Cheers for UK hits but boos for City

British movie makers yesterday uncorked the champagne to celebrate a bagful of Oscar nominations, but threw in an important reservation before they knocked it back: theirs was a triumph despite, rather than because of, the British government and the City's wary financiers.

Three low-budget, British-made movies won a variety of nominations of this year's Academy Awards, yet again demonstrating to the US film industry that it is possible to make successful (and excellent) films for less than a third of the $32m (£20m) average cost of a Hollywood production. But industry insiders pointed out that their success will not produce the kind of financial dividends in the UK that would have been won with a more positive attitude from the government and financial institutions.

While the French continue pressing for quotas, the emphasis among British moviemakers was on the lack of incentives from Westminster, and the overly cautious City.

"We have a fiscal environment in Britain that is deeply discouraging," said Peter Samuelson, co-producer of Tom & Viv, which won nominations for Miranda Richardson (best actress), and Rosemary Harris (best supporting actress).

The movie, the story of the chequered love affair between T S Eliot and his first wife, illustrates his point.

Even though it only cost $10m (a relative pittance by Hollywood standards), it took several years to raise the money. And when backers were found two-thirds of the cash came from the United States and France, from financiers who will now strike it rich. The film has already gone into profit, even before opening in the United States's huge market. "There is a gentleman in Paris who has had a 150 per cent return on his money," said Mr Samuelson, "It's just a shame that the money is not going to Britain."

Such views were echoed by Davina Belling, co-chair of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles: "We are delighted with the results, but why is that when British producers want to make a British film they have to go to half a dozen different sources?"

The issue is under review by the National Heritage Committee, although industry sources are pessimistic about the outcome - and some privately question the expertise of the sitting MPs.

Although attention in Hollywood last night focused on the extraordinary success of Forrest Gump, which won the most nominations (13) since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1966 - Britain's success was not unnoticed. It was represented in all of the major categories, except best director.

The Madness of King George, another British project which relied on American money, won a place in the Best Actor's category for Nigel Hawthorne and nominations in best supporting actress (Helen Mirren), art direction, and adapted screenplay.

The British smash-hit Four Weddings and a Funeral was nominated as one of the year's best films, but there was nothing for its leading actor, Hugh Grant. And Paul Scofield won a place on the best supporting actor's list for the US movie, Quiz Show. The winners will be announced on 27 March.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home