Richard Harris Honoured

Posthumous praise at Independent Film Awards

by empire |
Published on

Legendary actor Richard Harris, who passed away last Friday, was posthumously honoured last night at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA). Nominated as Best Actor for his role in King Lear re-imagining, My Kingdom, Harris lost out to James Nesbitt, but BIFA organisers decided to recognise his accomplished career by presenting an award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor. The award was received in Harris' name by his sons and granddaughter, who made a moving speech before breaking down in tears and seeing the entire building rise for a standing ovation in honour of her grandfather. "He was a true Irish warrior," said James Nesbitt. "I do my best, but you'd never follow Richard. I knew him for years and actually lived with his son at drama school. He was a generous, great, unique man who'll be desperately missed. I wish he was here tonight because I'd loved to have a Guinness with him. But I'll drink a few for him." Ex-Beatle, George Harrison, was also awarded a posthumous nod with a Lifetime Achievement Award, while Ewan McGregor was named Variety UK Personality of the Year. "I'm slightly bemused as to what that means." McGregor told Empire Online. "But it's fantastic to be recognised at the British Independent Film Awards, 'cause this is the bedrock of where I came from. All our talent springs from this hard-nosed, cutting edge, independent filmmaking. And I wish we were making more of it. Leavesden, Shepperton and Pinewood should be full of these people here tonight and full of our movies. We've got all the elements apart from the distribution and the cash - which is so frustrating because you just want to get on with it." Sweeping the other categories were Samantha Morton, who took the Best Actress award for her outstanding work in Morvern Callar, James Nebitt, winning Best Actor for docu-drama Bloody Sunday, Paul Greengrass, who took Best Director for Bloody Sunday and Ken Loach, who walked away with Best British Independent Film for Sweet Sixteen. Best Foreign Film awards went to Monsoon Wedding and Lantana while the award for Most Promising Newcomer was taken by firt-time actor Martin Compston for his role in Sweet Sixteen. "It's been a bit of a whirlwind but I'm having a great time," said Compston. "There's lovely lasses and free champagne, so I'm just enjoying it. Especially Sharon Stone - she was a bit of alright." The complete list of winners: Best British Independent Film - Sweet Sixteen Best Actor - James Nesbitt (Bloody Sunday) Best Actress - Samantha Morton (Morvern Callar) Most Promising Newcomer - Martin Compston (Sweet Sixteen) Best Director - Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday) Best Screenplay - Tom Hunsinger & Neil Hunter (The Lawless Heart) Best Achievement in Production - 24 Hour Party People Best Technical Achievement - Alwin Kuchler, DoP (Morvern Callar) Best Foreign Film, Foreign Language - Monsoon Wedding Best Foreign Film, English Language - Lantana Outstanding Contribution by an Actor - Richard Harris Debut British Director - Lindy Heyman & Christian Taylor (Showboy) Lifetime Achievement Award - George Harrison Special Jury Prize - Brian Tufano, cinematographer Most Effective Distribution Campaign - Wendy Strike & Nick Moran, from ILC (Christie Malry's Own Double Entry)

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