Anne-Marie Duff 'blown away' by Evening Standard film award

By Vicky Shaw,Press Association
Tuesday 09 February 2010 17:57

Anne-Marie Duff gave a loving "thank you" to her husband James McAvoy as she scooped the best actress gong at the London Evening Standard British Film Awards.

Duff plays John Lennon's spirited mother Julia in the biopic Nowhere Boy, and was shortlisted alongside Oscar hopeful Carey Mulligan.

The night also saw Andy Serkis named best actor for his embodiment of singer Ian Dury in warts-and-all film Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.

Duff is expecting her first child with McAvoy and the pair arrived at last night's ceremony together.

Wearing a gathered pink dress over her baby bump, she said she was "blown away" to win the award.

She said: "I'd really like to be Mrs McAvoy for a minute and say thank you for seriously having to live with a flame-haired broken hearted banjo player for quite some time.

"Thank you for your support and always allowing me to take my work far too seriously, which I do."

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Sarah Brown, Steve Coogan, Sacha Baron Cohen and Eva Green attended the awards ceremony at the London Film Museum.

Serkis dedicated his award to Dury, saying: "Ian wherever you are, this is for you."

He described the singer as a unique voice who "wasn't afraid to speak his mind".

Serkis, whose previous movie incarnations include Gollum in Lord of the Rings, continued: "We want more like him at the moment in music and art."

Before accepting his award, Serkis deliberately threw himself down the stairs, as actresses, including Duff, had tripped previously when taking to the stage.

He said after doing a couple of comedy falls: "F***, I really hurt myself, all in the name of art."

Baron Cohen's latest alter-ego, the flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter Bruno, secured him the Peter Sellers award for comedy - an award he also won in 2006 for his film Borat.

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He received the award from film maker Terry Gilliam, who remarked: "If comedy is going to be useful, I think it should offend."

Speaking about Monty Python, he continued: "I think we were just paving the way for the filth that (was) about to follow."

Baron Cohen, dressed in a suit, made an unusual appearance - as himself - to collect the award.

He described how aged 11 or 12 he would smuggle himself into cinemas to watch Monty Python films, describing them as "totally inspiring, shocking, hilarious".

He also paid tribute to Sellers as an "incredible inspiration".

Martin presented the best documentary award to Anvil! The story of Anvil, directed by Sacha Gervasi.

Martin said: "The winner of this award is someone we met on tour in a hotel.

"We met the band in the hotel - and we will probably look like that in a few years."

Hollywood screenwriter Gervasi previously worked as a roadie for Canadian rock band Anvil.

The film follows Anvil as they record their 13th album, in one last attempt to hit the big time.

Veteran film director and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg received the Alexander Walker special award for his contribution to film from Jenny Agutter, star of his film Walkabout.

With a career spanning more than 60 years, Roeg is behind film classics including Far From the Madding Crowd and supernatural thriller Don't Look Now.

He said: "I don't know what to say, thanks a lot. Here's to the next one."

Armando Iannucci's Oscar-nominated writing team behind In The Loop won best screenplay for the movie spin-off of The Thick of It, receiving the gong from Coogan.

Gritty drama Fish Tank, starring newcomer Katie Jarvis, followed up on its Cannes jury prize success with the award for best film.

Andrea Arnold's low budget movie tells the story of a troubled teenager on an Essex council estate.

Jarvis was beaten to the role of best newcomer by Peter Strickland, for his debut film Katalin Varga.

Strickland wrote the screenplay and upped sticks from Reading to Romania to direct the "revenge saga".

The London Film Museum award for technical achievement went to Barry Ackroyd's cinematography in gritty Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker, an Oscar front-runner.

Ackroyd has worked on several Ken Loach films and also on United 93 with Paul Greengrass, who presented him with the award.

Both Duff and Serkis are in the running for film Baftas later this month - Serkis vying against big Hollywood hitters like George Clooney for leading actor and Duff in the supporting actress category.

Dury died in 2000 aged 57, after a long battle with cancer. He was known for hits containing funky, streetwise verse, including Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, and Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3.

The awards were hosted by Green Wing actor Stephen Mangan.

Earlier, as he arrived at the awards, Iannucci told how he received his Oscar invite that morning.

He said: "The ticket arrived this morning - very exciting.

"It was late and it had 'please reply by' and it gave today's date.

"And I thought, 'well, they're not going to not let me in'.

"But some hasty phone calls and emails and all sorted."

He said he was "really excited", adding: "We're all going out."

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