By Joel Durston

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Artist were the big winners at The Richard Attenborough UK Regional Film Awards – unofficially, the ‘RAFAs’ – which, as host James King noted, are ‘dedicated to one of the greatest film directors in British history’.

The Cold War espionage thriller picked up the gong for British Film of The Year, Gary Oldman won British Film Star for his role in it and the husband-and-wife team of Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O’Connor won the Best screenwriter award.

The former two awards were voted for by the public, along with Animated Film, Family Film, Film Star, Film Blog, and Most Anticipated Film of 2012. The latter was voted for by regional film critics, alike Film of the Year, Filmmaker of the Year, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Rising Star.

In the acceptance message read out on his behalf, Oldman said, although it may come as a surprise, the award is the first he has received specifically for his own performance, and praised the work done by the considerable cast and crew.

He added: “So, today, the most genuine, heartfelt thanks goes to you all.”

The Artist, the largely silent comedy-drama which has garnered rave reviews and 10 Oscar nominations, scooped 2 awards – the prestigious Film of the Year award and director Michel Hazanivicius took Filmmaker of the Year, over Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life).

Irish-German Michael Fassbender won Best Actor for his portrayal of a sex addict in dark drama, Shame , and Meryl Streep took Best Actor for her critically-acclaimed turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

Tom Hiddleston beat a strong field of Andrea Riseborough, John Boyega, Felicity Jones, and Eddie Redmayne to win British Rising Star for his role in Warhorse – Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s popular children’s novel.

He said he was incredibly honoured and beyond proud to be nominated in such fine company.

He added: “Richard Attenborough has long been a hero of mine, so this is a great double honour.”

The gongs for Animated Film and Family Film went, respectively, to Arthur Christmas and The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn, and Robert Pattinson nabbed Film Star – albeit to somewhat delayed and muted applause.

There was also an award for Best Film Blog – won by CineVue ( cine-vue.com ) – with James King jokingly thanking the many bloggers in attendance for “coming out of (their) bedrooms to be here”.

In an interview after the awards, he praised the two big winners and that the nature of awards meant both the films – and many others – could be recognised.

On the awards’ importance, he said: “I think you kind of forget that film critics and the film press isn’t just in London; there’s a huge amount of local radio stations and papers that cover movies and they are equally important.

“We had the London Critics Circle (Film) Awards a couple weeks ago which are great, but you need to share it, spread out the votes. I think that’s the main thing.”

And, on hopes and predictions for the coming year in film, he added: “It will be interesting to see what will happen with The Artist. I think it may well be a one-off – (possible imitators) may not be as good.

“I am looking forward to seeing some of our British stars in Hollywood doing big movies. We celebrated Tom Hiddleston today, but Andrew Garfield’s playing Spiderman. I’m really excited for that; this nerdy English guy playing Spiderman.

“The idea of us going out, particularly with these superhero movies – Henry Cavill as Superman…I’m intrigued to see how that will go.”

“I think The Artist is going to win big at the Oscars. I think Hugo, which has the most nominations, will pick up some technical awards. But every year there’s a film that has a huge amount of nominations but actually isn’t the big winner. And I think that’s what you’ll get this year.”

The full list of winners is:

Critics’ Film of the year: The Artist
Critics’ Best Filmmaker: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Critics’ Best Screenwriter: Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Critics’ Best Actor: Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Critics’ Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Critics’ Rising Star: Tom Hiddleston
Public’s British Film of the Year: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Public’s Animated film: Arthur Christmas
Public’s Family Film: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Public’s Best British Film Star: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Public’s Favourite Film Star: Robert Pattinson
Public’s Most Anticipated Film: The Dark Knight Rises

Public’s Film Blog of the Year: CineVue

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.