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Star simply the best - in a field of, er, one

1 November 2007   |   Written by Tim Cornwell

THE sultry English star Sophia Myles was named best film actress of the year by BAFTA Scotland yesterday – because no-one else was in the running.

Myles, the former girlfriend of Dr Who star David Tennant, starred opposite Jamie Bell in Hallam Foe, which was largely filmed in Edinburgh.

BAFTA Scotland revealed its nominations for the film and television awards yesterday, ahead of the ceremony on 18 November. Hallam Foe was nominated for best film, along with just two others, The Last King of Scotland and the Gaelic film Seachd, The Inaccessible Pinnacle.

The male stars of all three – Bell, James McAvoy and Aonghas Padraig Caimbeul – were the best-actor nominees. But the lack of female nominees may be seen by critics as further evidence that Scotland’s film industry is too small to carry its own annual awards.

The television presenter Lorraine Kelly, who will host the awards, and the BAFTA Scotland director Alison Forsyth said it was a wake-up call for the industry to create better female parts. It was “really hard” for women to find roles, let alone get a BAFTA nomination, said Ms Kelly.

One other actress’s name was put forward. Angela Coates played an overweight, struggling actress in the “zero budget” film My Life as a Bus Stop. But Ms Forsyth said the jury felt her role was not up to the quality “kite mark” for nomination.

The film’s co-director, Wilma Finnigan, said yesterday she was “upset and disappointed”. She added: “Angela was brilliant. During the Edinburgh International Film Festival, lots of film-makers came up and asked for her telephone number.”

Myles delivered a strong performance in Hallam Foe as an object of dark desire. Ms Forsyth said it was an “unusual” result. “What we have is one winner. It’s very unusual, but that’s what we have. The jury were unanimous about this. We’re a small country, there are ups and downs, some years fat, some years leaner.”

She pointed to the strong television nominations. Irvine Welsh’s rough-edged Wedding Belles is in the running for best TV drama, up against the BBC 4 show Consenting Adults, about the Wolfenden Committee, which recommended decriminalising homosexuality.

Black Watch – A Soldier’s Story, aired with a BBC2 showing of the play Black Watch, is up for best documentary. The BBC has swept the board in TV, with 17 nominations. STV has two, with Rebus up for best drama and Scotland Today’s Election Special for best news and current affairs.