Golden Globes success, 12 Oscar nominations, 14 Bafta nods and a whole lot of media coverage – The King’s Speech and its star Colin Firth are hard to avoid right now, threatening to sweep all before them in this year’s movie gong stakes. Yet one London newspaper’s awards event has bucked the current trend and passed them both over.
The Evening Standard British Film Awards, which recognise the cream of Britain and Ireland’s filmmakers and actors, sidelined The King’s Speech in favour of actor-turned-director Peter Mullan’s drama Neds, about youth gangs in 1970s Glasgow.
Andrew Garfield took the best actor award, ahead of Colin Firth and Four Lions star Riz Ahmed, for his performances in The Social Network and Never Let Me Go.
Garfield, who is already filming Spider-Man, a new take on the superhero’s origins, said “I really, really appreciate [the award] and intend to let this spur me and provide more fuel for my fire.”
Meanwhile, The Evening Standard’s Derek Malcolm, one of six judges, had high praise for Neds. “Despite our admiration for The King’s Speech… the jury felt that Peter Mullan’s Neds deserved our prize this year,” said Malcolm, calling it “an original drama of great skill, power and human sympathy”.
Other winners included best actress Kristin Scott Thomas for her role in French drama Leaving, and Ben Wheatley, who was named most promising newcomer for co-writing and directing black comedy drama Down Terrace, about a family of small-time crooks.
There were also two special prizes. The Peter Sellers Award for Comedy went to Roger Allam for his performance alongside Gemma Arterton in comedy drama Tamara Drewe, while the Alexander Walker Special Award recognised Inception director Christopher Nolan for his contribution to film.
But what do the Evening Standard awards mean for The King’s Speech? Well, with the film tipped to take Baftas in both the best film and best actor categories, and with the Golden Globes widely seen as an indicator of Oscar leanings, Colin Firth still has reasons to be hopeful – last night’s results are just a reminder that he hasn’t been crowned yet.