LEADING actors James McAvoy and David Tennant were among the main winners in this year’s Scottish film and TV Oscars, with prison drama Starred Up ousting box office hits Filth and Sunshine on Leith to be named best film.
Gritty and controversial films and TV series dominated this year’s BAFTA Scotland Awards, which saw a host of stars head down the red carpet outside the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.
McAvoy, who received his award from David Hayman, who inspired him to take up acting after visiting his school, was honoured for his role as corrupt Scottish detective Bruce Robertson in the big-screen adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Filth.
McAvoy said: “When actors are lucky enough to get work their worry starts to become: ‘will I get anything as good as that again?’
“I played Macbeth and I did Bruce in the one year and it’s made it quite difficult for me, as I don’t know what to do after that. Maybe I need to deal with the fact that I will never get anything as interesting as that again. I don’t even mean for the audience, I mean just for myself.
“Bruce came easier than any other part I’ve played, which is terrifying, because he is a demon, he is a proper son of Satan, although the truth he is just like any one of us who has gone horrendously bad. I actually loved him.”
McAvoy could not resist a dig at English actor Jack O’Connell, Starred Up’s lead actor and one of his rivals for the best actor honour, along with Sunshine on Leith star Peter Mullan.
He said: “It’s a proper relief, as it would have been well embarrassing to lose it to an English guy that made a film in Belfast, although he is brilliant.”
Harry Potter star Shirley Henderson, one of McAvoy’s co-stars in Filth, was honoured for her role as a grief-stricken social worker in Southcliffe, a Channel 4 drama about the aftermath of a spate of shootings in a small town.
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Henderson said: “The programme was an extraordinary piece of writing and a really difficult character because of where she was in her life at the time. It felt like a very powerful piece of work when I read the script and was thrilled to be a part of it.”
Dr Who star Tennant was named best TV actor for his starring role in legal thriller The Escape Artist, in which he plays a barrister whose family is stalked by the suspect in a murder case after he is acquitted on a technicality.
He said: “You win these prizes sometimes for not necessarily being the best, but landing the best job. At least half of this belongs to the writer, David Wolstencroft.
“As Scots, we are not known for our sentimentality. Maybe I’ve gone soft because I’ve been in London for a while, but this really means an awful lot.”
Relative newcomer Sophie Kennedy Clark, who first came to prominence when she starred alongside Tennant in TV drama series Single Father, was named best film actress for her role in the Oscar-nominated drama Philomena. In the film, which was based on a true story, she played a younger version of Dame Judi Dench’s character, who tries to find her son more than 50 years after having to give him up for adoption.
The 24-year-old recently starred alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg and Uma Thurman in Lars von Trier’s erotic drama Nymphomaniac, and has just filmed a British new military drama with Stephen Fry.
She said: “As Philomena Lee herself was heavily present on set almost all the time I was acutely aware I was playing part of her life.
“There were times when we were filming and I was aware that she was crying behind the monitor. It was heart-wrenching.”
There was triple glory at the awards for Starred Up, which has already won huge plaudits for the powerful performance of Jack O’Connell, who plays a high-risk young offender who is moved to an adult prison only to be confronted by his father.
A star of the British teen TV drama Skins, O’Connell was recently on cinema screens in ‘71, the thriller set in Belfast at the height of the “Troubles” penned by Black Watch writer Gregory Burke.
Along with the best film honour, Starred Up also saw David Mackenzie - the Scot behind films like Young Adam, Hallam Foe and Perfect Sense - win the award for best film and TV director and Jonathan Asser, a former poet and psychotherapist, claim the best writer honour with his first full-length screenplay.
Jude MacLaverty, director of BAFTA Scotland, defended its decision to give Starred Up - which was filmed in Belfast - multiple nominations, while Under The Skin, the acclaimed science fiction drama which Scarlett Johansson made in Scotland, was snubbed, despite the academy relaxing its rules several years ago to help recognise more productions and talent.
She told The Scotsman: “We would have loved to have included Under The Skin. We did investigate it with the funders, Creative Scotland, and the film’s producers.
“However it just didn’t meet enough of our eligibility criteria over key talent, funding and having a substantive base in Scotland.
“Starred Up is very much a Scottish film, with a Scottish director in David Mackenzie and it simply met more of the criteria.”
Other major winners on the night include the hit children’s show Katie Morag, which was adapted from Mairi Hedderwick’s best-selling books and is filmed on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebride for CBeebies.
Two of BBC Scotland’s flagship programmes, Limmy’s Show and Mrs Brown’s Boys, lost out on the coveted comedy/entertainment award to a one-off pilot, Miller’s Mountain, about a ragtag band of mountain rescue volunteers, which starred Jimmy Chisholm, Kevin Guthrie, Sharon Rooney and Jonathan Watson.
Guthrie, who will be starring in the big-screen adaptation of Sunset Song next year, said: “I believe Miller’s Mountain is going to a series early next year, so it will have a life beyond the pilot.”
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
Outstanding Contribution To Television: Lorraine Kelly
Outstanding Contribution To Broadcasting: Alex Graham
Outstanding Contribution To Craft Award: Tommy Gormley
Best Actor (Film): James McAvoy, Filth
Best Actor (Television): David Tennant, The Escape Artist
Best Actress (Film): Sophie Kennedy Clark, Philomena
Best Actress (Television): Shirley Henderson, Southcliffe
Best Animation: Monkey Love Experiments
Best Children’s Programme: Katie Morag
Best Comedy/Entertainment Programme: Miller’s Mountain
Best Current Affairs Programme: Dave: Loan Ranger
Best Director (Film/Television): David Mackenzie, Starred Up
Best Factual Series: Britain’s Whale Hunters: The Untold Story
Best Feature Film: Starred Up
Best Features/Factual Entertainment Programme: Location Location Location
Best Game: Grand Theft Auto V
Best Short Film: Getting On
Best Single Documentary: Keys To The Castle
Best Writer Film/Television: Jonathan Asser, Starred Up
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