Monday 19 January 2015

35th London Critics' Circle Film Awards: words & pics

My third year as chair of the London Critics' Circle Film Awards at times felt like it might do me in, but after all the work, the night was another triumphant celebration of the year in cinema. On Sunday 18th January we gathered at The May Fair Hotel for our annual ceremony and party, joined by a smattering of wonderful guests.

Our ceremony hosts this year were Alice Lowe and Steve Oram (below left), who won our Breakthrough Filmmaker award two years ago for their Sightseers screenplay. They set the tone for the ceremony perfectly: irreverent humour mixed with a love of cinema. After the clatter of the red carpet (above with Miranda Richardson and below right with me and Richard Linklater), the ceremony felt intimate and almost conspiratorial because it was so much fun.
After a couple of introductions (from me and from our Film Section Chair Anna Smith), we were straight on to the awards themselves. Winners included Mica Levi (below left), who won the Technical Achievement Award for her score for Under the Skin, and Dirk Wilutzky and Mathilde Bonnefoy (below right), recently Oscar-nominated producers of the Documentary winner Citizenfour.
Three of our Young British Performer nominees were in the house, left to right: Corey McKinley ('71), Daniel Huttlestone (Into the Woods) and the winner Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game).
And we invited some potential future nominees along as well. Below left, that's Toby Sebastian (soon to be seen in Game of Thrones) and his sister Florence Pugh (star of Carol Morley's upcoming stunner The Falling). Below right are Ferdinand Kingsley (Dracula Untold) and Louise Brealey (Sherlock).
Quite a few British filmmakers were on hand, including Breakthrough Filmmaker nominees, left to right, Hossein Amini (The Two Faces of January), James Kent (Testament of Youth) and Jane Pollard and Iain Forsyth (20,000 Days on Earth), here flanking director Jonathan Glazer, whose film Under the Skin won the Attenborough Award for British Film of the Year.
Breakthrough British Filmmaker was won by Yann Demange for '71 - he accepted his award by video (below right), as did Andrey Zvyagintsev (below left), whose Leviathan won Foreign-Language Film of the Year.
More video messages were sent by Michael Keaton (bringing down the house with a trouser-free acceptance of Actor of the Year for Birdman), Rosamund Pike (British Actress of the Year), Patricia Arquette (Supporting Actress for Boyhood) and Wes Anderson (Screenwriter for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Actress of the Year winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) sent a generous written speech, while Supporting Actor winner JK Simmons (Whiplash) was conspicuously absent.

And Richard Linklater took to the stage twice for Boyhood, winning Director of the Year and Film of the Year (the award I presented). Finally, Stanley Tucci presented our biggest honour to the gorgeous Miranda Richardson - The Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film. Both gave speeches that combined sharp humour, warm friendship and a love of cinema.
Finally, at the after-party I was snapped in perhaps my luvviest picture of all time - with Miranda and our British Actor of the Year winner Timothy Spall. Darlings!
Photos by Dave Bennett

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