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‘For Sama,’ Renee Zellweger Win Big at British Independent Film Awards

Syrian documentary takes top prize, while Zellweger’s Oscar hopes grow with Best Actress win for ”Judy“

Syrian documentary “For Sama” was the big winner at the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday, taking home four awards for its sobering portrayal of how the ongoing war in Syria affects the women who live there.

“For Sama,” directed by Aleppo resident Waad al-Kateab with Edward Watts, follows al-Kateab through five years of her life as she gets married and gives birth to her daughter, Sama, all while the city crumbles around her. The film won BIFAs for Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, and Best Film Editing, adding to an awards list that includes The Golden Eye for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the SXSW Film Festival.

Other winners include Best Actress Oscar contender Renee Zellweger, who won a BIFA for her performance as Judy Garland in the biopic “Judy.” The Best Actor award went to Josh O’Connor for his performance in the Harry Wootliff romance “Only You.”

Armando Iannucci’s “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” which premiered at TIFF and will be released in theaters in 2020, won for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Hugh Laurie. Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” which is seeing buzz build around it for a Best Picture Oscar nomination, won for Best International Independent Film

Read the full winners list below:

The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Actor to British Film

Kristin Scott Thomas

Special Jury Prize

Amanda Nevill

Best British Independent Film

“For Sama”

Best Director

Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts (“For Sama”)

Best Screenplay

Armando Ianucci, Simon Blackwell (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)

Best Documentary

“For Sama”

Best Actress

Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)

Best Actor

Josh O’Connor (“Only You”)

Best Supporting Actress

Ruthxjiah Bellenea (“The Last Tree”)

Best Supporting Actor

Hugh Laurie (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)

Most Promising Newcomer

Sam Adewunmi (“The Last Tree”)

The Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)

Harry Wootliff (“Only You”)

Debut Screenwriter

Emma Jane Unsworth (“Animals”)

Breakthrough Producer

Kate Byers, Linn Waite (“Bait”)

The Raindance Discovery Award

“Children of the Snow Land”

Best Casting

Sarah Crowe (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)

Best Cinematography

Benjamin Kracun (“Beats”)

Best Costume Design

Suzie Harman, Robert Worley (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)

Best Editing

Chloe Lambourne, Simon McMahon (“For Sama”)

Best Effects

Howard Jones (“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”)

Best Make-Up & Hair Design

Jeremy Woodhead (“Judy”)

Best Music

Jack Arnold (“Wild Rose”)

Best Production Design

Cristina Casali (“The Personal History of David Copperfield”)

Best Sound

David Bowtle-McMillan, Joakim Sundstrom, Robert Farr (“Beats”)

Best British Short Film


Best International Independent Film