Pride_Movie_2014_PosterUPDATE, WRITETHRU, 3 PM PT: Period culture clash comedy Pride was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards which took place at London’s Old Billingsgate this evening. Pathé’s Matthew Warchus-directed ensemble took three prizes including Best Film, Best Supporting Actress for Imelda Staunton and Best Supporting Actor for new Bond cast member Andrew Scott. Brendan Gleeson was named Best Actor for John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary and Gugu Mbatha-Raw was Best Actress for drama Belle. Best Director was Yann Demange whose 71 was the most nominated film going into the evening. (See below for the full list of winners.) The BIFAs, as their name suggests, have a decidedly indie bent and are an important date on the British awards season calendar in that they tend to honor UK films that might not get as much recognition at, say, the BAFTAs.

Moet British Independent Film Awards 2014 - AwardsEmma Thompson and Benedict Cumberbatch were awarded special prizes this evening with the latter saying he felt it was “very premature” to be getting a trophy for his career, but promised it would inspire him to “work hard to deserve it.” He also praised the British filmmaking community and its “armies of craftsmen who are the envy of the world and keep the world coming back here to work.”

Thompson said she was “a bit bewildered because I really don’t know who to thank” for the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution. So, she offered a mea culpa instead. To the strictly indie audience she sheepishly said, “I have to confess to you that I have been with studios. But, I haven’t enjoyed it. I’ve tried not to get sucked in… I have demanded smaller trailers… I have taken small roles in large studio films which could be described as formulaic, for money. I am sorry.” The shtick complete, she explained she had called late director Mike Nichols prior to his death and told him she was confused how to accept the award. His advice, she said, was, “Why don’t you apologize for all the shit you’ve done and promise to do better? That’s always worked for me.” So, she quipped to the BIFA attendees, “I do apologize. I’m very happy to get this off my chest.”

This was the 17th edition of the BIFAs and the last that will be overseen by long-standing and admired directors of the awards, Johanna von Fischer and Tessa Collinson. The women are jointly stepping down from their posts at the end of this year. Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace will take over from January. Gustin produced the last two editions of the Raindance Film Festival while Wallace was previously Head of Film at BAFTA.

Here are this year’s winners:

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
Pride

BEST ACTOR
Brendan Gleeson – Calvary

BEST DIRECTOR
Yann Demange – ’71

BEST ACTRESS
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
The Goob, prods: Michael Elliott Lee Groombridge

BEST SCREENPLAY
Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan – Frank

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD [BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR]
Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard – 20,000 Days On Earth

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Imelda Staunton – Pride

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Andrew Scott – Pride

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed – Catch Me Daddy

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Stephen Rennicks – Music – Frank

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Next Goal Wins, dirs: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison

BEST INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM
Boyhood

THE RAINDANCE AWARD
Luna

BEST BRITISH SHORT
The Kármán Line