There’s a familiarity about this year’s BAFTA newcomers. Four of the five films nominated for outstanding debut by a British director, writer or producer are helmed by well-known performers.
It was also a great year for Studiocanal and Film4, which jointly backed three of the nominees — “Attack the Block,” “Submarine” and “Tyrannosaur” — and for Sheffield-based Warp Films, which produced the latter two.
But the most encouraging sign for British cinema is the strength of the candidates who missed the cut (see box). In addition to boding well for the future, it means that this year’s nominees have even more to be proud of. They are:
• Joe Cornish, director-writer, “Attack the Block.” Part of the TV comedy duo Adam & Joe, Cornish co-wrote the script for “The Adventures of Tintin” and directed behind-the-scenes docs for “Little Britain” and “Hot Fuzz” before graduating to his first feature. “Attack the Block” is an original blend of teen gang drama with sci-fi, as a lawless bunch of young thugs on an inner-city estate become mankind’s best hope against an alien invasion. Box office results didn’t match high hopes for this genre fusion, with a worldwide return of $6 million from a budget of $12 million.
• Ralph Fiennes, director, “Coriolanus.” The Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning actor certainly didn’t play it safe by taking on one of Shakespeare’s thorniest plays for his directing debut. John Logan’s screenplay updates the war-torn setting to somewhere in the contemporary Balkans, and Fiennes delivers a bold, kinetic action drama.
• Richard Ayoade, writer-director, “Submarine.” Comic performer and writer Ayoade appeared alongside Chris O’Dowd in the cult Channel 4 sitcom “The IT Crowd” and earned his directing stripes with musicvideos. “Submarine,” which he adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s novel, is a coming-of-ager hovering awkwardly between comedy and drama, about a mildly dislikeable Welsh teen trying to keep his parents together and get the girl. Performed OK in the U.K., but was a disappointment in the U.S.
• Paddy Considine, writer-director, and Diarmid Scrimshaw, producer, “Tyrannosaur.” Winner of best film at the British Independent Film Awards, “Tyrannosaur” is a study of rage, abuse, self-loathing and the unlikely relationship that develops between Peter Mullan’s violent loner and Olivia Colman’s devout charity-shop worker. It’s strong stuff that seems a natural progression from Considine’s edgy, improvised career as an actor and creative collaborator with Shane Meadows. Very modest B.O. in U.K. and worldwide, under $500,000 to date.
•Will Sharpe, writer-director; Tom Kingsley, director; and Sarah Brocklehurst, producer, “Black Pond.” The true indie on this list, “Black Pond” is a self-distributed microbudgeter financed by private investors, about a middle-class family in deep trouble when a stranger dies at the dinner table. Sharpe is an actor, while Kingsley is a musicvid director and Brocklehurst has a background in entertainment law.
- Writer-producers Iain Morris and Damon Beesley and director Ben Palmer (“The Inbetweeners Movie”)
- Writer-producer Manish Pandey (“Senna”)
- Director John Michael McDonagh (“The Guard”)
- Director Simon Curtis (“My Week With Marilyn”)
- Writer-director Sarah Smith and producer Steve Pegram (“Arthur Christmas”)
- Producer Sean O’Connor (“The Deep Blue Sea”)
- Director Amit Gupta, writer Owen Sheers and producer Amanda Faber (“Resistance”).
- Writer-director Carol Morley (“Dreams of a Life”)
- Writer-director Nick Murphy and producer Julia Stannard (“The Awakening”)
- Director Niall MacCormick and writer Tamzin Refn (“Albatross”)
- Writer Amy Jump and producer Claire Jones (“Kill List”)
- Director Jim Loach (“Oranges and Sunshine”)
- Director Gillian Wearing and producer Lisa Marie Russo (“Self-Made”)
- Director Richard de Aragues (“TT3D: Closer to the Edge”)
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