UK celebrates in style as Brits win big at 87th Academy Awards

UK film is celebrating another big night at the industry’s most prestigious award ceremony, with many of the 40 UK Oscar nominees triumphing at last night’s 87th Academy Awards.

Perhaps the most high profile UK winner was actor Eddie Redmayne, who followed his BAFTA triumph by picking up the Oscar for Best Lead Actor for his performance in UK made Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything (Working Title).

But it was not just British acting talent being celebrated on the night, with UK below the line talent also triumphing. Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier were awarded the Oscar for Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling for their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight), while Set Decorator Anna Pinnock was also rewarded for her work on the production, picking up the Oscar for Achievement in Production Design alongside Production Designer Adam Stockhausen.

Elsewhere, US-based Brit Ben Wilkins won the Oscar for Achievement in Sound Mixing for his work on Whiplash (Blumhouse/Right of Way) alongside Craig Mann and Thomas Curley.

There were further wins for British films including the critically acclaimed The Imitation Game (Black Bear Pictures), which won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and The Phone Call (RSA Films), which won Best Live Action Short Film, demonstrating the depth of filmmaking talent evident throughout the diverse range of production in the UK.

The UK’s world-class visual effects industry also continued its award-winning streak, with Double Negative’s UK VFX supervisors Paul Franklin and Andy Lockley taking home the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects for their work on Interstellar (Paramount). The UK’s VFX houses have led the way in innovation in recent times, reflected by UK based teams having won the Visual Effects Oscar three times in the last five years.

A gathering of GREAT British talent

The British Film Commission EVP of US Production Kattie Kotok with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dick Pope

In anticipation of the big night, the British Film Commission partnered with the GREAT campaign to host the annual GREAT British Film Reception at LA’s The London Hotel on Friday. The event was attended by a host of UK nominees, including cinematographers Roger Deakins and Dick Pope, nominated for their work on Unbroken (3 Arts Entertainment) and Mr Turner (Film4) respectively, writer Hugo Guinness, nominated with Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, director and producer of nominated feature documentary, Virunga (Grain Media/Violet Films) and with eventual winners Anna Pinnock, Ben Wilkins, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier, Mat Kirkby and James Lucas.

British Consul General Chris O’ Connor was also on hand to sum up the huge impact UK production has had on the wider filmmaking industry: “We have two made-in-Britain films up for best picture; two actors who are up for best actor who are playing British geniuses; we’ve got three British actresses up for lead actress; and there’s actually one category — production design — where we have Brits in all five teams up for awards – it’s extraordinary”.

With UK talent having swept the boards at many of award season’s biggest nights, and major UK produced releases this year including Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel), Pan (Warner Bros.) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm), it’s hard to disagree.