The Baftas– the British answer to the Oscars took place as usual at the Royal Opera on Sunday night. The event celebrating the best of British cinema was hosted by veteran actor Stephen Fry, who provided his usual dose of dry wit and humour.
After a brief performance by British Rock Band Kasabian, footie legend David Beckham opened the presentations looking deliciously dapper. Admittedly, he’d have done better to just stand there for us to stare at him as he can’t clearly be trusted with an auto-cue- fluffing his lines in the few seconds he was given to present the first award.
Although it was a night for celebrating Brit achievement in the arts, most of the presenters were Hollywood actors and actresses who quite frankly brought a bit of fun to the otherwise serious event. Stars including Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr, Julianne Moore, Ethan Hawke all took to the podium to present their co-stars with this year’s accolades.
In the awards stakes, there were few surprises. Eddie Redmayne took the best actor award for his performance as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, making the dream of an Oscar a near reality. The film also won outstanding British Film as well as best adapted screenplay award. Julianne Moore won best actress for her role in Still Alice. Boyhood won the award for best film, while Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress award for her role in the film. The Grand Budapest Hotel was another big winner on the night, taking the best original screenplay, best costume design, best make up and hair, best original music and best production design.
Director David Linklater was sorely missed at the event as he had to attend the Directors guilds awards in the US instead. His emotional semi reality, semi biopic film Boyhood, which took 12 years to make was a big hit on the night for its originality. The most emotional acceptance speech has to go to the cast of the movie starring Ethan Hawke. The star of the film Ellar Coltrane told how they weren’t sure how the public would receive the film. The positive response the film has gathered he said, showed that film needn’t portray dramatic story lines to be magnificent, but simple things such as the everyday life of normal people could be just as interesting- we agree.
The best speech by far goes to Bafta fellowship Award recipient Mike Leigh who had never received a single BAFTA award during his directing career spanning decades, despite being widely respected by peers. Leigh gave a colourful speech which basically concluded by telling potential sponsors who never bothered to finance his films to f*** off.
In terms of Black British contribution, Star Wars actor John Boyega made an appearance to present an award as did Cuba Gooding Jr. who proceeded to give Stephen Fry a kiss on the lips. Gugu Mbatha Raw missed out on the rising talent award and we’ve already over flogged the snobbery of Selma in any category, so let’s not go there again.
One of the highlights of the night was watching Professor Stephen Hawking come up to the podium to present an award with Felicity Jones who plays his wife in his biopic. As the cast of the film picked up the best film award, the camera turned to him for a second and it was hard not to marvel at the man whose incredible story continues to inspire millions around the world.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad night. On to the Oscars now.