Cumberbatch honoured for ‘shining spotlight on UK’

Newly engaged Benedict Cumberbatch arrived at the ceremony with his fiancee Sophie Hunter from Edinburgh. Picture: AFP
Newly engaged Benedict Cumberbatch arrived at the ceremony with his fiancee Sophie Hunter from Edinburgh. Picture: AFP
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A COMEDY-drama about a group of gay activists from London who supported a Welsh mining community at the height of the bitter 1980s strike emerged triumphant from one of Britain’s major film industry awards.

Pride was named best feature at the British Independent Film Awards and also landed best supporting actor and actress awards for Andrew Scott and Imelda Staunton.

The film, based on a true story, depicted the fundraising efforts in the Dulais Valley, after an offer to help was rejected by the National Union of Mineworkers and won rave reviews when it premiered at Cannes last year.

Bill Nighy, Dominic West and Paddy Considine were among the ensemble cast.

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Benedict Cumberbatch was also honoured for helping to “shine the international spotlight” on the UK, while Emma Thompson received a special award for an “outstanding contribution to British film” Pride won the best film award ahead of ’71, the thriller set at the height of the Belfast troubles, which was written by Fife-born Gregory Burke, whose play about Scottish squaddies, Black Watch, has been performed around the world by the National Theatre of Scotland, although his first feature film did win the best director award for Yann Demange.

Burke’s screenplay for ’71 lost out to Frank, an Irish comedy-drama by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan about an eccentric band with a mysterious singer who refuses to take off a papier-mâché mask.

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson won the best actor award for his role in black comedy Calvary as a priest threatened with his life during a confession by a parishioner out for revenge after he was abused as a child.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw won the best actress award for her lead role as the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of an 18th-century Royal Navy captain in period drama Belle, inspired by a true story.

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