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Mad Max and 45 Years win big at London Critics' Circle Film Awards

Mad Max: Fury Road

Story by Jack Foley

MAD Max: Fury Road and marital drama 45 Years emerged as the big winners at the 2016 London Critics’ Circle Film Awards.

Both films won three awards. George Miller’s high-octane post-apocalyptic action extravaganza took the night’s top prize, for Film of the Year, while Miller was crowned Director of the Year.

The film also shared in a third trophy, as leading man Tom Hardy was named British/Irish Actor of the Year for his body of work in 2015, also including his performances in Legend, The Revenant and London Road.

Andrew Haigh’s tender marital drama 45 Years, meanwhile, was crowned British/Irish Film of the Year, while it also won the night’s top acting prizes, with veteran stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay named Actress and Actor of the Year.

It was a strong night for British talent, as Kate Winslet was named Supporting Actress of the Year for her work in Steve Jobs and Mark Rylance took the Supporting Actor honour for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.

Adding to its growing list of honours in the US, Asif Kapadia’s home-grown Amy Winehouse portrait Amy took the award for Documentary of the Year, beating off the likes of The Look of Silence. However, Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to The Act of Killing was instead named Foreign Language Film of the Year.

Other winners included Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan, who was named British/Irish Actress of the Year, while 18-year-old Maisie Williams accepted the Young British/Irish Performer award for her challenging lead role in Carol Morley’s adolescent study The Falling.

Scottish musician-turned-filmmaker John Maclean won the Philip French Award for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker for his striking revisionist western Slow West.

And critics rounded out their British-specific awards with a new category: Oscar nominee Benjamin Cleary claimed the inaugural British/Irish Short Film of the Year award for his unconventional love story Stutterer.

American filmmaker Tom McCarthy and his co-writer Josh Singer were named Screenwriters of the Year for their fact-based script for journalistic drama Spotlight, while Todd Haynes’s period romance Carol took the multi-disciplinary Technical Achievement Award for Ed Lachman’s lush 16mm cinematography.

Bringing the ceremony to a rousing close, finally, was a confluence of British acting royalty, as Judi Dench took the stage to present Kenneth Branagh with the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film.

Branagh accepted the award from his recent stage partner in A Winter’s Tale, after verbal and visual tributes to his storied career as an actor and filmmaker.

The full list of winners for the 36th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards:

FILM OF THE YEAR:
Mad Max: Fury Road

BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR:
45 Years

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR:
The Look of Silence

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR:
Amy

ACTOR OF THE YEAR:
Tom Courtenay — 45 Years

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:
Charlotte Rampling — 45 Years

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR:
Mark Rylance — Bridge of Spies

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:
Kate Winslet — Steve Jobs

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR:
George Miller — Mad Max: Fury Road

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR:
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy — Spotlight

BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Tom Hardy — Legend, London Road, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant

BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR:
Saoirse Ronan — Brooklyn, Lost River

YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR:
Maisie Williams — The Falling

PHILIP FRENCH AWARD FOR BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER:
John Maclean — Slow West

BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM OF THE YEAR:
Stutterer — Benjamin Cleary

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
Ed Lachman, cinematography — Carol

DILYS POWELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN FILM:
Kenneth Branagh