News - The South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Melvyn Bragg

Nominations for this year's South Bank Sky Arts Awards were announced earlier this week. Here's the list...


Press Release

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards returns on 18th July in style for 2021, marking 25 years as 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.

Making a spectacular return for this anniversary year, the Awards will be the first in-person event to take place at The Savoy since government restrictions have eased. The ceremony will take place on Sunday 18th July at The Savoy and will air on Thursday 22nd July at 9pm on Sky Arts, the UK’s only free-to-air TV channel dedicated to arts, music and culture.

Presented and edited by Melvyn Bragg, the cream of British talent form a dazzling and diverse list of nominees for this year, with high calibre talent battling it out in a particularly strong Pop category, which includes nominations for Dua Lipa, J Hus and SAULT. The TV Drama category this year sees nominations for three outstanding series; RTS-winning, BAFTA-nominated BBC drama I May Destroy You, BAFTA-nominated anthology series Small Axe and BBC Two drama Industry.

Melvyn Bragg said: "This is the 25th anniversary of the Awards and, with luck, we are back to a huge gathering of some of the finest artists across the board in the United Kingdom. This is an Awards show which also includes performances of the highest quality – and is altogether a positive and happy statement of the Arts in Britain today."

Phillip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, Sky, said: “After a year like no other where performers and artists across all the genres have found new and innovative ways of working it’s with a real sense of excitement and pride that we welcome them back to celebrate all their amazing achievements in 2020. And in this its 25th year the South Bank Sky Awards promises to be even more special.”

This year there are two additional awards – The Sky Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts During The Pandemic, awarded to both an institution and an individual, to acknowledge their outstanding work during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Winners of this category will be announced on the night.

Leading the way in the Comedy category with two nominations is Channel 4 with quirky sitcom Home and semi-autobiographical series Feel Good, alongside the BBC’s hilarious sitcom from the Horrible Histories team, Ghosts. Nominations for Theatre include the Kiln Theatre’s Pass Over, the Donmar Warehouse’s Blindness and the Harold Pinter Theatre and BBC Four collaboration, Uncle Vanya.

Fighting it out in the hotly contested Film category is Sarah Gavron’s coming of age drama Rocks, alongside Rose Glass’ chilling debut film Saint Maud and Remi Weekes’ horror thriller His House. Opera North and Scottish Opera battle it out in the Opera category with Street Scene and Nixon In China respectively, with VOPERA also being nominated for L’enfant et les sortil├Ęges.

Literature category nominations this year include Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize-winning and New York Times Bestseller, Shuggie Bain, alongside Maggie O’Farrell’s winner of The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 novel, Hamnetand Paul Mendez’s semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel, Rainbow Milk. Rounding out the Visual Art category are Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin from Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol, Hold Still from the National Portrait Gallery and unique, ground-breaking exhibition Cold War Steve Meets the Outside World.

Leaping into the Dance category, nominations include The Royal Ballet’s first main-stage work of Valentino Zucchetti's Scherzo, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s first one-act ballet commissioned and presented by Carlos Acosta, Lazuli Sky,and Final Edition, the farewell performance from the Richard Alston Dance Company. Classical Music nominations include Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Petrenko's Mahler I & II, The Lockdown Commissions Lawrence Power and Pavel Kolesnikov’s and Samson Tsoy’s Second Ragged Music Festival at the Ragged School Museum.

The Times Breakthrough Award shines a spotlight on up-and-coming talent in the British Arts; previous notable winners include Amma Asante, Billie Piper and Nubya Garcia. Nominations for this popular category will be announced in due course.

The pinnacle of the event is the Outstanding Achievement Award, which acknowledges the remarkable contribution an artist has made throughout their career to date. Previous winners of this award include Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sylvie Guillem, Tracey Emin, Judi Dench, J.K. Rowling, Howard Pinter, Simon Rattle, Eddie Izzard, and Benedict Cumberbatch. This year’s winner will be revealed during the ceremony.

Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, The South Bank Sky Arts Awards was still able to go ahead in December 2020, putting on a virtual ceremony that provided its deserving winners with an event no less celebratory than in previous years. Winners for 2020 included Sir Ian McKellen for Outstanding Achievement Award, and The Times Breakthrough Award was awarded to Waad al-Kateab, the Syrian journalist, filmmaker and activist whose critically-acclaimed documentary For Sama won two BAFTAs and an Academy Award. Other winners included Fleabag for Comedy, Chernobyl for TV Drama and music artist Dave.

THE SOUTH BANK SKY ARTS AWARDS AIRS ON SKY ARTS ON THURSDAY 22nd JULY AT 9PM


FULL LIST OF NOMINEES [and our own Mystic Mug, Susan Omand's, predictions [guesses - Ed] for the winners in each category]


VISUAL ART

Denzil Forrester: Itchin & Scratchin - Nottingham Contemporary & Spike Island, Bristol
** WILL WIN ** Hold Still - National Portrait Gallery
Cold War Steve Meets The Outside World - Medway / Bournemouth / Liverpool / Coventry


LITERATURE

** WILL WIN ** Shuggie Bain - Douglas Stuart
Hamnet - Maggie O’Farrell
Rainbow Milk - Paul Mendez


POP

Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
** WILL WIN ** J Hus - Big Conspiracy
SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)


THEATRE

Pass Over - Kiln Theatre
** WILL WIN ** Uncle Vanya (2020 Film) - Harold Pinter Theatre / BBC Four
Blindness - Donmar Warehouse


TV DRAMA

** WILL WIN ** I May Destroy You - BBC One / HBO
Small Axe - BBC One
Industry – Bad Wolf/ BBC / HBO




Note - Nominations for the OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, TIMES BREAKTHROUGH AWARD and the GROUP/INSTITUTION and INDIVIDUAL SKY ARTS AWARD FOR INNOVATION IN THE ARTS DURING THE PANDEMIC are still to be announced

Image & info - Sky Arts