The UK Regional Critics’ Awards – a.k.a. The Richard Attenborough Film Awards – give a collective voice to regional film journalists during the annual film awards season.
4 February 2013 — The thriller Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, has been voted Film of the Year by the UK’s regional critics. The prestigious accolade is the first UK award given to Argo, which has recently garnered a succession of awards in the US and has seven nominations at both the BAFTAs and Academy Awards, which will be presented later this month.
Ben Affleck expressed his delight: “We thank the UK regional film critics on behalf of all the cast and production team for voting Argo Film of the Year in the Richard Attenborough critics’ awards.”
The 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, now the UK’s all-time box-office champion with more than £102 million in cinema ticket sales, picked up two regional critics’ awards – for Sam Mendes (Director of the Year) and Ben Whishaw (Rising Star) – further boosting Skyfall’s international tally in this awards season.
The regional critics’ prize for Screenplay of the Year went to Amy Jump, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram for Sightseers, the original British comedy directed by Ben Wheatley.
The fifth and final award, for British Performance of the Year, was uniquely decided by a public vote run in conjunction with the film website moviepreviewnetwork.com. The winner was Robert Pattinson for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the concluding and highest-grossing entry in the blockbuster series.
Previous winners of the RAFA Film of the Year award all went on to receive further international accolades: Pan’s Labyrinth, Atonement, Slumdog Millionaire, Up!, The Social Network and last year, The Artist.
This year’s voting began at the UK Cinema Showcase media event on 14 January and took place online from 14 to 25 January. The winners were decided solely by the votes of arts/entertainment journalists, staff and freelance, editors, critics and bloggers in all forms of regional and local media around the UK. There are no panels or juries.
Feature-length films of any genre and from any country of origin were eligible for consideration provided they had a UK theatrical release between 10 February 2012 and 8 February 2013. The UK regional critics’ award winners in all categories are as follows:
- Film of the Year – Argo
- Director of the Year – Sam Mendes, Skyfall
- Screenwriters of the Year – Amy Jump, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, Sightseers
- Rising Star – Ben Whishaw, Skyfall
- British Performance of the Year (a public vote) – Robert Pattinson, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
The RAFAs are dedicated to Richard Attenborough, who was born in Cambridge but spent his childhood in Leicester. He made his screen debut in the 1942 Noel Coward/David Lean film, In Which We Serve, while still a student at RADA. In 1969 came the first of twelve movies as producer/director, Oh, What A Lovely War. He is undoubtedly best known for Gandhi, 1982 winner of eight Oscars and five BAFTAs, including Best Picture and Best Director on both sides of the Atlantic. Lord Attenborough’s many films in front of the cameras include Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle, Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street. Lord Attenborough CBE is Chairman or President of numerous media industry bodies and charities. More information at the new website, www.richard-attenborough.com