While the US precursor circuit is getting into the swing of things, tomorrow marks the first major date of the British awards calendar: the British Independent Film Awards. Ostensibly the UK's answer to the Independent Spirit Awards (though they don't define "independence" by quite the same criteria), it's a ceremony that has grown in prominence in recent years, representing a larger sample of the local film industry than the slavishly Oscar-minded BAFTA Awards. That said, the BIFAs have given nascent awards juggernauts like "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" their first big trophy hauls of the season.
Nobody will be looking the BIFAs for any Oscar cues this year. After last year's awards reflected a banner year for British film -- "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Shame," "Tyrannosaur," "Weekend" and "Senna" -- were among the big winners, this year's lineup of nominees, while studded with high-level work, doesn't boast quite the same lustre.