Benedict Cumberbatch and Timothy Spall to compete for best actor award

Benedict Cumberbitch

Benedict Cumberbatch and Timothy Spall have been pitted against one another for the best actor gong at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.

Cumberbatch is nominated for his role as WWII code-breaker Alan Turing in the forthcoming The Imitation Game, while Spall got the nod for his portrayal of artist JMW Turner in Mike Leigh’s critically-acclaimed Mr. Turner.

’71, a kinetic thriller set amongst the chaos of the Troubles in Northern Island, picked up the highest number of nominations with nine in total.

The film’s star, former Skins actor Jack O’Connell, joins Cumberbatch and Spall on the list for best actor, alongside Brendan Gleeson for Calvary and Asa Butterfield for X+Y.

Keira Knightley, Cumberbatch’s co-star in The Imitation Game, heads up the nominations for best actress, which also feature rising stars Alicia Vikander for Testament of Youth and Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Belle.

Other notable names up for awards include X-Men’s Michael Fassbender (best supporting actor), British model Cara Delevingne (most promising newcomer) and Sherlock star Andrew Scott (best supporting actor).

Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winning director of The King’s Speech and Les Misérables, will chair the jury that decides the winners, to be announced at a ceremony in London on December 7.

Hooper commented: “It has been an extremely strong year for filmmaking here in Britain and I am looking forward to helping the very best of this year’s independent films, get the recognition they deserve.”

The 17th annual Moët British Independent Film Awards ceremony will take place on December 7 at Old Billingsgate in London. For a full list of the nominees, click here.

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