And so it came to pass, on a cold December 7 night in old London town, that the great and the good of British film gathered together to celebrate the 17th Moet British Independent Film Awards. Either that, or they’d just come along to quaff as much free champagne as their taste buds could cope with.
Bubbly aside, once all the guests had settled into the warmth of Old Billingsgate, it was time to get down to the (relatively) serious business. Keeping order was host for the night, Simon Bird, who injected his own brand of playful humour into proceedings. Distinguished atendees included Keira Knightley, Charles Dance and Dame Helen Mirren, whilst the head of the jury was Stanley Tucci, who complimented the quintessential Britishness of the occasion with a touch of stateside sophistication.
The star of the show was the movie Pride, which scooped three awards including the ultimate prize of Best British Independent Film, along with Best Supporting Actor for Andrew Scott and Best Supporting Actress for Imelda Staunton. To add to the haul, those lovely people at Moet also threw in a crystallised jeroboam for good measure.
Other notable winners included Yann Demange, who was named Best Director for ’71, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw who took Best Actress for her turn in Belle. The highly-decorated Irishman Brendan Gleeson became even more highly-decorated, meanwhile, when he walked off as Best Actor for Cavalry.
There were also very special prizes to dish out; the Variety Award for Benedict Cumberbatch, and the Richard Harris Award for Emma Thompson. The Cucumber was genuinely moved by his honour: “I’m a huge fan of independent cinema and as a Brit it makes you very proud. That’s what it’s about recognition-wise. I’m very lucky.”
Finally, The Incredibly Strange Film Band, a nine-piece ensemble, were on hand throughout to provide the soundtrack to what was a thoroughly enjoyable night out – same time next year, then?