News - South Bank Sky Arts Awards

The nominees for The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2019 were announced over the weekend. Susan Omand does her best Mystic Meg to predict the winners...

Now in its 23rd year, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards is the only Awards ceremony in the world to celebrate every genre of the Arts, including Dance, Theatre, Pop, TV Drama, Film, Classical Music, Literature, Opera, Comedy and Visual Art.

This year, in a particularly strong Comedy category, Channel 4 leads the way with two nominations in Derry Girls and Hang Ups, with BAFTA-winners Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith rounding out the list with their hallmark dark comedy, Inside No.9. There's also a very strong TV Drama category with Sky and BBC battling it out as Patrick Melrose, Killing Eve and A Very English Scandal all receiving recognition.

The Film category sees Yorgos Lanthimos’ quirky and much-lauded The Favourite as a possible favourite, alongside debutant Michael Pearce’s thriller Beast and Peter Jackson’s powerful documentary They Shall Not Grow Old. Beast has proved an excellent platform for propelling talented newcomer Jessie Buckley into the mainstream, earning her a nomination in the coveted The Times Breakthrough Award which shines a spotlight on up-and-coming talent in the British Arts. Other rising stars also nominated in the category this year include singer/songwriter Freya Ridings, former banker turned opera singer Nadine Benjamin, young author Anna-Marie Crowhurst and multi-sensory visual artist Haroon Mirza.

For the book lovers, Diana Evans (Ordinary People) and Rachel Cusk (Kudos) fly the flag for talented women in the Literature category, with Tom Rachman also nominated for The Italian Teacher and the visual art category sees a potentially hard fought battle as Grayson Perry and Tacita Dean square up to Danny Boyle.

British artist Mat Collishaw, a nominee from last year's Art category, has been commissioned to design this year’s award, which uses the motif of Nike, Goddess of Victory, aka Samothrace.

Describing the idea behind the awards design, Mat Collishaw states: “The idea is to recreate the sculpture in Carrara marble, using water and fizzy drinks bottles as my reference: the crumpled coating of discarded plastic bottles that you see at the finishing line of most marathon events. I thought the pedestrian and ubiquitous nature of these bottles was a good metaphor for the Arts, taking something from life that is very commonplace and transforming into a triumph of sorts.”

On the music side of the Awards, it's jazz vs punk vs whatever Lily Allen is doing these days for the POP category and Debussy vs Bernstein vs a Scottish Festival that for once isn't in Edinburgh.

On stage, it's Wales v England as their national opera companies go head to head in the Opera category for Rhondda Rips It Up! and Porgy and Bess respectively, with Garsington Opera also being nominated for Falstaff, while The Inheritance, Company and Sweat try to upstage each other for the Theatre Award and the dancing (you asking?) nominees throw a stunning soloist among two heavyweight ballet companies.

Zai Bennett, Director of Programmes, Sky, said,“We are honoured to be hosting the 23rd South Bank Sky Arts Awards and continuing our investment and support of the Arts in the UK. British culture is really thriving right now, and this year’s Awards nominees reflect the exceptionally gifted and diverse range of talent across the creative industries.”

The host of this year's Arwards ceremony, Melvyn Bragg, added, “This looks as if it will be a cracking Awards year: British Artists have excelled themselves.”

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards are presented on Sunday 7th July 2019 but are not on TV until Wednesday 10TH July AT 8PM so, unless you want spoilers, you may have to wait until then to see how many I get right.

FULL LIST OF NOMINEES with Susan's winners marked. 


The Inheritance - Young Vic & Noël Coward Theatre ** WILL WIN **  - profound, funny, poignant
Company - Gielgud Theatre
Sweat - Donmar Warehouse


Sons Of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile
Lily Allen - No Shame
IDLES - Joy as an Act of Resistance ** WILL WIN ** - Bristolian punk, what's not to like?


Corybantic Games – by Christopher Wheeldon, The Royal Ballet
Playlist (Track 1, 2) – by William Forsythe, English National Ballet
XENOS - Akram Khan Company ** WILL WIN ** - stunning solo performance


Rhondda Rips It Up! - Welsh National Opera
Falstaff - Garsington Opera
Porgy and Bess - English National Opera ** WILL WIN ** - "I loves you Porgy"


The Italian Teacher - Tom Rachman ** WILL WIN ** - epic tale of a life in art
Ordinary People - Diana Evans
Kudos - Rachel Cusk


Inside No. 9 - BBC Studios / BBC Two
Derry Girls - Hat Trick Productions / Channel 4 ** WILL WIN ** - actually made me laugh
Hang Ups - SLAM Films / Channel 4


The exhibitions, Landscape, Portrait, Still Life and Woman with a Red Hat - Tacita Dean
Royal Academy of Arts 250th Summer Exhibition - Co-ordinated by Grayson Perry ** WILL WIN ** - aka should win because it's Grayson Perry but won't win because it's Grayson Perry
Pages of the Sea - 14-18 NOW / Danny Boyle


They Shall Not Grow Old
The Favourite ** WILL WIN ** - because it wins sodding everything


Patrick Melrose - Little Island Productions / Two Cities Television / Sunny March / Sky Atlantic
A Very English Scandal - Blueprint Pictures / BBC One
Killing Eve - Sid Gentle Films / BBC One ** WILL WIN ** because it's freshest in everyone's minds.


City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra - Debussy Festival
John Wilson - Bernstein Centenary ** WILL WIN** because Bernstein
Cumnock Tryst


Classical Music: Alpesh Chauhan
Comedy: Jessie Cave
Dance: Joseph Sissens
Film: Jessie Buckley
Literature: Anna-Marie Crowhurst
Opera: Nadine Benjamin
Pop: Freya Ridings
Theatre: Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
TV Drama: Chance Perdomo
Visual Art: Haroon Mirza  ** WILL WIN ** art for art's sake

Image - Sky Arts 
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