Films - BIFA Nominations


Boiling Point and Belfast are neck and neck at eleven nods apiece as The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) announced their 2021 award nominations. Here's the full list...


Press Release

Revealed by Samuel Adewunmi and Mimi Keene (pictured above) live at Curzon Soho in London, this year’s nominees again highlight the wealth of talent and diversity within the British film industry, with 2021’s list featuring some of the greatest names in British cinema and its brightest new talent side by side. The winners will be announced on 5th December.

Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s moving autobiographical tale of life as a young boy in Belfast in 1969 in the midst of the Troubles, receives 11 nominations, with a Best Actress nomination for Caitríona Balfe, Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench, Best Supporting Actor for Ciarán Hinds and a Breakthrough Performance nomination for newcomer Jude Hill. Belfast also receives seven craft nominations, including Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight, Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak, Best Editing, Best Make-Up and Hair Design, Best Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing Group, Best Production Design and another nomination for BIFA 2020’s Best Costume Design winner Charlotte Walter.

Alongside nominations for Best British Independent Film and Best Director, Philip Barantini’s adrenaline-fuelled, single-take Boiling Point [read Steve's review of the film here - Ed], which follows an up-and-coming chef under extreme pressure, scores a Best Actor nomination for Stephen Graham, Best Supporting Actor for Ray Panthaki, Best Supporting Actress for Vinette Robinson and a Breakthrough Performance nomination for Lauryn Ajufo, as well as a Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood Studio Group nomination for Hester Ruoff. Further nominations include Best Casting sponsored by Spotlight & Casting Society, Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak, Best Production Design and Best Sound supported by Halo. The short version of the film was nominated at BIFA in 2019.

Debut feature directors Aleem Khan (After Love) and Prano Bailey-Bond (Censor) go head-to-head with their films with nine nominations apiece.


Aleem Khan is the only debut filmmaker to receive a Best British Independent Film nomination this year for his film After Love. Khan also earns nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Film, The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director) and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4. In the acting categories, Joanna Scanlon picks up Best Actress, Nathalie Richard Best Supporting Actress and Talid Ariss a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Shaheen Baig is nominated for Best Casting sponsored by Spotlight & Casting Society.

Prano Bailey-Bond is nominated for Best Debut Director and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 for Censor, her psychological-horror-mystery set in the world of 1980s video nasties, which also receives a nomination for Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood Studio Group for Helen Jones. BIFA 2020 nominees Annika Summerson (Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks and Kodak), Mark Towns (Best Editing) and Paulina Rzeszowska (Best Production Design) score nominations again, with Best Effects, Best Make-Up & Hair and Best Sound supported by Halo also featuring.

The Souvenir Part II also receives nine nominations: Best British Independent Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Film for Joanna Hogg, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Ayoade and Best Supporting Actress for Tilda Swinton. Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Make-Up & Hair Design round off its nominations.

Clio Barnard is nominated in the Best Director and Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Film categories for Ali & Ava, which also received a Best British Independent Film nomination, Best Actor for Adeel Akhtar and Best Actress for Claire Rushbrook. Shaheen Baig receives a second nomination for Best Casting sponsored by Casting Society & Spotlight and 2020 nominee Connie Farr gets a nomination for Best Music Universal Music Publishing Group alongside Harry Escott.

Jude Law is nominated for Best Actor in Sean Durkin’s The Nest alongside Carrie Coon with a Best Actress nod. The film also garners nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Film for Sean Durkin, Best Cinematography sponsored by Dirty Looks & Kodak and Best British Independent Film.

Elsewhere in the acting categories, Riz Ahmed (winner of last year’s Debut Screenwriter award) and Lucien-River Chauhan are nominated for their performances in Michael Pearce’s Encounter (which also has nominations for its music and sound). Ruth Wilson is nominated for Harry Wootliff’s True Things and James Norton for Uberto Pasolini’s Nowhere Special.

The team behind debut feature Sweetheart score with nominations for Best Debut Director and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 for Marley Morrison. Best Supporting Actress for Jo Hartley and a Breakthrough Performance nomination for Nell Barlow. Michelle Antoniades is nominated for Breakthrough Producer sponsored by Pinewood Studio Group, alongside Rob Watson for The Power and Jessica Malik for She Will.

Max Harwood (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Ellora Torchia (In the Earth) are both nominated for Breakthrough Performance. The films have two and three further craft nominations each, respectively. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain has four craft nominations. Dashcam is nominated for Best Effects.

Cathy Brady is nominated in both the Best Debut Director and Best Debut Screenwriter sponsored by Film4 categories for her first feature Wildfire. Reggie Yates is also nominated in the latter category for his debut film Pirates, which has two further nominations, including a third casting nod for Shaheen Baig.

Terence Davies’ Benediction is nominated for Best Screenplay sponsored by BBC Film and Best Costume Design.

This year’s Best Documentary nominees, sponsored by Intermission Film are Dying to Divorce, I Am Belmaya (also nominated for the Raindance Discovery Award), Keyboard Fantasies, Cow (which has three further craft nominations) and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, which is also nominated for Debut Director and for the Raindance Discovery Award. Also nominated in that category are Bank Job, The Bike Thief and Rebel Dykes.

Best International Independent Film sponsored by Champagne Taittinger features nominations for Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6, Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman and Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure.

Nominees for Best British Short, supported by BFI NETWORK, are: Egúngún (Masquerade), FEMME, Night of the Living Dread, Play It Safe [read Steve's review of Play It Safe here - Ed] and Precious Hair and Beauty, directed by John Ogunmuyiwa who was nominated in 2020 for Mandem.

You can watch the nominations ceremony in full below:



BIFA 2021 nominations

Best British Independent Film


After Love - Aleem Khan, Matthieu De Braconier
Ali & Ava - Clio Barnard, Tracy O’riordan
Boiling Point - Philip Barantini, James Cummings, Bart Ruspoli, Hester Ruoff
The Nest - Sean Durkin, Ed Guiney, Derrin Schlesinger, Rose Garnett, Amy Jackson, Cristina Piovesan
The Souvenir Part II - Joanna Hogg, Ed Guiney, Emma Norton, Andrew Lowe, Luke Schiller

Best Director

Philip Barantini - Boiling Point
Clio Barnard - Ali & Ava
Sean Durkin - The Nest
Joanna Hogg - The Souvenir Part II
Aleem Khan - After Love

Best Screenplay

Clio Barnard - Ali & Ava
Terence Davies - Benediction
Sean Durkin - The Nest
Joanna Hogg - The Souvenir Part II
Aleem Khan - After Love

Best Actress

Caitríona Balfe - Belfast
Carrie Coon - The Nest
Claire Rushbrook - Ali & Ava
Joanna Scanlan - After Love
Ruth Wilson - True Things

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed - Encounter
Adeel Akhtar - Ali & Ava
Stephen Graham - Boiling Point
Jude Law - The Nest
James Norton - Nowhere Special


Best Supporting Actress

Judi Dench - Belfast
Jo Hartley - Sweetheart
Nathalie Richard - After Love
Vinette Robinson - Boiling Point
Tilda Swinton - The Souvenir Part II

Best Supporting Actor

Talid Ariss - After Love
Richard Ayoade - The Souvenir Part II
Lucian-River Chauhan - Encounter
Ciarán Hinds - Belfast
Ray Panthaki - Boiling Point

The Douglas Hickox Award (Best Debut Director)

Prano Bailey-Bond - Censor
Celeste Bell - Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché [also directed by Paul Sng]
Cathy Brady – Wildfire
Aleem Khan - After Love
Marley Morrison - Sweetheart

Breakthrough Producer

Michelle Antoniades - Sweetheart
Helen Jones - Censor
Jessica Malik - She Will [also produced by Bob Last]
Hester Ruoff - Boiling Point [also produced by Bart Ruspoli]
Rob Watson - The Power [also produced by Matthew James Wilkinson]

Breakthrough Performance

Lauryn Ajufo - Boiling Point
Nell Barlow - Sweetheart
Max Harwood - Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Jude Hill - Belfast
Ellora Torchia - In The Earth

Best Debut Screenwriter

Prano Bailey-Bond - Censor [also written by Anthony Fletcher]
Cathy Brady - Wildfire
Aleem Khan - After Love
Marley Morrison - Sweetheart
Reggie Yates – Pirates


Best Documentary


Cow - Andrea Arnold, Kat Mansoor
Dying To Divorce - Chloë Fairweather, Sinead Kirwan
I Am Belmaya - Sue Carpenter, Christopher Hird
Keyboard Fantasies - Posy Dixon, Liv Proctor
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché - Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche

The Discovery Award

Bank Job - Daniel Edelstyn, Hilary Powell, Christopher Hird
The Bike Thief - Matt Chambers, Pk Fellowes, Sophia Gibber, Lene Bausager
I Am Belmaya - Sue Carpenter, Christopher Hird
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche
Rebel Dykes - Harri Shanahan, Siân A. Williams, Siobhan Fahey

Best British Short Film

Egúngún (Masquerade) - Olive Nwosu, Alex Polunin
Femme - Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping, Sam Riztenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienjke Attoh
Night Of The Living Dread - Ida Melum, Laura Jayne Tunbridge, Hannah Kelso, Danielle Goff
Play It Safe - Mitch Kalisa, Chris Toumazou
Precious Hair & Beauty - John Ogunmuyiwa, Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager

Best International Independent Film

Compartment No. 6 - Juho Kuosmanen, Livia Ulman, Andris Feldmanis, Jussi Rantamäki, Emilia Haukka
First Cow - Kelly Reichardt, Jon Raymond, Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
Flee - Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin Nawabi, Monica Hellstrøm, Signe Byrge Sørensen
Petite Maman - Céline Sciamma, Bénédicte Couvreur
Pleasure - Ninja Thyberg, Peter Modestij, Erik Hemmendorff, Eliza Jones, Markus Waltå


Best Casting


Shaheen Baig - After Love
Shaheen Baig - Ali & Ava
Shaheen Baig - Pirates
Lucy Bevan, Emily Brockmann - Belfast
Carolyn Mcleod - Boiling Point

Best Cinematography

Mátyás Erdély - The Nest
Magdalena Kowalczyk - Cow
Matthew Lewis - Boiling Point
Annika Summerson - Censor
Haris Zambarloukos – Belfast

Best Costume Design

Michael O’Connor - The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain
Grace Snell - The Souvenir Part II
Guy Speranza - Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Annie Symons - Benediction
Charlotte Walter – Belfast

Best Editing

Helle Le Fevre - The Souvenir Part II
Rebecca Lloyd, Jacob Schulsinger, Nicolas Chaudeurge - Cow
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle - Belfast
Mark Towns - Censor
Ben Wheatley - In The Earth

Best Music

Iain Cooke - Pirates
Connie Farr, Harry Escott - Ali & Ava
Jed Kurzel - Encounter
Clint Mansell - In The Earth
Van Morrison – Belfast

Best Make-Up & Hair

Siobhan Harper-Ryan - The Souvenir Part II
Vickie Lang, Kristyan Mallett, Donald McInnes - The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain
Ruth Pease - Censor
Nadia Stacey - Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Wakana Yoshihara – Belfast

Best Effects

Steven Bray, Mike Knights - DASHCAM
Gary Brown, István Molnár, Dan Martin - Censor
Rupert Davies - The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain

Best Production Design

Jim Clay - Belfast
Stéphane Collonge - The Souvenir Part II
Suzie Davies - The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain
Aimee Meek - Boiling Point
Paulina Rzeszowska – Censor

Best Sound

Nicolas Becker, Cyril Holtz, Linda Forsen - Cow
James Drake - Boiling Point
Tim Harrison, Jamie Roden, Adele Fletcher - Censor
Martin Pavey - In The Earth
Andrew Stirk, Paul Davies, Morgan Muse, Bernard O’reilly, Julian Howarth - Encounter

Images - BIFA/IMDb