Brits love ‘England’

Skinhead tale tops at kudos

The British Independent Film Awards lived up to its name Wednesday with a defiantly independent-minded selection of winners led by “This Is England,” which took the film prize.

Director Shane Meadows’ semiautobiographical tale about a young skinhead growing up in the strife-torn 1980s beat several higher-profile contenders, including “The Queen” and “The Last King of Scotland.”

Pic’s teenage star, Thomas Turgoose, drew the nod for newcomer onscreen.

Kevin Macdonald took director for “Last King of Scotland,” whose cinematographer, Anthony Dod Mantle, picked up the prize for technical achievement.

In a double surprise, the actor and actress kudos went to Tony Curran and Kate Dickie for their perfs in Andrea Arnold’s gritty Glaswegian drama “Red Road.”

Curran beat Oscar front-runners Forest Whitaker and Peter O’Toole, while Dickie outpaced Oscar favorite Helen Mirren. Surprisingly, Arnold herself lost the new director nod to Menhaj Huda for “Kidulthood.”

Leslie Phillips (“Venus”) drew supporting actor or actress honors.

“The Queen” picked up one laurel, for Peter Morgan’s screenplay, although Mirren was also presented with Variety’s U.K. Film Achievement Award.

Michael Haneke’s “Hidden” took foreign film; Michael Winterbottom’s “Road to Guantanamo” triumphed in the documentary section.

Paul Andrew Williams’ “London to Brighton” was honored for achievement in production. “The Ballad of A.J. Weberman” won the Raindance Award for the best movie screened at the Raindance Film Festival.

Ken Loach, whose Cannes winner “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” was nominated in several categories but failed to win in any, received the consolation of the special jury prize.

Jim Broadbent was presented with the Richard Harris award for contribution to British film by an actor.

Ceremony took place at the Hammersmith Palais in west London.

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