The judges have spent hours poring over entries, the shortlist has been drawn up, the red carpet is ready and champagne on ice – and this week the winners of Scotland’s Cultural Oscars will finally be revealed.
Nearly 200 guests will gather for a lavish ceremony to celebrate the inaugural Sunday Herald Culture Awards on Thursday evening in Glasgow, including nominees, judges, sponsors and representatives of this newspaper.
The event will be hosted by broadcaster Janice Forsyth, while Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism & External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP will also be there.
A total of 120 award entries were received across 11 categories, which were launched to celebrate diverse Scotland’s cultural talent, ranging from actors and dancers to authors and poets. The very best of Scottish culture, as well as the up and coming artists and groups, will be recognised.
Some of the nation’s biggest names including actors James McAvoy, Kate Dickie, Alan Cumming and Maureen Beattie have been shortlisted.
Those in the running also include Sam Heughan, who rose to fame as Jamie Fraser in cult hit Outlander, and Rose Leslie, best known for her roles as Gwen Dawson in Downton Abbey and Ygritte in Game of Thrones.
Liz Lochhead, formerly Scotland’s national poet, and novelist Janice Galloway are finalists in the Author of the Year category while Musical Group of the Year has a diverse range of finalists including Scottish Opera and the folk band Shooglenifty.
Visual artist Ellie Harrison, who sparked controversy earlier this year with her year-long project on the Glasgow effect is also a finalist along with Scottish Ballet’s principle dancers Sophie Martin and Christopher Harrison, who are nominated in the Best Dance Performer category. Scottish Ballet has also scooped three of the four nominations in the Live Performance of the Year category.
Celtic Connections and the Belladrum Festival, held near Inverness, are among finalists for the Cultural Event of the Year award.
The winners will be announced at the ceremony at the Glasgow venue SWG3, with an additional Judges’ Choice award also to be announced at the award ceremony.
The judging panel included author and playwright Alan Bissett, television and stage actor David Hayman, singer-songwriter Roddy Woomble, journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart, leading graphic designer and creative director at Graven, Janice Kirkpatrick OBE, and Pauline Miller Judd, dean of Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries.
Sunday Herald editor Neil Mackay, chairman of the judging panel said: “The Sunday Herald has supported and championed Scottish culture since our inception in 1999. After covering the work of our incredible authors, actors, performers and events taking place in Scotland every week, the Sunday Herald Culture Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the incredible homegrown talent this nation offers to the world.
“I’m grateful to everyone who has helped so far in establishing these awards, and look forward to unveiling the winners on Thursday night from such a brilliant shortlist and showcasing their amazing work once again.”
Adam Cameron, Business Manager, Cameron Presentations, said: We are all extremely excited for the awards next Thursday, it will be a great evening bringing together all that is great about Scottish culture. We are delighted to be supporting the Best Performing Arts Venue, spaces that help to bring performances to life. Best of luck to all of this year’s finalists, see you on the night.
Pauline Miller Judd, Dean, School of Arts and Creative Industries, said: “As the ceremony nears, we are excited to be part of these inaugural awards which recognise the breadth and depth of talent in Scotland. I am looking forward to meeting the finalists, particularly in the Cultural Event of the Year award, and I am sure it will be an exciting and rewarding night for everyone involved.”
Peter Griffiths, CalMac’s Marketing Manager, said: The “Best Live Performance” category showcases a wealth of cultural talent from contemporary displays to the more well known. It’s been a pleasure being a part of this and we are excited for the winners to be revealed. We wish all the finalists the best of luck.