Knightley for Independent Film Award

Keira Knightley is to receive a top honour at the British Independent Film Awards.

Keira Knightley is to receive a top honour at the British Independent Film Awards.

The 20-year-old actress will be named UK Personality of the Year at the prize ceremony.

The star of Pride and Prejudice was chosen by Hollywood bible Variety.

“There’s no brighter star in the world today than actress Keira Knightley, who’s gone in a few short years from breakout success in Bend It Like Beckham to blockbuster hits like King Arthur, Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually,” said Variety’s executive editor Stephen Gaydos.

“This year Knightley has demonstrated an impressive range, getting gritty in Domino, dark in The Jacket and solidifying her leading lady status in the critically-acclaimed Pride and Prejudice.”

Knightley has already been tipped for an Oscar nomination for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the Jane Austen adaptation.

She will pick up her award at the ceremony in London on November 30.

The nominations for the BIFAs were announced today.

Former Coronation Street actress Thelma Barlow has been nominated for the most promising newcomer award – in her seventies.

Barlow played Corrie’s Mavis Riley in the soap for 26 years before landing a role in Victoria Wood sitcom Dinner Ladies.

But she has made the most promising newcomer category for her performance in Mrs Henderson Presents, her first feature film.

The actress appears in the comedy about a society lady (Dame Judi Dench) who buys Soho’s Windmill Theatre and brings in the punters by staging nude revues.

Barlow – who does not like to divulge her age but is thought to be in her early 70s – plays Mrs Henderson’s upper crust friend Lady Conway.

Her competition for the award includes 11-year-old Alexander Nathan Etel, star of the Danny Boyle film Millions.

An awards spokesman said: “It shows you are never too old or too young to get a break in the business.”

Mrs Henderson Presents has eight nominations, including best actress for Judi Dench and best actor for Bob Hoskins.

The Constant Gardener, the thriller starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, has also been nominated in eight categories.

Other films in the running include the comedy Kinky Boots, Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock And Bull Story, and The Libertine, starring Johnny Depp.

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