Stephen Fry and strong language - beat that Oscars!
It’s that time of the year again, when the cream of the British film world pat themselves, and a few Americans, on the back at the 2015 EE (or should that be BT) BAFTA Film Awards.
Things kicked off with Kasabian playing to a confused crowd of thesps who must have wondered if they’d wandered into the BRITS by mistake. Normal service was resumed by the arrival of Stephen Fry, our convivial host who cracked some jokes, snogged some nominees and even dropped the F bomb.
The first televised award of the night was the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film presented by David Beckham. The nominees were The Theory of Everything, Pride, Under the Skin, The Imitation Game, ’71 and Paddington. Always a strange one this, both The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game were also nominated for Best Film, and The Theory of Everything’s win meant its chances of the big prize were scuppered but it was good news for Eddie Redmayne.
The Theory of Everything continued to be everywhere, as star Felicity Jones and Professor Stephen Hawking himself presented the Special Visual Effects award. The nominees were Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and Guardians of the Galaxy. Interstellar was an obvious winner and it proved to be that film’s only award but we think the remarkable work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was superior.
The Best Supporting Actor award was presented by Reese Witherspoon and whilst it was nice of Steve Carrell (Foxcatcher), Edward Norton (Birdman), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) to turn up, this was J.K. Simmons award all the way for his incredible performance in Whiplash. There's no doubt he's odds on favourite to walk away with this award at the Oscars as well.
The Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema award was presented by Julie Walters and Ralph Fiennes and went to BBC Films. To a backing track of 20th Century Boy by T-Rex, there was a montage of all the great films that the BBC has helped produce.
After that Cuba Gooding Jr turned up, kissed Stephen Fry on the lips and presented the Best Supporting Actress award. The nominees were Rene Russo (Nightcrawler), Emma Stone (Birdman), Keira Knightly (The Imitation Game), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and Imelda Staunton (Pride). Patricia Arquette was a deserving winner; after all it’s one thing to maintain a performance over a few months, try doing it over twelve years!
J. K. Simmons was an obvious winner for his remarkable work in Whiplash, making him a shoo-in for the Oscar.The award for Best Cinematography was presented by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Martin Freeman and the nominees were Mr. Turner, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Ida and Birdman. The latter film won, with Emmanuel Lubeski picking up his third BAFTA in total and his second in two years after winning for Gravity in 2014.
The Outstanding Debut award was presented by Mark Strong and Tom Hiddlestone, with the nominees being ’71, Northern Soul, Lilting, Kajaki: The True Story and Pride. All were great debuts but we were glad to see Pride (a BBC Films production) win as it was one of our favourite films of last year. This was followed by a moving tribute to the late Richard Attenborough, who will be sadly missed.
The Best Original Screenplay award was presented by Julianne Moore and the nominees were Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Whiplash and Nightcrawler. Wes Anderson finally won on his sixth nomination for the very funny The Grand Budapest Hotel and his equally funny acceptance speech was read out by Ralph Fiennes. He joked about missing the awards because they clashed with the DGA awards, a common theme as all the nominated directors were there instead.
The award for Best Film Not in the English Language or, if you're being slightly less PC, the Best Foreign Language Film was presented by Alice Eve (who was in Star Trek into Darkness) and John Boyega (who will be appearing in the next Star Wars movie), so that kept the fanboys happy. The nominees were Leviathan, The Lunchbox, Two Days One Night, Ida and Trash; with Ida taking home the gong.
The award for Best Adapted Screenplay was presented by Noomi Rapace and Jesse Eisenberg, with the nominees being Gone Girl, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, American Sniper and Paddington. The winner was The Theory of Everything, picking up its second award of the evening. This was followed by a montage of those who died in the last year and as always there are numerous famous names that you'd forgotten had passed away. It was still very sad to be reminded of Robin Williams untimely passing.
The EE Rising Star Award is voted for by the public and was presented by James McAvoy, a the first ever winner of this award ten years ago. The nominees were Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Jack O’Connell and Margot Robbie. It was n o surprise to discover Jack O'Connell had won, it's been a huge year for him with leading roles in Starred Up, '71 and Unbroken.
This was Boyhood's night, deservedly picking up Best Film and Best Director, and making it the Oscar front-runner again.The David Lean Award for Best Direction was presented by Steve Carell and the nominees were Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything) and Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel). Given that he had just won the DGA Award for Best Director, Alejandro Inarritu was expected to take this award home as well, so Richard Linklater was a bit of a surprise. However it was well deserved as Boyhood was both a unique film and a huge risk, not to mention a big personal commitment over twelve years.
We then had the two big acting awards, kicking off with Best Actor which was presented by Kristen Scott Thomas. The nominees were Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Jake Gylenhall (Nightcrawler) and Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel). There's an old saying, if you want to win an award play someone with an affliction, so it came as no surprise when Eddie Redmayne's name was read out. Lucky for him Jupiter Ascending came out after the ballots had closed but you have to fancy his chances at the Oscars.
This was immediately followed by the award for Best Actress and here the nominees were Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). It was a very strong field with some excellent performances but the ward quite rightly went to Julianne Moore for playing a woman with Alzheimer's (see told you). But seriously, Julianne Moore has been giving amazing performances for years and had been nominated three times before, so she thoroughly deserved this and will almost certainly win a long over-due Oscar as well.
Mike Leigh received the BAFTA Fellowship but his acceptance speech didn't seem as improvised as his films!Which brings us to the big award of the night - Best Film. This was presented by none other than Tom Cruise and the nominees were The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood, Birdman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. This category has been tough to call for weeks but it looked as though Birdman was beginning to break away from the pack. However the award actually went to Boyhood, a film that had been the Oscar front-runner but lost some steam over the last few weeks; so it looks like that race is still wide open.
Finally the BAFTA Fellowship was presented by Imelda Staunton and Sally Hawkins to Mike Leigh and we couldn't think of a more deserving winner with a genuinely remarkable body of work. Although we did notice that his acceptance speech wasn't as improvised as his films!
Earlier in the evening Whiplash won Best Editing and Best Sound (quite rightly), The Grand Budapest Hotel won Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Original Music and Best Make Up/Hair and The Lego Movie won Best Animated Film. Which meant that by the end of the evening everything was awesome, especially for Boyhood, now an Oscar front-runner again, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which picked up the most awards with five wins in total.
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