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LONDON — For a few of the winners at the British Independent Film Awards, held Nov. 29 at the Hammersmith Palais, the pleasure was tinged with sadness.

Helen Mirren, who received the Variety Award for achievement in film, said the spirit of independent filmmaking had been best embodied by Robert Altman.

“He had the courage to stand up for what he believed in when everyone was against him,” Mirren said of Altman, who died Nov. 21.

Mirren recalled that a reporter had once suggested Altman leave America because of his opposition to the Iraq war. “I ripped her to shreds,” she said.