Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes win film honours

Ralph Fiennes and Kenneth Branagh Ralph Fiennes (left) and Kenneth Branagh (right) have made more than 80 films between them

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Actors Kenneth Branagh and Ralph Fiennes are to receive major prizes at the British Independent Film Awards.

Fiennes, who was Oscar nominated for both The English Patient and Schindler's List, will receive the Richard Harris award for outstanding contribution to film by an actor.

Branagh will receive the Variety Award, for helping to "focus the international spotlight on the UK".

The ceremony will take place in London on 4 December.

It will be hosted by Irish actor Chris O'Dowd, star of the IT Crowd, who won rave reviews for his role in Hollywood comedy Bridesmaids earlier this year.

The main contenders at this year's ceremony are Shame, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Tyrannosaur - all of which have seven nominations.

All three are up for the best British independent film prize, alongside Formula 1 documentary Senna and literary adaptation We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Branagh will interrupt filming on the third series of Wallander to pick up his prize, previously awarded to Sir Michael Caine and JK Rowling among others.

The honour comes at the end of a successful year for the actor, who directed Hollywood superhero blockbuster Thor and starred as Laurence Olivier in the film My Week With Marilyn.

Across his film career, he has been associated with Shakespearean adaptations, bringing works including Hamlet, Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing to the big screen.

Fiennes recently adapted Coriolanus for the cinema, marking his debut as a director.

He has been cast as the villain in the new James Bond film, Skyfall, which is currently shooting with director Sam Mendes.

Fiennes' film career also includes roles in The Constant Gardner, The Reader, In Bruges and as Lord Voldermort in the Harry Potter series.

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