Indie period hit Lady Macbeth lead the nominations for this year’s British Independent Film Awards, which were unveiled Wednesday by actresses Maisie Williams and Hayley Squires.
Debut features dominated the list, with the first-time writers, producers and directors of Lady Macbeth, I Am Not a Witch and God’s Own Country all recognized in the three newcomer categories — debut screenwriter, breakthrough producer and The Douglas Hickox Award for best debut director — as well as best screenplay, best director and best British independent film.
Among Lady Macbeth’s 15 nominations were mentions for Florence Pugh, Naomi Ackie and Cosmo Jarvis for their performances, with Ackie nominated twice, for best supporting actress and most promising newcomer. The film has also been nominated in five technical categories, newly introduced this year.
I Am Not a Witch’s Margaret Mulubwa was nominated for best actress, with the film also picking up six technical category mentions. God’s Own Country leads Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu are both nominated for best actor, and the film also got a nomination for Ian Hart for best supporting actor.
Past BIFA winners Armando Iannucci and Martin McDonagh are the writer-directors of this year’s other two best British independent film nominees, The Death of Stalin and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Both films have two nominees in the best supporting actor category, with Death of Stalin’s Simon Russell Beale and Steve Buscemi taking on Three Billboards’ Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Frances McDormand is nominated for best actress for her performance in Three Billboards, while Andrea Riseborough will compete for supporting actress honors for Death of Stalin. Both films also earned nominations for best director and best screenplay.
Johnny Harris wrote and starred in Jawbone and has nominations for both best actor and debut screenwriter. The pic’s helmer Thomas Napper was also recognized in the best debut director category, with the film earning four technical noms, including for best music for its score by Paul Weller.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool nabbed four nominations, including two for previous BIFA winners Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, who were nominated in the best actor and supporting actress categories. Bell won most promising newcomer for Billy Elliot in 2000.
All five nominees for best actress are first-time BIFA nominees. Among them are Emily Beecham, nominated for Daphne, and Ruth Wilson for Dark River. In the best supporting actress category, Kelly Macdonald received her first BIFA nomination for Goodbye Christopher Robin and Patricia Clarkson earned her first BIFA mention for her role in Sally Potter’s The Party.
Journeyman received three nominations, including best actor for Paddy Considine, which is the sixth BIFA nomination of his career. He won best debut director honors in 2011 for Tyrannosaur.
“This year’s nominations showcase the range and quality of British independent filmmaking,” said the organization. “It’s a diverse and varied list, in terms of the teams making the films and also the kinds of stories being told. It is especially encouraging to see so much exciting work from so many new filmmakers; this points to a very bright future for British cinema and we’re proud to be at the heart of it, celebrating these exceptional films.”