Paddy Considine was honored for his debut directorial effort Tyrannosaur at tonight's Moët British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) ceremony in London. The film was named best British independent film and Olivia Colman won the best actress prize for her portrayal of a Christian charity shop worker. (This comes as very good news to Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere, who raised funds for screenings in Los Angeles last month. It disappeared after little more than a week's run in New York.)
Shame's Michael Fassbender was the recipient of the best actor trophy, while Vanessa Redgrave bested the supporting actress nominees for her work in Coriolanus. Her director and co-star, Ralph Fiennes, was given the Richard Harris Award for his contribution to British film. Michael Smiley earned best supporting actor for Kill List.
Although National Board of Review winner Tilda Swinton lost the best actress award to Colman, her film's director, Lynne Ramsay, topped the best director nominees for her helming of We Need to Talk About Kevin (opening stateside this Friday). Weekend won two awards, one for most promising newcomer Tom Cullen and annother for its achievement in production.
For the third time this week, Iran's A Separation won a prize, as best foreign independent film. It had already been named best foreign language film in both the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review awards.
With 7 nominations going into the ceremony, the final awards tally for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was slim, winning only for its production design by Maria Djurkovic. Senna took the documentary honor, and Submarine's screenplay won the screenwriter award for Richard Ayoade.
For a list of all nominees and awards, go here.
Oscarologists are already honing their early prediction lists for Academy Award nominees now that the studios are firming up release dates for their year-end product, most of which will open between November and December and have top-notch directors, stars, and productions. A quick look at some of these films follows.
FIRST-CLASS DIRECTORS: Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, and Clint Eastwood all have films scheduled for release.
* Spielberg has two, including War Horse, which is adapted from a popular children's novel set in the time of World War I and which Tony-Award-winning play adaptation has generated advanced ticket sales into 2012. His second feature, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is his first animated film.
* Polanski helms another Tony-Award-winning play, God of Carnage, a screen adaptation retitled Carnage starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly.
* Scorsese directs his first 3D film with Hugo, based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which tells the story of an orphan boy who lives within the walls of a Paris train station.
* A biopic on the life of J. Edgar Hoover starring Leo DiCaprio gets the Eastwood treatment in J. Edgar. Arnie Hammer (The Social Network) co-stars as Hoover's confidant, Clyde Tolson.
FIRST-CLASS STARS: Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, George Clooney, and Glenn Close topline end-of-the-year films.
* Streep stars as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, directed by Mamma Mia!'s Phyllida Lloyd. Jim Broadbent co-stars.
* Redgrave gives a star turn as Volumnia in the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriloanus, with Gerard Butler and Brian Cox co-starring. Fiennes cast himself as the titled lead.
* Clooney stars in Alexander Payne's The Descendants, while delivering another film that he directed. As part of cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei, Clooney directs his fourth film, The Ides of March.
* Close disguises herself as a man in late 19th-century Ireland in the lead role of Albert Nobbs, which co-stars Mia Wasikowska, Janet McTeer, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
OTHER FILMS TO SEE: A big hit at the Cannes Film Festival, The Artist looks to be an arthouse hit when it is released around Thanksgiving. David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method puts Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Freud (Viggo Mortensen) at psychoanalytic odds with a patient (Kiera Knightley) in Vienna. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock topline Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on Jonathan Safran Foer's novel.
David Fincher (The Social Network) returns with the English adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Will Rooney Mara be as mesmerizing at Noomi Rapace in the Swedish version of this thriller? Christopher Plummer and Robin Wright co-star with Mara. Martha Marcy May Marlene was a big hit at Sundance and features a reportedly arresting portrayal by Elizabeth Olsen. Robin Wright co-stars with Brad Pitt in Moneyball, while Michelle Williams takes on the title role in My Week with Marilyn, directed by none other than Madonna.
Cold War era spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy lets Gary Oldman and Colin Firth demonstrate their acting chops, and Matt Damon and Scarlet Johansson head up the cast of We Bought a Zoo. Finally, Tilda Swinton garnered rave notices from Cannes for her performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson bring Diablo Cody's Young Adult to life in a film directed by Jason Reitman.
Many fine directors appear on the roster of scheduled films to be released from now until the end of the year -- Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Roman Polanski, Clint Eastwood, Terence Malick. (Spielberg even has two big films coming out!) David Fincher, who directed 2010's The Social Network, perhaps has the most eagerly awaited film on the 2011 list: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The Swedish version of this first book of a very successful trilogy of stories about one Lisbeth Salander was one of my favorite films, and the actress who limned the role, Noomi Rapace, stole my heart. Will Rooney Mara, the American actress cast in the State-side adaptation, be just as sensational as Ms. Rapace?
On the sequel side of things, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II will end that series of blockbuster films, Pirates of the Caribbean comes arrrrrghing back with Johnny Depp, the fourth Mission Impossible has Tom Cruise, and the second Sherlock Holmes co-stars the above-mentioned Ms. Rapace.
Polanski's God of Carnage could be one of the most anticipated Broadway transfers ever put to film from a casting perspective: Kate Winslet, Jodi Foster, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly (all lOscar winners except for Reilly). The Help, a fascinating "upstairs-downstairs" look at the South in the 1960s that I read last year, will star Viola Davis, and Vanessa Redgrave stars in the Ralph Fiennes'-directed Coriolanus. Both of these actresses are riveting performers, and I look forward to anything they topline.
More to come as the release list for the coming year firms up. What are you most eager to see?