The fest introduced separate competitions this year for film, documentary and first feature, with 12 titles in contention for each of the awards, plus a bake-off for best British newcomer.
Official Competition prexy David Hare said the jury also commended Michel Franco’s “After Lucia” and Pablo Larrain’s “No.”
Audiard’s win should make “Rust and Bone” a strong contender at the BAFTA Film Awards where his “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” and “A Prophet,” won for best film not in the English language in 2005 and 2009 respectively.
Alex Gibney won the Grierson Award for documentary for his “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” whose jury was presided over by Roger Graef.
” ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ was the unanimous choice of the judges,” said Graef. “It was a life-changing film that was made with real integrity. It deeply affected the judges who said ‘it sat in the gut’.”
The Sutherland Award for first feature went to Benh Zeitlin for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Actress Helen McCrory and jury prexy Hannah McGill presented the helmer with the honor. McGill described the film as “daringly vast” and “richly detailed” saying it “stood out as most clearly deserving of the top prize recognizing innovation and originality.”
“My Brother the Devil” scripter-helmer Sally El Hosaini was named best British newcomer by actors Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston, who served on the jury for the award. El Hosaini saw off competition from seven newcomers, including her lead actor Fady Elsayed.
David Heyman, who served as prexy of the jury for the newcomer award said, “Sally El Hosaini’s writing and direction displayed a remarkable maturity. The film transcended its genre with lyricism and tenderness and possessed a wonderful emotional truth.”
The ceremony also saw BFI Fellowships, announced Oct. 10, bestowed on helmer Tim Burton and actress Helena Bonham Carter.