Timothy Spall Named Best Actor in J.M.W. Turner Biopic

First out of the gate in this year’s movie awards race, the New York Film Critics Circle  announced its winners this week. Among the victors, Timothy Spall, the British actor perhaps best known in the US for his appearances in the Harry Potter film series, took the best actor prize for playing the troubled painter J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner. The New York film critics’ honor is the latest accolade for Spall’s performance in the Mike Leigh–helmed biopic centered on the final 25 years in the life of Turner (1875–1885), the revolutionary painter renowned for his dramatic landscapes and seascapes.

The character was a challenging but poignant role for Spall, who, in 1996 was diagnosed with leukemia, which is currently in remission. He has already received international acclaim for his Turner portrayal, having garnered the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Among the other 2014 New York Film Critics Circle winners are Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night; Wes Anderson, for his Grand Budapest Hotel screenplay; and Richard Linklater, best director for Boyhood, which was also named the year’s best picture.

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