Byline: LOUISE JURY
KATE WINSLET, Sally Hawkins and Slumdog Millionaire's Danny Boyle are among the stars battling for honours at this year's Evening Standard British Film Awards.
In a great year for UK cinema, the Standard recognises small-scale gems alongside movies already lauded in this awards season.
Winslet, 33, and Hawkins, 32, will be hoping to repeat victories enjoyed at Sunday's Golden Globes in Los Angeles.
And Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire the Globes' biggest winner with four prizes gets another three chances for honour in our shortlist, announced today.
Boyle, who made his name with Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, is up for best director. Designer Mark Digby is listed for technical achievement for capturing the vibrancy of India, and Slumdog star, Harrow 18-year-old Dev Patel, is shortlisted as most promising newcomer.
The awards the only ones dedicated to British and Irish talent and decided by a panel of critics also throw the spotlight on movies snubbed in America.
Securing three nods apiece are Hunger, the story of IRA prisoner Bobby Sands by Turner Prize winner Steve McQueen; Garage, a low-budget tragicomedy; and Frost/Nixon, the bigscreen adaptation of the Donmar Warehouse play.
The Reader's success extends beyond recognition for its star Winslet, who plays a former concentration camp guard. Stephen Daldry, the former Royal Court chief who made his film debut with Billy Elliot, is in the running for best director, and its cinematographer Roger Deakins is up for technical achievement.
Winslet's success is confirmed with a shortlisting for her performance in Revolutionary Road, a story of an unhappy marriage. It was directed by her real-life husband, Sam Mendes, with Leonardo DiCaprio co-starring.
Her rivals for best actress are Tilda Swinton, 48, as an alcoholic kidnapper in Julia, and Samantha Morton, 31, as Marilyn Monroe in Mister Lonely. Best actor will be fought out by Michael Sheen, 39, reprising his theatrical turn as broadcaster David Frost in Frost/ Nixon; Hunger's leading man Michael Fassbender, 31; and Pat Shortt, 42, who plays a petrol pump attendant in Garage.
Following Daldry, Mendes and other theatre talents who have made the transition to film, is Martin McDonagh, a former winner of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. He is in the running for best screenplay for In Bruges and takes on Peter Morgan, who adapted his play Frost/Nixon for the cinema, and Irish scriptwriter Mark O'Halloran (Garage). …