Now that BIFA had found its natural home, with it remaining at the Hammersmith Palais for a third year, it was time for it to find its natural host and 2005 saw James ‘Jimmy’ Nesbitt (a previous winner in 2002) compère the evening for the first time, entering the stage with an instantly-endearing song-and-dance routine.
The year’s jury was chaired by Michael Kuhn and included names such as Uberto Pasolini, Hugh Hudson, Alan Cumming, Beeban Kidron, and Ashley Walters.
After the previous year’s whitewash, the Awards were more evenly distributed in another strong year for British independent film, but it was The Constant Gardener that took away the Award for Best Film, along with the two main acting Awards for Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Other notable winners included the successful horror film The Descent, with its director Neil Marshall winning the Award for Best Director, and The Liberace of Baghdad, which won Best Documentary.
Special Awards for the evening went to Tilda Swinton (Richard Harris Award), Keira Knightley (Variety Personality of the Year), and Sandy Lieberson (Special Jury Prize).
The Awards also saw Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank as guest DJ for the after-party for the first of many years.
The Hammersmith Palais has long been one of the country's most legendary venues playing host to all the most important music genres that swept the UK over the last 100 years. Originally christened the Palais de Danse, it was launched in 1919 to introduce Europe to jazz. It quickly shot to fame for its stylish décor, giant ballroom and live bands- qualities that have stayed consistently true to the venue today. In the 1920's it was all about the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, until swing and be-bop took over in the 1940's and 50's. By the 1970's The Hammersmith Palais had become a hotbed for punk rock, Ska and reggae. The Clash named one of their most famous songs after the venue: "(White Man) in the Hammersmith Palais". This cult record has since been revered by all sorts of stars including the notorious Steve Jack Ass. The 80's and 90's saw all the biggest British bands headline with unforgettable appearances from the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Police, U2, Primal Scream, Oasis, Ian Brown and more. By 2000 the Palais reverted back to being a dance venue shortly after Slipknot tried setting fire to the place. They now host some of the most popular nights in clubland like School Disco. 2003 sees the Hammersmith Palais fuse dance with rock and a programme of events which offer both forms of music, from past attractions such as Roni Size, to forthcoming live rock act, Grinspoon and this years NME awards. By promoting the two biggest genres of the moment the Palais protects its place in the history books as one of the UK's most important venues.