Richard Attenborough's British Star 2011

We take a look at the Richard Attenborough British Star nominees and what's behind the votes...
The winners of the Richard Attenborough Regional Film Awards are currently being decided upon, and one particular award, for British Star, is of particular interest. The award, which is sponsored by The Herald, has a list of ten nominees, with the public set to decide who should take home the trophy.

The nominees, and the roles for which they have been nominated, are as follows:

James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, Arthur Christmas, Gnomeo & Juliet), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Contagion), Ewan McGregor (Perfect Sense, Beginners), Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga, Water for Elephants), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Jamie Bell (The Eagle, The Adventures of Tintin), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Rhys Ifans (Anonymous) and Kate Winslet (Contagion).

So, it is up to the public to decide who the British Star of 2011 was. What exactly will be taken into consideration by voters in this sort of award? British Star is a slightly vague category – does it refer to acting talent? Popularity? Or, since roles in specific films are referenced as their ‘nominated roles’, is character portrayal important? Because Rhys Ifans has significantly more screen time in The Deathly Hallows 2 than Gary Oldman, but Sirius Black is a much more significant character to the overall tales than Xenophilius Lovegood is – so is that why Ifans is only nominated for Anonymous, while Oldman is recognised for The Deathly Hallows in addition to Tinker, Tailor?

Another interesting point is whether or not voters will take the time to consider the overall careers of some of these actors in relation to others. When it comes to the younger actors, Jamie Bell has starred in significantly more films than either Daniel Radcliffe or Robert Pattinson, but since he hasn’t been the star of a franchise such as Harry Potter or Twilight, will the public fail to see him as a front runner? Bell was born the same year as Robert Pattinson (1986), and has starred in a variety of films from low budget indie flicks like Dear Wendy and Undertow, to much bigger releases such as Defiance and, this year, Tintin and The Eagle. This is in no way an attack on Robert Pattinson, or Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe has become immensely popular and was excellent as Harry Potter, and Pattinson has had a lot to cope with in the past two years with the unexpected insanity of the Twilight phenomenon – hiding from paparazzi in a bin being just one example. Time will tell as to whether voting will be affected by the fact that they have both been featured a lot more prominently in the media than Jamie Bell, an actor who is the absolute equal of either of them in terms of talent but who, since Billy Elliot, has managed to successfully avoid public scrutiny, at least in comparison with Radcliffe and Pattinson.

And what of the only two women nominated? If Radcliffe is good enough to make the list, then what made Emma Watson fail to make the cut? Or Helena Bonham Carter, who was recently appointed CBE and starred in two of the highest grossing films of 2011 (The Kings Speech and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)? (I tried but failed to find if there was a long-list of nominees before these 10 were selected!) Of course, that’s not to say the wrong people have been short-listed – the list features some very talented actors. It’s just perplexing to think what exactly ‘British Star’ means. I myself love James McAvoy, but I wouldn’t say he’s significantly more talented than Gary Oldman or Kate Winslet – so what exactly am I voting for when I choose between the ten nominees? Perhaps I am reading far too much into it, and it genuinely is just about who people like the most.

It will be very interesting to see who comes out on top in this award and how close the voting is. What would be even more interesting would have been to have people indicate the reason behind the vote they cast, but, since voting closes on Friday 20th January, it’s a little bit late for that now.

All winners will be announced on Thursday 2nd February 2012, go to to see the list of awards and nominees.

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