"Slumdog" and "Hunger" sweep British film awards

LONDON (Reuters) - Director Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” about a poor Indian boy who gets a shot at winning millions in a television game show, swept the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday with three prizes.

Director Danny Boyle (R) speaks beside actor Dev Patel during the " Slumdog Millionaire" news conference at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival September 8, 2008. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

“Hunger,” artist Steve McQueen’s widely acclaimed directorial debut, also picked up three awards, followed by Mike Leigh’s uncharacteristically upbeat “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which took both the best supporting actor and actress prizes.

Slumdog Millionaire won the best British independent film, best director and most promising newcomer categories, the latter going to young actor Dev Patel who played the lead role of Jamal.

The movie has already won rave reviews at film festivals and generated early Oscars buzz.

Also with three awards was Hunger, a hard-hitting film about the final days of IRA prisoner and hunger striker Bobby Sands in 1981.

Sands was played by Michael Fassbender, who won the best actor category, while McQueen was awarded the Douglas Hickox prize for best debut director and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt was honoured for best technical achievement.

Best actress went to Vera Farmiga in “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” and the best screenplay award was won by Martin McDonagh for “In Bruges.”

Alexis Zegerman was named best supporting actress for Happy-Go-Lucky, and Eddie Marsan won the best supporting actor prize for the same film.

“The Escapist” won the best achievement in production award, “Man on Wire” won best documentary, “Soft” won best British short film, and best foreign film went to “Waltz With Bashir,” Ari Folman’s haunting Middle East war animation.

Actor David Thewlis was honoured with the Richard Harris award for outstanding contribution to British film, and Michael Sheen won the Variety award.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Charles Dick)

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