‘The Lobster,’ ‘Macbeth,’ ‘45 Years’ Top Nominees for British Independent Film Awards

By Guy Lodge | Variety

Bad news for 'Suffragette' and 'The Danish Girl' as edgier critical favorites dominate the U.K.'s answer to the Spirits.

The British Independent Film Awards — the U.K.’s answer to the Film Independent Spirit Awards — lived up to their outsider roots with this morning’s nominations announcement, as offbeat festival sensations, edgy genre film and a hit documentary trumped Oscar-tipped prestige dramas.

Leading the rebel charge is Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ darkly comic romantic fantasy “The Lobster,” which topped the list with seven nominations including Best Film, Best Director and performance mentions for Colin Farrell, Olivia Colman and Ben Whishaw.

Just behind with six nominations each were “45 Years,” Andrew Haigh’s critically adored study of a marriage unraveling in its autumn stages, and “Macbeth,” Australian helmer Justin Kurzel’s brutal, highly stylized interpretation of the Shakespeare standard. Both earned nods in the two top races, as well as for their male and female leads: respectively, Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling, and Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.

Rounding out the Best Film category, each with five nods, was Alex Garland’s sleek, cerebral sci-fi provocation “Ex Machina” and Asif Kapadia’s wrenching Amy Winehouse doc “Amy,” the highest grosser in the category.

It’s a selection that attests to the stylistic range and risk of contemporary British film, as well as to its growing accommodation of international filmmaking talent. (Champagne corks will be popping this morning at Film4, the adventurous production outfit that backed all five of the nominees.) But it’s a strikingly arthouse-inclined list: The BIFA nominating committee largely cold-shouldered the kind of commercial heritage cinema that traditionally angles for BAFTA and Oscar glory.

Sarah Gavron’s “Suffragette,” currently a robust box office performer at home, had to settle for acting attention only. So did Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl,” which earned just one nomination — and not for Eddie Redmayne, whose buzz continues to be sapped by his co-star Alicia Vikander. She cracks the Best Actress lineup, perhaps edging herself out for “Ex Machina.” (No, the BIFA voters aren’t buying that supporting Oscar push.) Meanwhile, a Best Actor nod for Tom Hardy’s dazzling dual turn as the Kray twins was all she wrote for “Legend,” a film that overcame mixed reviews to prove a domestic commercial phenom in the U.K., out-grossing Hardy’s summer vehicle “Mad Max: Fury Road” and taking more than all the Best Film nominees combined.

The team behind John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” will be disappointed not to have earned a Best Film nomination this morning. Still, with five nods, including citations for screenwriter Nick Hornby and actors Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson and Julie Walters, it can consider its trophy trail off to a reasonable start. And while U.S. awards chatter circles the likes of Charlotte Rampling and “Amy,” the BIFAs — unlike the bigger, brasher BAFTAs — have little interest in anticipating or emulating the Academy Awards: The last four winners of their top prize (“Tyrannosaur,” “Broken,” “Metro Manila” and “Pride”) boast a grand total of zero Oscar nods between them. At the outset of a season soon to be flooded with near-identical nominee fields, let’s savor what will surely be the only list led by “The Lobster.”

The awards will be presented on Dec. 6 at London’s Old Billingsgate Market. At the ceremony, Kate Winslet will receive the Variety Award for global achievement.

Full list of nominees below:

Best British Independent Film
“Amy”
“Ex Machina”
“45 Years”
“The Lobster”
“Macbeth”

Best Director
Asif Kapadia, “Amy”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Lobster”
Justin Kurzel, “Macbeth”

Best Actor
Tom Courtenay, “45 Years”
Colin Farrell, “The Lobster”
Michael Fassbender, “Macbeth”
Tom Hardy, “Legend”
Tom Hiddleston, “High-Rise”

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Macbeth”
Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Best Supporting Actor
Luke Evans, “High-Rise”
Brendan Gleeson, “Suffragette”
Domhnall Gleeson, “Brooklyn”
Sean Harris, “Macbeth”
Ben Whishaw, “The Lobster”

Best Supporting Actress
Helena Bonham Carter, “Suffragette”
Olivia Colman, “The Lobster”
Anne-Marie Duff, “Suffragette”
Sienna Miller, “High-Rise”
Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”

Best Screenplay
Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Amy Jump, “High-Rise”
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, “The Lobster”

Best Foreign Independent Film
“Carol”
“Force Majeure”
“Girlhood”
“Room”
“Son of Saul”

Best Debut Director (Douglas Hickox Award)
Chris and Ben Blaine, “Nina Forever”
Corin Hardy, “The Hallow”
Paul Katis, “Kajaki: The True Story”
John Maclean, “Slow West”
Stephen Fingleton, “The Survivalist”

Best Achievement in Craft
Chris King (editing), “Amy”
Fiona Weir (casting), “Brooklyn”
Mark Digby (production design), “Ex Machina”
Andrew Whitehurst (visual effects), “Ex Machina”
Adam Arkapaw (cinematography), “Macbeth”

Best Documentary
“Amy”
“Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance”
“How to Change the World”
“Palio”
“A Syrian Love Story”

Most Promising Newcomer
Agyness Dean, “Sunset Song”
Mia Goth, “The Survivalist”
Abigail Hardingham, “Nina Forever”
Milo Parker, “Mr. Holmes”
Bel Powley, “A Royal Night Out”

Producer of the Year
James Gay-Rees, “Amy”
Tristan Goligher, “45 Years”
Paul Katis and Andrew De Lotbiniere, “Kajaki: The True Story”
Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos and Lee Magiday, “The Lobster”
David A. Hughes and David Moores, “The Violators”

Raindance Discovery Award
“Aaaaaaaah!”
“Burn Burn Burn”
“Orion: The Man Who Would Be King”
“The Return”
“Winter”

Best Short Film
“Balcony”
“Crack”
“Edmond”
“Love is Blind”
“Manoman”