Belfast Telegraph

Award-winning black actors 'leaving for US'

By Arifa Akbar

The best of black British acting talent was recognised yesterday at the Screen Nation Film and TV awards, as Naomie Harris and David Harewood won awards for their roles in smash-hit Hollywood blockbusters.

Harris, who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, scooped the best female performance accolade at the awards ceremony popularly known as the "black Baftas".

Harewood was named best male performer for his role in Blood Diamond opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

But even as the list of winners highlighted the soaring successes of many black British actors, the mood last night was not entirely celebratory. Charles Thompson, the Ghanaian producer and founder of the annual awards, warned that Britain was facing a "drain of black talent" as actors left for America after becoming disenchanted by the dearth of decent roles.

He cited a number of black actors who had left to re-start their careers in the US, including Thandie Newton, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Idris Elba.

Mr Thompson said black actors were far more prominent in Hollywood and that there was not the same opportunities in the British film industry, an aspect which this year's award winners reflected.

The ceremony also recognised the American actor, Morgan Freeman for his outstanding contribution to film and TV.

The television cook and prersenter of Ready, Steady, Cook Ainsley Harriott was also recognised at the ceremony by public votes, as was Freema Agyeman, who starred in Dr Who.

The veteran newscaster Moira Stuart won an inspiration award.

'Black Baftas': the winners

Outstanding Contribution to Film and TV Morgan Freeman

Inspiration award Moira Stuart

Male film Performance David Harewood: Blood Diamond

Female film Performance Naomie Harris: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest/ At World's End

Male TV Performance Aml Ameen: The Bill

Female Tv Performance Sharon D Clarke: Holby City

Presenting (Public vote) Ainsley Harriott

Male TV Star (Public vote) Adrian Lester: Hustle

Female TV Star (Public vote) Freema Agyeman: Dr Who

Irish Independent


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