Jude Hill revealed how he felt a connection to Sir Kenneth Branagh’s script for Belfast “as I read the first words”.
The 11-year-old rising star was speaking on the red carpet at this year’s British Independent Film Awards (Bifa).
Last night’s ceremony, held in London and hosted by Asim Chaudhry, saw Branagh’s film Belfast — based on his childhood in Northern Ireland — leading the nominations.
Also racking up 11 nominations was Boiling Point, which sees This Is England and Line of Duty star Stephen Graham playing a chef under pressure.
Belfast’s nominations included Caitriona Balfe being nominated for best actress, Dame Judi Dench nominated for best supporting actress, Ciaran Hinds nominated for best supporting actor and star Hill nominated for breakthrough performance.
Unfortunately, the young actor lost out to Nell Barlow for her performance in Sweetheart.
Hill said of working on Sir Kenneth Branagh’s film: “Everyone was so nice and to have a film about a place so close to me was just amazing. And I connected with the script as soon as I read the first words...”.
Films After Love, Censor and The Souvenir Part II all scored nine nominations each.
Joanna Scanlan won the best actress award at the awards — the fourth award for the film After Love. The actress saw off competition from Caitriona Balfe in Belfast, Claire Rushbrook in Ali & Ava and Ruth Wilson for True Things.
Scanlan (60) dedicated her award to the mother of director Aleem Khan. She said: "I want to thank Aleem's mum, I met her and she loaned me her clothes, she gave me a lesson in humility, a lesson in love. This is a story of love and what happens when you lose it, the only way to learn to love again is to go through a lot of stuff.”
Scanlan said of After Love: “It’s such an original film, it tells a story that is really, I don’t think we’ve ever seen before or heard before, it’s very beautiful and it’s come out of a kind of spirit of ingenuity, authenticity and passion and telling a story about modern Britain which I’m very proud to be part of.”
Asked about returning to events in real life, Scanlan said: “I haven’t got used to it.
"I went to an event on Friday and that was the first one I’ve been to, donning my Spanx, after two years.
"I think it feels nerve-wracking slightly because we’re not used to being back in human contact.
“At the same time there’s no substitute so this is the right place, let’s hope it’s the right time.”
Adeel Akhtar emerged victorious for best actor, beating James Norton, Stephen Graham, Riz Ahmed and Jude Law.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw presented the recycled plastic award to Akhtar (41), who said he was "nervous" but wanted to thank the "cast and crew" of the film Ali & Ava.
The award was the first of the night for Ali & Ava.
The Night Of and Sound Of Metal star Riz Ahmed was honoured with The Richard Harris Award at the ceremony.
The award, which honours an actor for their significant contribution to British film throughout their career, has previously been awarded to Dame Judi Dench, Dame Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and more.
Presenting the award, Yaan Demange said: "He’s championed the often ignored view...the industry didn’t make room for Riz, he carved out his own space.”