Thursday 14 December 2017

Julie Walters honoured at Bifas

Julie Walters won the Richard Harris award at the British Independent Film Awards
Julie Walters won the Richard Harris award at the British Independent Film Awards

Julie Walters has been praised for her outstanding contribution to British cinema at an awards ceremony honouring the best of independent film.

The actress, whose career includes roles in Mamma Mia! and the Harry Potter films, w on the Richard Harris award at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs).

She was introduced by Potter co-star Jason Isaacs who told the crowd how she "exploded on to the national conciousness" in Educating Rita in 1983.

Accepting her award, she said she had once starred with Harris in a film called Mack The Knife which was described in a review as a "turd of a movie".

She said: "I have to say that his wit, his fabulous wit and wisdom and his Albert Hall size knowledge of just about most things and his sense of fun and irreverence turned that piece of something into gold dust for me."

It was also a good night for Metro Manila with the crime drama picking up three awards including best film and best director for Sean Ellis.

Ellis, who had already accepted the award for best achievement in production told the crowd: "I already blew my speech, I didn't have another one".

Other winners on the night included Lindsay Duncan who was named best actress for Le Week-end which she starred in with Jim Broadbent.

She said: "We had the most wonderful time making this film and I think we made the film we wanted to make."

Paying tribute to her co-star, she said: "You can't play half a couple who've been married for 30 years without someone pretty special and that is the legendary and wonderful Jim Broadbent."

Stars attending the awards in Old Billingsgate, London, included Steve Coogan who was nominated for best actor for his role in Philomena and Saoirse Ronan.

Coogan lost out to Filth star James McAvoy who was named best actor for his role in the film version of the Irvine Welsh novel.

Accepting the award, he said: "It's like Scotland's won the World Cup."

The award for best screenplay went to Steven Knight for Locke.

The event, formally known as the Moet British Independent Film Awards, was hosted by James Nesbitt who described it as "better than the Baftas, more original than the Oscars and less Nazi than the GQ Awards."

The first award, for best international independent film, went to French film Blue Is The Warmest Colour which is based on a graphic novel.

Science-fiction film The Machine, starring Toby Stephens, about two computer programmers who fall in love won The Raindance award.

Scottish actress Chloe Pirrie was named the most promising newcomer for her role in Shell about a young woman who lives with her father in the Highlands.

Accepting her award, she thanked her co-stars, saying: "I want to list the cast but I can't do that."

The best British short film went to Z1 and Ben Mendelsohn won best supporting actor for his role in prison drama Starred Up beating his co-star Rupert Friend in the process.

The Special Jury Prize went to Sixteen Films and Friends who work with veteran director Ken Loach and are known as Team Loach.

Amy Hubbard won the award for best technical achievement for her work casting The Selfish Giant about two young boys working for a scrap merchant in Bradford.

Imogen Poots was named best supporting actress for The Look Of Love - the Michael Winterbottom film about the king of Soho Paul Raymond.

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, about the jailed Russian rockers, was named best documentary.

The Variety award went to United 93 and Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass.

Paying tribute, Nesbitt said working with him on the Northern-Irish set Bloody Sunday had been "the most rewarding professional experience of my life".

Accepting his award, Greengrass said the event showed the "range of films" and "depth of talent" in the industry.

He said: "I'm incredibly optimistic about the future."

Press Association

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