GREAT START TO 2014

Happy New Year everyone! I have to admit I enjoyed my time away from the routine of office life, especially given the fact I don’t live on the east side of America, or anywhere near the sea or a river.

Already nearly the middle of January as I type, and it looks like a busy start to the year for UA talent.

Film director Hong Khaou, screenwriter Jonathan Asser and actress Sophie Kennedy Clark were three of the eight people featured on The Guardian and Observer’s ‘Rising Stars of 2014′ film list.

liltingHong’s feature debut LILTING, charting a mother’s emotional journey to discover who her son was after his untimely death, stars Ben Whishaw and opens the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival next Thursday.

Jonathan’s debut feature STARRED UP, which tells the story of a young man’s struggles to survive as a young offender in adult jail, screened at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and won him the Best British Newcomer Award at last year’s BFI London Film Festival.

Sophie starred in Stephen Frear’s critically acclaimed PHILOMENA, co-written by Jeff Pope, and will next appear in Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC.

Léa-SeydouxThe BAFTA’s are just over a month away and UA has four nominees: Lea Seydoux for the EE Rising Star Award (she is amazing in BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR), Jeff Pope Best Adapted Screenplay for PHILOMENA, Barry Ackroyd for Best Cinematography, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and writer Sarah Woolner for Best British Animation, SLEEPING WITH THE FISHES. The Awards take place on February 16th so watch this space.

And here’s something to keep you occupied for 5 minutes: vote for your favourite UA stars on this year’s National Television Awards which are announced live on the 22nd January.

BroadchurchHow could you not cast your vote for the brilliant MICHELLE KEEGAN who is nominated for Best Serial Performance for her on-going role in Coronation Street as Tina McIntyre?

Plus hilarious DEREK is nominated for Best Comedy; BROADCHURCH directed by James Strong, featuring Olivia Colman, David Bradley and many more, is nominated for Best Drama. OLIVIA COLMAN herself is nominated for best TV Detective for her role in Broadchurch and AN IDIOT ABROAD is nominated for Best Factual Entertainment.

Better get voting!

 

BAFTA TELEVISION AWARDS: UA WINNERS

The TV BAFTA Awards ceremony took place last night on a scorching evening at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

United Agents had a clutch of winners including Andrew Scott who won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jim Moriarty, the ultimate arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, in BBC’s Sherlock.

Jennifer Saunders picked up her second BAFTA for her role as Edina Monsoon in the wonderfully funny Absolutely Fabulous, whilst Our War, the series marking the ten-year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, narrated by Shaun Dooley, won the Best Factual Series category.

Have a look at Jennifer’s reaction on the night:

 

Executive producer Jeff Pope‘s Appropriate Adults, the controversial drama about serial killer Fred West, came away with three awards.

Congratulations to all UA clients with a piece of the silverware!

BAFTA VIDEO GAME AWARDS 2012

I have to admit that I am not one of the millions of people who own a video game. My experience hit a brick wall when Star Wars appeared on those pub tables and I was pushed into a corner by my over-enthusiastic male friends.

However, I have had to abandon my stereotypical view of a gamer – it’s not a lone teenage boy closeted in his bedroom at all, but a 37 year old man or woman, half of whom play on mobile devices. In America, 72% of households play computer or video games and the average age of the most frequent game purchaser is a mature, responsible 41 years old.

I was so wrong!

Reflecting this massively growing industry, that bastion of British culture BAFTA has even become involved. I discovered that the organisation has been recognising achievement in interactive and video gaming since as early as 1998 and in 2006 BAFTA announced its decision to give video games equal status with film and television.

This evening sees the annual BAFTA Video Games Awards ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane and the event will be streamed live on the BAFTA website. There are 18 categories ranging from Best Game to Best Mobile and Handheld.

Apparently this year’s Awards are a showdown between Batman: Arkham City and LA Noire (a neo noire crime video game whatever that is), with 8 nominations each.

I think my cultural development has been sadly lacking and maybe I need to put a better-late-than-never New Year’s Resolution in place – GET INTO GAMING ASAP.

Any advice for the woeful amateur gratefully received.

“THE DIVINELY GIFTED OLIVIA COLMAN”

Like many of you, I’m sure, I was completely sucked into the BAFTAs last night. There was something about Stephen Fry’s urbane charm that kept me in my seat.

And my fingers were tightly crossed for Eddie Redmayne, nominated for the Rising Star Award. Eddie missed out to Adam Deacon but was in glittering company at the Royal Opera House.

It was an amazing night for another UA client – Olivia Colman. She wasn’t nominated for an award, but Paddy Considine and Diarmid Scrimshaw won the Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer/Director/Producer for Tyrannosaur.

Olivia stars in the film as middle-class charity shop volunteer Hannah who forms a friendship with  angry, self-destructive loner Joseph, played by Peter Mullan. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret with devastating consequences for both of them.

On collecting his award, Paddy Considine described Olivia as “irrepressible and brilliant”.

That was not the only accolade for Olivia on the night.

Meryl Street won the Award for Best Actress for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady and in her acceptance speech she paid tribute to her fellow actor “the divinely gifted Olivia Colman” who played her daughter Carol in the film.

Praise indeed and richly deserved by a truly outstanding talent.

BAFTA NOMINATIONS

Yesterday I was writing about the Golden Globes in the US, today I’m much closer to home with the news that the BAFTA nominations are out.

My colleague Jess Alford sent an email at about 8am this morning with the full list – I’ll put together the UA clients who have been nominated when I’ve had a chance to plough through it properly.

In the meantime, I can tell you that Eddie Redmayne has been shortlisted for the Orange Rising Star Award.

I talked about Eddie after seeing MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Not only has Eddie shone in that film; he can currently be seen on the stage playing the title role in Michael Grandage’s sell-out production of RICHARD II at the Donmar Warehouse (The Independent said A thrilling lead role… Eddie Redmayne’s brilliant Richard); he also plays Steven Wraysford in the upcoming adaptation of the Sebastian Faulks’ novel BIRDSONG which starts on BBC1 at 9pm this Sunday; and if that wasn’t enough, he is set to play Marius in Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of LES MISERABLES.

A rising star indeed, and you can vote for Eddie here.

2011 BAFTA CHILDREN’S AWARDS

Sunday saw the annual British Academy Children’s Awards and as usual, United Agents’ clients were in the winners’ enclosure …

Tim Corrie’s client Paul Seed directed Just William for CBBC which received three nominations: Best Drama, Best Performer and Best Writer, and won the 2011 British Academy Children’s Award for Best Drama.

The series focuses on the hillarious antics of a rebellious schoolboy, based on the classic novels by Richmal Crompton, first published in 1922 and still going strong today.

Congratulations to Paul!

And yet again, Jim Howick was on the podium to pick up an award for Horrible Histories. Last year he won Best Performer, this year, Horrible Histories won Best Comedy for the second year running.

You can watch Jim in action at the ceremony here.