Jack Lowden named best actor by BAFTA Scotland

Jack Lowden as Vaughn in Calibre. Picture courtesy of Calibre Films Ltd
Jack Lowden as Vaughn in Calibre. Picture courtesy of Calibre Films Ltd

Borders actor Jack Lowden says being named best film actor at the Scottish BAFTAs last week was “insane”.

The former Earlston High School pupil picked up the honour for his role as Vaughn in Highlands-set thriller Calibre at the British Academy Scotland Awards in Glasgow on Friday.

Written and directed by Matt Palmer, the Netflix feature film impressed critics when it premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, winning the Michael Powell Award for best British feature.

Lowden was presented with the coveted best actor award by Avengers and Dr Who star Karan Gillan at the glamourous red-carpet ceremony in Glasgow’s Radisson Blu Hotel, beating two of his co-stars to the accolade.

Thanking BAFTA and BAFTA Scotland for the award, the 28-year-old, who grew up in Oxton, said the film was made by people with a genuine love of the craft.

“This is a hell of a film to get made,” he said. “It’s a film that I don’t think is trying to change the world, it’s a film that just likes being a film.”

Paying tribute to his co-stars and fellow nominees, Tony Curran and Martin McCann, Lowden said: “Tony Curran is one of my favourite actors. To work with you was incredible, to get to know you was amazing.

“Martin McCann shot me in a face in a film called 71. Those that have seen this film will know that this was an elaborate ruse to get my own back and shoot him.

“There were many days when this was very, very difficult. A large part of what I do in this film is a product of many times me tapping on Martin Curran’s door, going in his trailer and saying ‘I don’t know what to do Martin’.

“A large part of what I do in this film is a product of the grace and humility and kindness and brilliance of, in my opinion, one of the greatest actors of his generation.”

Born in Essex but brought up in Oxton, a teenage Lowden performed in local shows at Earlston High and with the Galashiels Operatic Society, which he credits with setting him on the path to roles in major motion pictures.

“One of the main things that helped me - and basically where I learned to act - was in amateur operatics in the Borders,” he said.

His film credits include Collins in 2017 war epic Dunkirk, golf pioneer Tommy Morris in Tommy’s Honour and Lord Darnley in Mary Queen of Scots.

Speaking after the ceremony, Lowden added: “It’s ridiculous to win it, with the other two guys that were nominated.

“It’s sort of insane that the three of us were nominated. What is lovely is that the film has won something.”

Hosted by Edith Bowman, the awards celebrated the very best in film, television and games produced over the last year in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented Alan Cumming with the award for outstanding contribution to film and television, with production designer Pat Campbell and producer Paddy Higson also receiving special recognition awards.

Other winners were: Actor television, Chris Reilly, The Last Post; Actress film, Shauna MacDonald, White Chamber; Actress Television, Elaine C Smith, Two Doors Down; Animation, Widdershins; Director factual, John Maclaverty, Scotland 78: A Love Story; Director fiction, Armando Iannuccu, The Death of Stalin; Entertainment, Armchair detectives; Feature film, Nae Pasaran; Features and factual series, Violent men: behind bars; Game, The secret experiment; Short film, My loneliness is killing me; Documentary, Scotland 78: A love story; Specialist factual, Rupert Everett: Born to be wilde; Television scripted, Scot Squad; Writer film/television, Armando Iannucci, The Death of Stalin.