Story by: Jack Foley
MIKE Leigh's Vera Drake was
the toast of the London Critics' Circle after being rewarded with
no less than five prizes at their annual prize-giving ceremony
on February 12, 2005.
The abortion drama, which focuses on a backstreet abortionist,
was crowned British film of the year, while its star, Imelda Staunton,
took the best actress accolade.
Leigh, himself, was named best British director and British screenwriter
of the year, while Phil Davis took the best British supporting
Indeed, Vera Drake proved the night's biggest winner and is now
seen as a front-runner for Bafta success at Saturday's showpiece
Of the other notable awards on the night, Oscar favourite, Martin
Scorsese, was named best director for The
Aviator, while endearing road comedy, Sideways,
took the coveted best film prize.
Jamie Foxx was named actor of the year for Ray,
while Daniel Craig won best British actor for his performance
in acclaimed British thriller, Enduring
And Eva Birthistle and Kate Winslet
shared the British actress of the year award for Ae Fond Kiss
and Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind respectively.
After announcing The Aviator as best film, awards chairman, William
Russell, described the film as 'the work of a master film-maker
who has handled the epic story of Howard Hughes quite brilliantly'.
Scorsese responded to the compliment by acknowledging the role
the British press had played in supporting his films, frequently
before American journalists.
He also confessed to having been inspired by British film-making
at an early stage in his career.
Other key prizes were awarded to The
Motorcycle Diaries, for best foreign language film of the
year, and Romola Garai, for best British supporting actress of
the year, for Inside I'm
The British newcomer of the year was named as Natalie Press,
for My Summer of Love, while veteran director, Ken Loach received
a special award in recognition of his 40-year career.
Proceeds from the ceremony, which took place at London's Dorchester
Hotel, went to the NSPCC.