ex machina wins out at the british independent film awards
Likely Oscar hopefuls Saoirse Ronan and Room also bag awards at the ceremony in London.
The British film awards season got under way last night with a big win for Alex Garland's Ex Machina at the Moët British Independent Film Awards. The sci-fi thriller took home four prizes: Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay for Garland and the visual effects award for Andrew Whitehurst.
Potential Oscar contenders emerged on the night in the form of two films with strong Irish connections: Saoirse Ronan won Best Actress for Brooklyn, the adaptation of the Colm Toibin novel about a young Irish woman forced to emigrate to America in the 50s. Best International Independent Film went to Room from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson. The film, out in January, an adaptation by fellow Irish writer Emma Donoghue of her best selling book told from the perspective of a young boy held captive with his mother.
A number of other awards will also be be making their way across the Irish sea: Irish actor Brendan Gleeson won a Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Suffragrette; Best Debut Director went to Northern Irish filmmaker Stephen Fingleton for The Survivalist, his near future thriller starring Martin McCann and Mia Goth which is in cinemas in spring 2016.
Despite becoming the biggest British documentary at the box office ever, Amy, the story of the late, great musician failed to take home any awards despite its huge critical and commercial success this year. The biggest documentary at the British box office ever lost out to Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance, Louise Osmond's film about Welsh villagers who decide to breed a racehorse.
In the remaining acting categories, Tom Hardy won Best Actor for his dual role as Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend; Olivia Coleman won her third BIFA, this time a Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in The Lobster. It was the film's only win of the night, despite seven nominations across the categories.
Abigail Hardingham beat strong competition from Agyness Deyn and Bel Powley to win Most Promising Newcomer for her role in the horror comedy Nina Forever. The newcomer award for behind the scenes work - The Discovery Award - went to Jeanie Finlay, director of Orion: The Man Who Would Be King.
The BIFA ceremony, hosted by Richard Ayoade in London last night, also included two special previously announced awards to Kate Winslet and Chiwetel Ejiofor for achievements in British film.
Text Colin Crummy