12 Years a Slave was named Film of the Year by the UK’s regional film critics. In addition, Chiwetel Ejiofor was voted the regional critics’ Actor of the year for his performance as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
Director Steve McQueen’s visceral drama recently won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It is currently nominated for 9 Academy Awards® and 10 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).
Steve McQueen said: “I am thrilled that 12 Years a Slave has been named Best Picture by the UK regional film critics. This means so much to me. Thank you for your help in making the film such a success throughout the UK.”
The regional critics’ award for Director of the year went to Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity. This matches the recent choices of both the Directors’ Guild of America and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their Best Director Golden Globe. Alfonso Cuarón also has a Best Director nomination at the EE BAFTAs and Academy Awards.
Alfonso Cuarón said: “It’s particularly gratifying to receive this honour from the UK regional film critics. Your encouraging words helped pave the road for audiences to really embrace the film. Gravity was produced, shot and all the post-production done here in the UK. I had the privilege of working with hundreds of talented British artists and I share this with all of them. I’d like to single out everyone at Framestore; our incredible crew, particularly our cinematographer and my dear friend Chivo [Emmanuel Lubezki]; our visual effects supervisor Tim Webber; my producing partner, David Heyman; and my son and co-writer, Jonas. Lastly, I’d like to thank Sandra Bullock who fully conveyed the emotional journey of this character – the heartbeat of this story.”
In addition, Gravity scooped the ‘eye-popping’ Visual Effects regional film award for Tim Webber, its visual effects supervisor, at an event hosted by Miquita Oliver at the Café de Paris in London’s West End.
Cate Blanchett’s winning streak continued as she took the regional critics’ Best Actress award for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. The critics’ Screenwriter of the year was Spike Jonze for Her, which opens in UK cinemas on 14 February.
The regional critics’ British Breakthrough award went to George MacKay, who recently appeared in Sunshine on Leith, How I Live Now and For Those in Peril.
21 year-old George MacKay said: “It’s a real honour to have been awarded the British Breakthrough award at this year’s Regional Critics’ Film Awards and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. It’s very exciting to be involved in British filmmaking, I learned so much working on Sunshine on Leith and had such a brilliant time working on it.”
The UK regional film awards included a set of public votes. In these categories, Frozen won Animated Film of the year, while Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks were voted the Best On-screen Duo for Saving Mr Banks.
The Walt Disney Company UK said: “We are delighted that both Frozen and Saving Mr Banks have won UK Regional Critics’ Film Awards voted for by the public. We are thrilled that audiences have taken Frozen to their hearts in such a big way and that the phenomenal performances of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in Saving Mr Banks have struck a chord with cinemagoers across the country.”
In other public votes, Stephen Frears’ Philomena won British Film of the year and Ryan Lambie, who contributes to fan website Den of Geek!, was named Blogger of the year.
Dame Judi Dench, who starred as Philomena Lee, said: “A huge thank you to the public for awarding British Film of the year to Philomena. It was a great honour to work with so many talented British cast and crew on this once-in-a-lifetime project. I am so proud that our work has been recognised by this wonderful award.”
Established in 2006, the UK Regional Critics’ Film Awards are named in honour of Richard (Lord) Attenborough CBE, actor, filmmaker, champion of British cinema and founding patron of these awards which celebrate excellence and achievement in filmmaking. The winners are voted for by film journalists and bloggers who write or broadcast for local media throughout the UK. In recognition of their accomplishments, each winner receives a plinth-mounted award engraved with Richard Attenborough’s signature.
Regional film journalists continue to play a significant role in identifying and championing new films and filmmaking talents. In 2013, there were 165.5 million cinema visits in the UK, which generated box-office receipts of £1.08 billion, giving the UK the world’s fourth largest cinema box-office. Three-quarters of UK cinema visits take place outside the London TV region. In 2013, Scotland accounted for 9% of UK cinemagoing, Northern Ireland 2.5% and England & Wales 88.5%.
Previous winners of the Film of the Year award all went on to receive further international accolades: Pan’s Labyrinth, Atonement, Slumdog Millionaire, Up!, The Social Network, The Artist and, last year, Ben Affleck’s Argo.
The winners are decided solely by the votes of arts/entertainment journalists, staff and freelance, editors, critics and bloggers in all forms of regional and local media around the UK. There are no panels or juries. This year’s voting took place online between 3 and 22 January 2014 at www.moviepreviewnetwork.com/awards, a generic website freely provided by Film Distributors’ Association for the purpose.
Feature-length films of any genre and from any country of origin were eligible for consideration provided they had a UK theatrical release between 8 February 2013 and 14 February 2014.
The winners of this year’s UK regional film awards in all 11 categories are as follows:
Regional critics’ awards:
- Film of the Year – 12 Years a Slave
- Director – Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
- Actress – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
- Actor – Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
- Screenwriter – Spike Jonze, Her
- British Breakthrough – George MacKay
- Visual Effects – Gravity
- Animation – Frozen
- On-screen Duo – Emma Thompson/Tom Hanks, Saving Mr Banks
- British Film – Philomena
- Blogger – Ryan Lambie, Den of Geek!
The awards are named in honour of their founding patron, Richard Attenborough, who was born in Cambridge but spent his childhood in Leicester. He made his screen debut in the 1942 Noel Coward/David Lean film, In Which We Serve, while still a student at RADA. In 1969 came the first of twelve movies as producer/director, Oh, What A Lovely War. He is undoubtedly best known for Gandhi, 1982 winner of eight Oscars and five BAFTAs, including Best Picture and Best Director on both sides of the Atlantic. Lord Attenborough’s many films in front of the cameras include Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle, Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street. More information at: www.richard-attenborough.com.