October 26, 2011 3:32pm PT by Stuart Kemp
'We Need to Talk About Kevin' Named Best Film at BFI London Film Festival
Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin scared off the opposition, taking home the best film nod presented during this year's BFI London Film Festival standalone awards bash Wednesday evening.
The nod, dished out during a swanky black tie awards dinner, was presented by LFF organizers for only the third year in the festival's history after its introduction during 2009's shindig.
Ramsay's movie beat out stiff competition from a slew of other movies which included Alexander Payne's The Descendants, the only U.S. title on the shortlist. Fernando Meirelles' 360, which opened the festival, Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, Terence Davies' festival closer The Deep Blue Sea, Aleksandr Sukurov's Faust, Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne's The Kid With A Bike, Shame, directed by Steve McQueen and Michael Winterbottom's Trishna also fell at the jury's fence.
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The nominees list is drawn up by organizers from this year's LFF lineup.
Chaired by filmmaker John Madden, best film jury members included Emmy and Golden Globe winner Gillian Anderson and BAFTA-winning writer and director Asif Kapadia.
Madden said he and his fellow jury members, despite being ”an international group,” were ”united by a common sense of unflinching human enquiry,” after watching Ramsay's film.
”We were struck by the sheer panache displayed by these great storytellers. In the end, we were simply bowled over by one film, a sublime, uncompromising tale of the torment that can stand in the place of love,” Madden said.
Ramsay picked up her award from Madden and Anderson with a wide grin. She thanked star Tilda Swinton with a wow.
Debutant actress Candese Reid waltzed away with the evening's best British newcomer award for her eye-catching turn in Junkhearts, directed by Tinge Krishnan. Reid beat her director to the nod who had also been nominated. Presented by Edgar Wright, Reid was beside herself with excitement. She dropped the two part trophy before leaping off the stage.
Best British newcomer Jury president, film producer Andy Harries said every moment the actress spent on screen in the film ”was compelling, describing her as a ”fresh, brilliant and exciting new talent.”
The festival's long standing Sutherland Award, traditionally presented to the director of the most original and imaginative feature debut in the LFF, went this year to Pablo Giorgelli, for his film Las Acacias.
Billed as a ”slow-burning, uplifting and enchanting story of a truck driver and his passengers,” Argentinian born director Giorgelli got his award from director Terry Gilliam.
Werner Herzog's documentary Into The Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life, the filmmaker's coruscating study of the senselessness of violence and its consequences took home the evening's Grierson Award for best documentary unspooling in the festival. Herzog gave thanks via VT.
Canadian auteur David Cronenberg whose film A Dangerous Method unspooled earlier in the festival picked up the British Film Institute's highest accolade, the BFI Fellowship. Presented to him by Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas and actor and Michael Fassbender, Cronenberg said he was very pleased to be given such an honor.
Also on hand to pick up his Fellowship from friend and fellow thespian Liam Neeson was Ralph Fiennes.
Hosted by comedian and broadcaster Marcus Brigstocke, the event saw the great and the good from the industry gather for the invite-only black tie ceremony Wednesday evening in the capital.
Winners received a specially commissioned "Star of London" award designed by sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff.
Earlier in the evening, BFI's Greg Dyke told the gathered luminaries he would hope satcaster BSkyB would build on its movie output by providing "much greater access for British and specialized films on the Sky platform, and increase audience choice."
Dyke said "it is time for Sky to step up to the plate and begin a dialogue on how we achieve that."
Said Dyke: "After the traumas it has endured over the last few months, there is a real opportunity for Sky to make some new friends - and boy does News International need them by using its corporate and financial muscle to partner with us in helping the British film industry to grow and then share in the resulting rewards. We welcome the opportunity to develop a significant and close partnership with them."
Dyke also took the opportunity to poke the pubcasters to do even more to support British film industry endeavors. "I'd also like to see the BBC and Channel 4, as our key public service broadcasters, do even more to help British film and film culture to the benefit of British audiences - both through their core channels and their online platforms such as the iPlayer and 4oD," Dyke said. "As one of the architects of Freeview, Freesat and the iPlayer before I left the BBC, I of all people know the transformative power of digital innovation and what it can do for consumer choice."