October 31st, 2011

The British Independent Film Awards are essentially the across-the-pond equivalent of the Spirit Awards, but they seem to grow in profile every year as a slightly hipper alternative to (and bellwether of) the BAFTAs. Though limited to UK indies, their parameters are broad enough to include the bulk of the year’s buzzy British titles.

Last year, for example, they were all over “The King’s Speech,” and took flak in some quarters for honoring such a relatively mainstream title; similarly, one of this year’s leading nominees, local box-office phenomenon “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” is less independent, both in status and in spirit, than several of its competitors.

But no matter: together with Steve McQueen’s “Shame” and Paddy Considine’s debut feature “Tyrannosaur,” Tomas Alfredson’s star-studded John le Carré adaptation leads an exceptionally fine crop of BIFA nominees, one that testifies to a remarkable year for UK cinema. The three films scored seven nods apiece; close behind, with six each, are Lynne Ramsay’s London Film Festival champ “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and Ben Wheatley’s future cult item “Kill List.”

(More analysis, and a full list of nominees, after the jump.)

The latter film performed well above expectations, scoring bids for its director and all three of its stars, but fell just short in the top race. Taking its place, in a rare instance of crossover recognition, is Asif Kapadia’s hit doc “Senna,” which also scored (obviously) in the Best Documentary category, with a third, and particularly well-earned, technical bid for its editing.      

The performance categories, meanwhile, are stacked with notable names, many of them already in the awards conversation Stateside: it’s no surprise to see Michael Fassbender, Gary Oldman, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Redgrave, Carey Mulligan (winner of the last two Best Actress BIFAs, incidentally), Ezra Miller and Tom Hardy in the list, while underdog Olivia Colman’s growing fan club can rejoice in her first official mention of the season.

On a less obvious note, I’m particularly delighted to see Brendan Gleeson, whose worn-in comic turn in “The Guard” I was bigging up back in the summer, recognised (along with his film’s freshman writer-director John Michael McDonagh); also pleasing is that BIFA voters crossed national lines to acknowledge the wonderful work of Mia Wasikowska in “Jane Eyre” — the film’s lone nomination.

Still, “Jane Eyre” performed better than another recent Brontë adaptation: Andrea Arnold won big at the BIFAs two years ago with “Fish Tank,” but her aggressively auteurist take on “Wuthering Heights” was one of the day’s most notable snubs, scoring not a single nomination — not even for Robbie Ryan’s extraordinary, Venice-laurelled lensing. Arnold’s film has been divisive enough that its poor showing here doesn’t come as a shock — it’s harder, however, to explain the complete absence from the list of Terence Davies’s well-received comeback feature “The Deep Blue Sea.”

At the very least, Rachel Weisz’s stunning career-best performance should have been a shoo-in for a place in the thin Best Actress category. She can take comfort, however, in knowing that she’s not the highest-profile lady frozen out in the category: for all her Oscar buzz, Michelle Williams was blanked by BIFA voters, as indeed was everyone involved in “My Week With Marilyn.”

Admittedly, this is a pretty small deal for the likes of Weisz and Williams. I’m far more disappointed for a genuine British indie that could use the recognition far more. Andrew Haigh’s exquisite gay romantic drama “Weekend” scored nods for Best Production and Best Newcomer for actor Tom Cullen, but that’s the least it deserved: writer-director Haigh and co-star Chris New could be forgiven for feeling a little hard done by. To be fair, that there wasn’t more room on the list for such films shows what a strong year it’s been for higher-profile British independents: there are certainly worse things to complain about.

The British Independent Film Awards will take place on December 4, with the the winners determined by a jury of 14 industry and media luminaries. The full list of nominations is below.

Best British Independent Film
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Director
Ben Wheatley, “Kill List”
Steve McQueen, “Shame”
Tomas Alfredson, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Paddy Considine, “Tyrannosaur”
Lynne Ramsay, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Actress
MyAnna Buring, “Kill List”
Olivia Colman, “Tyrannosaur”
Rebecca Hall, “The Awakening”
Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Mia Wasikowska, “Jane Eyre”

Best Actor
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Guard”
Neil Maskell, “Kill List”
Peter Mullan, “Tyrannosaur”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Burke, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Sally Hawkins, “Submarine”
Felicity Jones, “Albatross” 
Carey Mulligan, “Shame”
Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”

Best Supporting Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Tom Hardy, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Eddie Marsan, “Tyrannosaur”
Ezra Miller, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michael Smiley, “Kill List”

Best Screenplay 
John Michael McDonagh, “The Guard”
Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump, “Kill List”
Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen, “Shame”
Richard Ayoade, “Submarine”
Lynne Ramsay and Rory Kinnear, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Foreign Independent Film
“Animal Kingdom”
“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Documentary
“Hell and Back Again”
“Life in a Day”
“Project Nim”
“TT3D: Closer to the Edge”

Best Debut Director
Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block”
Ralph Fiennes, “Coriolanus”
John Michael McDonagh, “The Guard”
Richard Ayoade, “Submarine”
Paddy Considine, “Tyrannosaur”

Most Promising Newcomer
John Boyega, “Attack the Block”
Tom Cullen, “Weekend”
Jessica Brown Findlay, “Albatross”
Yasmin Paige, “Submarine”
Craig Roberts, “Submarine”

Best Technical Achievement
Chris King and Gregers Sall (editing), “Senna”
Sean Bobbitt (cinematography), “Shame”
Joe Walker (editing), “Shame”
Maria Djurkovic (production design), “Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Seamus McGarvey (cinematography), “We Need to Talk About Kevin” 

Best Achievement in Production
“Kill List”
“Wild Bill”
“You Instead”

Best British Short
“Love at First Sight”
“Rough Skin”

Raindance Award
“Acts of Godfrey”
“Black Pond”
“Leaving Baghdad”
“A Thousand Kisses Deep”

Comments Off on 'Shame,' 'Tinker, Tailor' and 'Tyrannosaur' lead BIFA nods Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: HitFix · In Contention