2013 British Independent Film Award nominees
She may remain an outsider when the bigger awards have their say, but it's turning into a pretty good, and pretty unusual, awards season for Scarlett Johansson. She got a surprise Best Actress nod at the Gotham Awards for her delicious comic turn in "Don Jon," while her acclaimed voice work in "Her" has sparked talk of her becoming the first actor to score an Oscar nomination for an invisible performance. And they're digging her across the pond, too: for her remarkable work as a seductive alien in Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin," the actress has cracked the Best Actress lineup at the British Independent Film Awards.
The actress is one of the few Hollywood invaders in this year's BIFA lineup: as usual, Britain's equivalent of the Spirit Awards serves a mix of internationally familiar names and talent emerging from the fringes of the UK film industry. It's certainly the only awards ceremony where you'll see a darkly divisive genre film like "Under the Skin" sharing space on the list with a gentle crowdpleaser like "Philomena" -- they're not without their blind spots, but the BIFAs certainly give a far more complete picture of British cinema than the Oscar-aping BAFTAs.
I don't expect we'll see much BAFTA recognition, for example, for the two British indies that dominate this year's nomination list. David Mackenzie's tough, stylish prison drama "Starred Up," which greatly impressed me at last month's London Film Festival, leads the field with eight nominations, including citations for three of its actor -- notably 23-year-old breakout star Jack O'Connell. Currently filming Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken," he's set for big things, and is the freshest name in a Best Actor lineup made up of more familiar names: Tom Hardy, Jim Broadbent, James McAvoy and Steve Coogan.
Just behind "Starred Up," with seven nods, is Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant." Arguably the year's most celebrated British film, this devastating social-realist drama of a teenage scavenger learning practical and moral responsibility in the harsh climes of Northern England has been collecting critical hosannas since its debut at Cannes; I think it's the one to beat for the top prize. Its astonishing young lead, Conner Chapman, is worthy of a Best Actor slot; instead, he's a shoo-in for the Most Promising Newcomer award, where he'll compete jointly with co-star Shaun Thomas.
Britain's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Sean Ellis' Philippines-set thriller "Metro Manila," is something of a surprise nominee for Best Film, while the category is rounded out by two more middlebrow, older-skewing nominees: Stephen Frears' "Philomena" and Roger Michell's silver-haired romantic comedy "Le Week-end."
Some might say that suggests a certain lack of adventurousness on the part of the nominating committee, but they split the difference with the Best Director category, where Frears and Michell are swapped out for two far edgier choices: Glazer and Jon S. Baird, director of the rollicking Irvine Welsh adaptation "Filth," which also scored a deserved Best Actor bid for James McAvoy's wild against-type turn as a bipolar, coked-up Edinburgh cop. "Under the Skin," meanwhile, landed two other nods in the Technical Achievement category -- where, unusually, two films received notice for their casting directors. (I'm not sure I'd call casting a technical craft, but it's interesting to see this acknowledgement in the same year that AMPAS granted casting directors their own branch.)
In most years, there's at least one BIFA nominee that goes on to make a significant mark on the US awards circuit: "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The King's Speech" both swept the BIFAs in their respective years, for example. Last year, it was a more isolated event, with Rufus Norris' little-seen "Broken" snagging the top prize, while this year, only "Philomena" looks likely to figure into the Oscar race -- for Judi Dench's performance in the title role, at least.
I had wondered if Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" would feature, but it was evidently deemed insufficiently British for BIFA consideration. More surprisingly, it wasn't among the nominees for Best International Independent Film, where "Blue Jasmine," "Blue is the Warmest Color" and "Frances Ha" are among the nominees.
Check out the full list on the next page.
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
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