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‘Three Billboards’ Leads London Critics’ Awards

Martin McDonagh's film takes three big prizes from the London crowd, with "The Florida Project" and "Dunkirk" among the night's other winners.

It may be proving the most critically divisive of this year’s top Oscar contenders, but Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” united enough opinion to emerge victorious in this year’s London Film Critics’ Circle awards Sunday. The dark revenge comedy was named Film of the Year, in addition to two other major wins: Frances McDormand took Actress of the Year honors, while McDonagh was additionally recognized for his peppery screenplay.

“Three Billboards” had led this year’s field of nominees, announced last month, with seven bids; it beat out a diverse shortlist of titles, ranging from “Get Out” to “Lady Bird” to “Loveless,” to the top prize. The triple win for McDonagh’s film aside, however, the London critics spread the love around. Sean Baker was named Director of the Year for “The Florida Project” — some consolation, perhaps, after the scrappy indie was mostly shut out of this week’s Oscar nominations. Timothée Chalamet extended his dominance of the U.S. critics’ awards across the pond: He was named Actor of the Year for “Call Me by Your Name.”

The London crowd opted for hometown favorites in the supporting categories, with Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) and Hugh Grant (“Paddington 2”) emerging victorious. Grant is Oscar-ineligible because of the film’s January release date stateside, though given the raves from American critics, you wonder what could have happened with an earlier U.S. rollout. Release-date discrepancies also surfaced in the foreign-language and documentary races, where “Elle” and “I Am Not Your Negro” won a year after their Oscar run.

“Blade Runner 2049” production designer Dennis Gassner was singled out for the Circle’s multi-disciplinary technical achievement award, in which nominees had ranged from the makeup of “The Love Witch” to the music of “Dunkirk.” Christopher Nolan’s war epic was named British/Irish Film of the Year, however, while Sally Hawkins and Daniel Kaluuya were named top British/Irish actress and actor.

First-time writer-director Francis Lee took the Breakthrough Filmmaker award for his beloved gay romance “God’s Own Country,” while another newcomer, 21-year-old Harris Dickinson, won Young British/Irish Performer honors for his striking turn in another acclaimed gay-themed drama, U.S. helmer Eliza Hittman’s “Beach Rats.”

The awards ceremony, hosted by actors Alice Lowe and Steve Oram at the May Fair Hotel in Central London, ended with Jude Law presenting Kate Winslet with the Dilys Powell Award, the Critics’ Circle’s highest career-achievement honor. Recent recipients include Isabelle Huppert, Kenneth Branagh and Gary Oldman.

The full list of winners:

Film of the Year: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Director of the Year: Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”

Actress of the Year: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Actor of the Year: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”

Supporting Actress of the Year: Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”

Supporting Actor of the Year: Hugh Grant, “Paddington 2”

Screenwriter of the Year: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Foreign Language Film of the Year: “Elle”

Documentary of the Year: “I Am Not Your Negro”

Technical Achievement of the Year: Dennis Gassner, production design, “Blade Runner 2049”

British/Irish Film of the Year: “Dunkirk

British/Irish Actress of the Year: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water,” “Maudie” and “Paddington 2”

British/Irish Actor of the Year: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year: Francis Lee, “God’s Own Country”

Young British/Irish Performer of the Year: Harris Dickinson, “Beach Rats”

British/Irish Short Film of the Year: “We Love Moses,” Dionne Edwards

Dilys Powell Award: Kate Winslet

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