Melvyn Bragg, creator and presenter of The South Bank Show Awards said: "An extraordinary roll call in achievement across the spectrum in the arts for the 2008 South Bank Show Awards. Whatever else is happening, the arts in this country are still at full throttle."
It has been a great year for debut contributions in the arts – The South Bank Show Awards has honoured Catherine O’Flynn with a nomination in the Literature category for her first novel ‘What Was Lost’, Gavin and Stacey’s new talented writing duo James Corden and Ruth Jones are up for the Comedy Award and Damon Albarn’s first outing with the innovative ‘Monkey: Journey To the West’ receives a nomination in the Opera category. Albarn will compete with the Royal Opera House’s ‘La Fille du Régiment’ and the ENO’s stylishly presented production of ‘The Turn of the Screw’.
This year has also seen some big openings in the classical music scene - London’s Royal Festival Hall reopened on 11 June 2007 and Julian Anderson’s 15-minute ‘Alleluia’ for chorus and orchestra was the first piece to be performed in the glittering opening Gala Concert. Julian Anderson has been nominated for the South Bank Show Award for Classical Music. Anderson is joined in the category by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group at the Proms and the Barbican’s ‘Traced Overhead: The Musical World of Thomas Adès’, celebrating the music and influences of young British composer Thomas Adès.
With their film ‘Hot Fuzz’, the comic genius of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost took the box office by storm in February 2007. ‘Hot Fuzz’ is nominated alongside Alan Carr Tooth Fairy Live and BBC Three’s Gavin and Stacey for the Comedy Award.
The nominees in the category of Film portray three very different images of ‘coming of age’ in three very different environments in Britain. We look first to 1973 and the hard-hitting tale of the rise of the now-legendary Joy Division in their native Manchester. ‘Control’ is the debut feature film from director Anton Corbijn and stars up and coming talent Sam Riley as the David Bowie-inspired, Sex Pixtols-infatuated lead singer Ian Curtis. On to 1983 and with the coming of age tale that is ‘This is England’, director Shane Meadows brings us a very real picture of growing up in a small coastal town in 1980’s Britain and the importance of a sense of belonging in adolescence.
The final nomination in Film goes back to 1935 and the story of a young girl who irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. ‘Atonement’ stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy and is Joe Wright’s beautiful screen adaptation of Ian McEwan’s bestselling 2002 novel.
In dance, young choreographer Hofesh Schector’s truly extraordinary ‘In Your Rooms’ is up against the Wheeldon Company’s premiere season. The final nomination in the category is for the Royal Ballet’s dazzling performance of ‘Jewels’.
Heavy hitting productions in British Theatre and TV Drama have been recognised in 2008, with nominations for the National Theatre’s ‘Saint Joan’ led by Anne-Marie Duff in the role of Joan; ‘Macbeth’ starring Patrick Stewart and the spectacular performance installation ‘The Masque of Red Death’ at the Battersea Arts Centre. Channel 4’s explosive broadcast of the television film ‘The Mark of Cain’ – a powerful tale by Tony Marchant that follows three young men on their first tour of duty in Iraq – is one of three television dramas credited with a nomination this year. Also in the category is BBC One’s Doctor Who and the compelling one-off Channel 4 drama Boy A, starring talented newcomer Andrew Garfield.
Winners in all categories, as well as those of The South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement and The Times Breakthrough Award, will be announced at The South Bank Show Awards Ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel, on 29 January 2008.
The Awards Show is broadcast on ITV Sunday 3 February 2008.
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