The former novelist and Danny Boyle collaborator Alex Garland has come away as the big winner at the 18th annual British Independent Film Awards, winning the Best Director and Best Screenplay prizes for Ex Machina, which also picked up Best British Independent Film and Outstanding Achievement in Craft, for its special effects.
The acting honours were split across four films, with Tom Hardy’s dual performance as both of the Kray Twins earning him the Best Actor prize for Legend, while Saoirse Ronan’s highly acclaimed lead role in Brooklyn saw her take home the Best Actress award. Brendan Gleeson was named the Best Supporting Actor for Suffragette, while The Lobster‘s Olivia Colman won the Best Supporting Actress trophy – the only one of the film’s seven nominations to secure a prize.
The Canadian drama Room, which won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, was named the Best International Independent Film, at the awards, designed by Raindance, to honour talent among low budget British film-makers.
The BIFAs also look ahead to the future of the UK industry, handing a Most Promising Newcomer award to Abigail Hardingham for her performance in Nina Forever.
A Special Jury Prize was awarded posthumously to Chris Collins, the producer and BFI executive, who died in November last year. The director of the BFI Film Fund, Ben Roberts, said it was a really wonderful tribute to his former colleague. “He is greatly missed, but his contribution to so many films and filmmakers continues to burn brightly,” he continued.
A feature crediting Collins as executive producer, How to Change the World, missed out to Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance in the Best Documentary category, which also featured the well-received Amy, Palio and A Syrian Love Story among the nominations.
Other awards included Producer of the Year, which went to the team behind Kajaki: The True Story; Stephen Fingleton won the Best Debut Director prize for The Survivalist; Edmond was named the Best Short and The Discovery Award went to Orion: The Man Who Would Be King.
There was also recognition for Kate Winslet, who was given the Variety Award, to mark the “global impact” she has made in focusing the international spotlight on the UK and for Chiwetel Ejiofor was honoured with the Richard Harris Award, for his “outstanding contribution” to British Film.
The chairman of the BIFA Board, Laurence Green, said “This year’s winners speak volumes, not just for their excellence but also for the undimmed ambition and beautiful diversity of the stories they tell.”