‘Mrs.,’ ‘Libertine’ top Brit indie noms

'Gardener' draws 7 noms while 'Tristram' takes 5

LONDON — Stephen Frears’ “Mrs. Henderson Presents” and Lawrence Dunmore’s feature debut “The Libertine” lead the field with eight British Independent Film Award nominations each. Noms were announced in London on Tuesday.

The eight mentions for “The Libertine” surprised some U.K. industryites. The film received some negative buzz at Toronto last year after a work-in-progress screening. But the Johnny Depp starrer has rebounded resolutely. BIFA chairman Elliot Grove said the pic “has punk attitude and appeals to young audiences.”

Fest circuit favorite “The Constant Gardener,” which opened the 49th London Film Festival last week, drew seven noms, including Ralph Fiennes for actor and Rachel Weisz for actress.

Michael Winterbottom’s “Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story” took five noms; quirky comedy “Kinky Boots” and horror title “The Descent” are in the running for three awards.

“Mrs. Henderson Presents,” “The Libertine,” “The Constant Gardener,” “Tristram Shandy” and “The Descent” go head to head for British film kudos.

Industry recognition is a boost for “The Descent” after the pic’s theatrical box office biz was severely dented as it opened on the same day in July as the London terrorist attacks. Understandably, despite some very strong reviews, few in the U.K. had the stomach for a tough horror film immediately following the bombings.

The only other pics with more than one nom are Dinard Golden Hitchcock winner “In My Father’s Den,” Richard E. Grant’s directorial debut “Wah-Wah” and Danny Boyle’s “Millions.”

At the Nov. 30 awards ceremony, Keira Knightley will receive the Variety U.K. personality of the year prize and Tilda Swinton will collect the Richard Harris nod for contribution to Brit cinema by an actor.

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