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Charlotte Wells’ ‘AFTERSUN’ Tops 2022 British Independent Film Awards Nominations

Sam Claflin and BIFA winner Kosar Ali revealed the 2022 British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) nominees this morning. Yet again, this year’s nominees showcase the wealth of talent working in the British film industry, with the list of nominess featuring critically acclaimed debuts alongside previous BIFA winners, such as Florence Pugh, Emma Thompson, Jessie Buckley, and Alice Birch, in a strong year for women filmmakers and performers. And there’s even more to celebrate in BIFA’s 25th anniversary year with brand new performance categories and the addition of a category for first-time documentary feature directors. 

Leading the nominations, Aftersun, Charlotte Wells’ poignant portrait of a father and daughter’s complex relationship has been nomiated for Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema, Best Screenplay, the Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) sponsored by BBC Film and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 for Wells, a Best Joint Lead Performance nomination for stars Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio, who also received a Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix nomination, alongside a Best British Independent Film nod. A further nine craft nominations – Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight, Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Make-up & Hair Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound supported by Halo, Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing and a nomination in the new Best Music Supervision category make a total of 16.

Set in late ’80s Britain against the backdrop of Thatcher’s anti-gay Section 28 ruling, Georgia Oakley’s debut film Blue Jean follows a young a closeted teacher who is pushed to the brink when a new student threatens to expose her sexuality. Blue Jean’s 13 nominations include Best British Independent Film and Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema,  Best Screenplay, Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 for Oakley, Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood and Shepperton Studios for Hélène Sifre, Best Lead Performance and Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix nominations for Rosy McEwen, Best Supporting Performance nominations for Kerrie Hayes and Lucy Halliday and a Best Ensemble Performance nomination for the film. For craft, a Best Editing nomination sits alongside Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight for Shaheen Baig, a constant in the BIFA spotlight for her work. 

Nominated for a BIFA Best Screenplay award in 2018 for Disobedience, Sebastián Lelio picks up the same nomination for The Wonder, a 19th-century thriller focussing on a young Irish girl whose fasting is hailed as miraculous, but may be something more ominous…. The nomination is shared with BIFA winners Alice Birch and Emma Donoghue, on whose book the screenplay is based. Lelio also adds a Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema nod. 2017 Best Actress winner Florence Pugh is nominated for Best Lead Performance, Kíla Lord Cassidy is nominated for Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix, additional cast members including Tom Burke, Toby Jones, Niamh Algar, Elaine Cassidy, Ciarán Hinds, Brían F. O’Byrne and Josie Walker join them in a Best Ensemble Performance nomination and craft nominations include Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak, Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up & Hair Design, Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing, Best Production Design and Best Sound supported by Halo for Hugh Fox and BIFA winner Ben Baird, who earned this award in 2020 for his work on The Reason I Jump. The Wonder is also up for Best British Independent Film. 

An adaptation of Kurosawa’s Ikiru, perfectly transposed to 1950s London, Living gets a Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema nomination for Oliver Hermanus, previously nominated for this award in 2019 for Moffie and a Best Screenplay nomination for acclaimed writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Bill Nighy scores a Best Lead Performance nomination and Aimee Lou Wood Best Supporting Performance. Living is also nominated in four craft categories, Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight, Best Costume Design, Best Music Supervision and Best Production Design, as well as Best British Independent Film, making nine nominations in total. 

A deliciously entertaining tale of art, lust, ego and sonic catering, 2012 Best Director BIFA winner Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet received seven nominations including Best Supporting Performance for Fatma Mohamed, Best Ensemble Performance for its cast including Makis Papadimitriou, Gwendoline Christie, Asa Butterfield, Fatma Mohamed, Ariane Labed and Richard Bremmer and a further five craft nominations – Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Make-Up and Hair Design, Best Production Design and Best Sound supported by Halo.

Emily Watson is nominated in Lead Performance for her role in God’s Creatures, which also sees Paul Mescal pick up a second BIFA nomination – Best Supporting Performance – along with Aisling Franciosi. Shane Crowley is nominated for Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 for this tense, emotional film in which a mother’s love for her son threatens to tear their small community apart. A nomination for Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing makes five.

BIFA winner Jessie Buckley and co-star Rory Kinnear are nominated for Best Joint Lead Performance for Alex Garland’s smart horror-thriller Men in which a young woman’s retreat to the country becomes a waking nightmare of her darkest fears. Further nominations are Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak, Best Effects, Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing and Best Sound supported by Halo.

It’s the end of the Middle Paleolithic period in The Origin, and a dying tribe struggling in a hostile environment face an even greater threat when night falls… First time director Andrew Cumming nabs a nomination for Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film and writer Ruth Greenberg is nominated for Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4. Safia Oakley-Green is nominated for Breakthrough

Performance sponsored by Netflix with nominations for Best Make-up & Hair Design and Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing also featuring. 

Acclaimed actress Frances O’Connor moves behind the camera and picks up a nomination for Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film for her first feature Emily, an exploration of the young life and loves of the rebel and misfit who went on to write Wuthering Heights. Starring as the titular Brontë, Emma Mackey picks up a Best Lead Performance nomination, Fionn Whitehead gets a Best Supporting Performance nod and further cast members including Amelia Gething, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Alexandra Dowling, Gemma Jones and Adrian Dunbar join them in a Best Ensemble Performance nomination.  

Sex positivity abounds in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, a film in which Amma Thompson embodies the candor and apprehension of retired teacher Nancy Stokes, and newcomer Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders) personifies the charisma and compassion of sex worker Leo Grande. As Nancy embarks on a post-marital sexual awakening and Leo draws on his skills and charm, together they find a surprising human connection. The film has been nominated for Best British Independent Film, Best Director sponsored by Sky Cinema for Sophie Hyde, Best Screenplay for Katy Brand and Best Joint Lead Performance for stars McCormack and BIFA winner Thompson.  

Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance are the final nominees in the new Best Joint Lead Performance category with The Silent Twins, which also received a Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight nomination for Kharmel Cochrane. 

Elsewhere in the performance categories, 2020 contender Cosmo Jarvis is nominated for his role in Antonia Campbell-Hughes’s debut feature It Is in Us All, with Sally Hawkins for The Lost King and Hala Zein for Nezouh completing the Best Lead Performance nominations. Nezouh also receives a Best Effects nomination. Rounding out the Best Supporting Performance nominations are Zoey Deutch for The Outfit and Zainab Joda for Our River…Our Sky, which is also nominated in the new Best Ensemble Performance category and for Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight. Leo Long is nominated for Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix for his role as an autistic drummer with an incredible gift in I Used to Be Famous.

Thomas Hardiman earns a nomination for Best Debut Director sponsored by BBC Film for his inspired murder-mystery Medusa Deluxe, set in the extravagant and obsessive world of competitive hair dressing, which also gets Best Make-Up & Hair Design and Best Production Design nominations.

David Earl and Chris Hayward create touching comedy gold with Brian and Charles, their documentary-style tale of friendship and freedom and earn a joint nomination for Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4, Rupert Majendie is nominated for Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood and Shepperton Studios for the film, joined by Aleksandra Bilić and Jennifer Corcoran (Nascondino [Hide & Seek]), Paul Kennedy (Nightride) and Nadira Murray (Winners) in that category. Winners also receives a Raindance Discovery Award nomination.

The new Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary category sees Victoria Fiore nominated for Nascondino [Hide & Seek], Jono McLeod for My Old School, Kathryn Ferguson for Nothing Compares, Becky Hutner for Fashion Reimagined and Leah Gordon and Eddie Hutton Mills for Kanaval. Further nominations for this year’s crop of debut documentary features include Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak for Nascondino [Hide & Seek] and Kanaval and Best Editing for Nothing Compares.  

Three of the five Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary nominees also land Best Feature Documentary sponsored by Intermission nominations – Nascondino [Hide & Seek], Nothing Compares and My Old School.

The Richard Harris Award, introduced in 2002 in honour of Richard Harris, recognises outstanding contribution to British Film by an actor. Previous winners include Daniel Day Lewis, Julie Walters, John Hurt, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench, Kristin Scott Thomas, Glenda Jackson and Riz Ahmed in 2021. This year’s award recipient will be announced in the coming weeks, as will the ceremony host and this year’s juries.

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