The Women Of The 2019 British Independent Film Awards

By Caz Armstrong

On 30th October the nominations for the 2019 British Independent Film Awards were announced. In total 38 British feature films were nominated and the results will be announced on Sunday 1st December in a ceremony hosted by Aisling Bea. 41% of the nominations were for women and 59% for men – if you count a nomination for a film as a nomination for the director.


“The Personal History of David Copperfield” leads the way with 11 nominations, 5 of which are for women including Best Supporting Actress, Best Casting, and Best Production Design.

Closely behind with 10 nominations is “Wild Rose”. 7 of those nominations are for women, including Best Actress for Jessie Buckley, Best Supporting Actress for Julie Walters and Best Screenplay for Nicole Taylor.

“In Fabric” has 9 nominations, including 4 for women. “The Souvenir” has 8 nominations, all of which are for women apart from Tom Burke being nominated for Best Actor.

When you look at nominations for women alone, “Wild Rose” and “The Souvenir” are tied with 7 each. Both are up for Best British Independent Film, Best Screenplay and Best Costume Design.


“For Sama” is tied with “The Personal History of David Copperfield” with both receiving 5 nominations for women. Although “Copperfield” has more nominations overall, every one of the nominations for “For Sama” are for women.

Renee Zellweger is in the running for Best Actress for her portrayal of Judy Garland in “Judy” which has drawn almost $22m at the UK box office so far. She’s up against Jessie Buckley and her performance in “Wild Rose” which made $1.6m in the UK. Of course, profit is not what’s being judged though.

Just two categories had no nominations at all for women (aside from the male actor categories) – Best International Independent Film and Best Effects. All of the Best Casting and Best Costume Design nominations are for women.


It’s incredibly encouraging that BIFA provided an unconscious bias training program for its members in an effort to make voting fairer. All the jurors, voters and board members have undergone this training and refresher training are also available to make sure that knowledge is not lost. It is also being rolled out to anyone in the industry who votes in awards, not just BIFA.

BIFA has also adhered to the BFI Diversity Standards for all British feature and short film categories.

These schemes are very encouraging because they show commitment to change, not just lip service. Hopefully, this kind of initiative can be rolled out further so that biases and unnecessary roadblocks can be removed for female and minority filmmakers.

Judy poster

The full list of nominations is shown below, with female-identifying nominees and films with female-identifying directors being highlighted.

Best British Independent Film
For Sama
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
The Souvenir
“Wild Rose”

Best Director
Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts, “For Sama”
Oliver Hermanus, “Moffie”
Joanna Hogg, “The Souvenir”
Mark Jenkin, “Bait”
Asif Kapadia, “Diego Maradona”

Best Actress
Jessie Buckley, “Wild Rose”
Holliday Grainger, “Animals”
Sally Hawkins, “Eternal Beauty”
Vicky Knight, “Dirty God”
Renee Zellweger, “Judy”

Best Actor
Sam Adewumni, “The Last Tree”
Tom Burke, “The Souvenir”
Kris Hitchen, “Sorry We Missed You”
Josh O’Connor, “Only You”
Dev Patel, “The Personal History Of David Copperfield”

Best Screenplay
Joanna Hogg, “The Souvenir”
Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell, “The Personal History of David Copperfield
Paul Laverty, “Sorry We Missed You”
Peter Strickland, “In Fabric”
Nicole Taylor, “Wild Rose”

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Barden, “Scarborough”
Ruthxjiah Bellenea, “The Last Tree”
Elizabeth Debicki, “Vita & Virginia”
Tilda Swinton, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Julie Walters, “Wild Rose”

Best Supporting Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”
Hugh Laurie, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Edlison Manuel, Olbera Núñez, “Yuli – The Carlos Acosta Story”
Peter Mullan, “The Vanishing”
Bluey Robinson, “Dirty God”

The Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director)
Will Becher, Richard Phelan, “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
Fyzal Boulifa, “Lynn + Lucy”
Ninian Doff, “Boyz In the Wood”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”
Harry Wootliff, “Only You”

Breakthrough Producer
Finn Bruce, “Tucked”
Kate Byers, Linn Waite, “Bait”
Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, “Blue Story” [Also Produced By Damian Jones]
Becky Read, “Three Identical Strangers” [Also Produced By Grace Hughes-Hallett]
Jack Sidey, “Moffie” [Also Produced By Eric Abraham]

Debut Screenwriter
Kieran Hurley, “Beats”
Lisa Owens, “Days of the Bagnold Summer”
Nicole Taylor, “Wild Rose”
Emma Jane, “Unsworth Animals”
Harry Wootliff, “Only You”

Most Promising Newcomer
Sam Adewumni, “The Last Tree”
Vicky Knight, “Dirty God”
Lorn Macdonald, “Beats”
Roxanne Scrimshaw, “Lynn + Lucy”
Honor Swinton Byrne, “The Souvenir”

Best Documentary
“Coup 53”
“Diego Maradona”
For Sama
“Tell Me Who I Am”

The Raindance Discovery Award
“A Bump Along The Way,” Shelly Love
“Children of the Snow Land,” Zara Balfour, Marcus Stephenson, Mark Hakansson
“Here For Life,” Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Adrian Jackson, James Lingwood, Michael Morris, Cressida Day
“Muscle,” Gerard Johnson, Matthew James Wilkinson, Richard Wylie, Ed Barratt
“The Street,” Zed Nelson

Best International Independent Film
“Ash Is Purest White”
“Marriage Story”
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

Best Casting
Shaheen Baig, “In Fabric”
Shaheen Baig, Aisha Bywaters, “The Last Tree”
Kahleen Crawford, Caroline Stewart, “Only You”
Kahleen Crawford, “Wild Rose”
Sarah Crowe, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”

Best Cinematography
Ole Bratt Birkeland, “Judy”
Benjamin Kracun, “Beats”
Zac Nicholson, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Jamie D Ramsay, “Moffie”
Ari Wegner, “In Fabric”

Best Costume Design
Suzie Harman, Robert Worley, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Anna Mary Scott Robbins, “Wild Rose”
Grace Snell, “The Souvenir”
Jany Temime, “Judy”
Jo Thompson, “In Fabric”

Best Editing
Mick Audsley, Peter Lambert, “The Personal History Of David Copperfield”
Mark Jenkin, “Bait”
Chris King, “Diego Maradona”
Chloe Lambourne, Simon Mcmahon, “For Sama”
Helle Le Fevre, “The Souvenir”

Best Effects
Howard Jones, “A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”
Paul Mann, “In Fabric”
Andy Quinn, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”

Best Make Up & Hair Design
Morten Jacobsen, Rogier Samuels, Lindelotte Van Der Meer, “Dirty God”
Karen Hartley-Thomas, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Emma Scott, “In Fabric”
Jody Williams, “Wild Rose”
Jeremy Woodhead, “Judy”

Best Music
Jack Arnold, “Wild Rose”
Cavern Of Anti-Matter, “In Fabric”
Nainita Desai, “For Sama”
Antonio Pinto, “Diego Maradona”
JD Twitch, Penelope Trappes, Stephen Hindman, “Beats”

Best Production Design
Cristina Casali, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Stéphane Collonge, “The Souvenir”
Kave Quinn, “Judy
Anne Seibel, “The White Crow”
Paki Smith, “In Fabric”

Best Sound
Anna My Bertmark, Jonathan Seale, Jules Woods, “Gwen”
David Bowtle-Mcmillan, Joakim Sundström, Robert Farr, “Beats”
Stephen Griffiths, Tim Cavagin, Max Walsh, Andy Shelley, “Diego Maradona”
Lee Walpole, Colin Nicholson, Stuart Hilliker, “Wild Rose”
Martin Pavey, “In Fabric”



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