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Newport Beach Film Festival U.K. Honors Ceremony Fetes Talent, Brits to Watch

The Newport Beach Film Festival U.K. Honors evening celebrated its fifth anniversary on Thursday with several honorees and the presentation of Variety’s 10 Brits to Watch at the Langham Hotel in London.

The star-studded celebration marks the kickoff of BAFTA Awards weekend and included icon award honors for Julian Fellowes, Lesley Manville, and John Lloyd. Artists of distinction recognized were Rob Brydon, Lily Cole, Laura Carmichael, Richard Dormer, and Joanne Froggatt. Breakthrough award recipients were Naomi Ackie, Ellie Bamber, Hannah John-Kamen, and Louis Serkis. Arts champion honors were given to MediCinema and Women in Film & Television. The movie “Stan & Ollie” was recognized for outstanding achievement in British cinema and “The Favourite” was celebrated for outstanding achievement in global cinema.

In addition, Variety presented the 2019 10 Brits to Watch, an honor they’ve been bestowing on British talent since 2013. This year’s class is: Rhianne Barreto, Raffey Cassidy, Paapa Essiedu, Jess Glynne, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Billy Howle, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jessica Swale, Joivan Wade, and Fionn Whitehead.  Said Barreto, “The night was a joy to behold and accepting it with actors and writers I’ve watched, studied and loved was surreal. It’s a very fuzzy feeling and I couldn’t have asked to spend it with kinder company.”

Brydon, perhaps best known for “The Trip” series with Steve Coogan, quipped, “When I first got the letter inviting me to this festival, my heart sank at the thought of having to go to Newport, South Wales. Then leapt when I realized it was Newport Beach, California.” When he realized the ceremony was actually held in London, he joked, “Then it sank again. It really has been an emotional roller coaster.”

Upon receiving her icon award, Manville joked, “I think I’m going to call myself ‘Lesley [icon] Manville’ from now on.” Another icon winner, “Downton Abbey” creator Fellowes, stated, “All of us really, need every now and then to feel that what we’re doing is getting through. That somewhere a man, a woman, is crying or laughing or thinking because of what we have written or acted in or produced or directed. We just need to feel we’re making contact. And this evening I do feel I have cast my bread upon the waters and it has come back buttered toast.”

There was also a “Downton Abbey” reunion with Fellowes, Froggatt, and Carmichael all in attendance, though they revealed nothing about the upcoming movie, set to be released in the fall.

In her speech, Carmichael thanked Fellowes who “let me play this wonderful character and it really changed my life,” noting before landing the part she was working as a receptionist.

The 20th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival will take place April 25 to May 2.

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