“The King’s Speech” won five of its eight bids at the 13th annual edition of the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday in London. The film — predicted by our pundits to be a frontrunner for the Oscar — won over the BIFA jury, as did Oscar favorite Colin Firth and supporting players Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter; among those Rush bested was Guy Pearce who play’s the monarch’s disgraced brother in the film. David Seidler won for his original screenplay but Tom Hooper lost the directing race to Gareth Edwards (“Monster”) who, as that low budget film’s visual effects supervisor, also won the technical achievement award over, among others, “The King’s Speech” production designer Eve Stewart.
Bookending last year’s prize for “An Education,” Carey Mulligan won best actress for “Never Let Me Go,” which marked the only win for that film out of six bids. “Another Year,” which did not receive a best picture nomination, was blanked in four races as was “Made in Dagenham.”
“Enemies of the People” was named best documentary while “A Prophet” took best foreign film. The debut directing award went to Clio Barnard (“The Arbor”) over, among others Gareth Edwards. And most promising performer was Joanna Froggat (“In Our Name”).
Helena Bonham Carter was this year’s recipient of the Richard Harris Award for her outstanding contributions to British film. Previous recipients of this prize include last year’s honoree Daniel Day-Lewis, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, David Thewlis, Bob Hoskins and Jim Broadbent.
Also being feted at the festivities was Liam Neeson who was given the Variety Award for bringing worldwide attention to the British film industry. He joins an honor roll that includes last year’s recipient Michael Caine as well as Helen Mirren, Richard Curtis, Michael Sheen and Keira Knightley.
The winners were chosen by a jury chaired by producer Duncan Kenworthy. Other members included: director Franny Armstrong, editor Mags Arnold, film programmer Clare Binns, producers Finola Dwyer and Andy Harries, actors Matthew Goode, Sean Pertwee, Jamie Sives and Gemma Jones, directors David Mackenzie and James Marsh, writer Matt Greenhalgh, festival programmer Hannah McGill, film critic Jason Solomons and production designer Gary Williamson.
Image: British Independent Film Awards logo (BIFA)