Sunday was the 64th annual British Academy Film and Television Awards – here’s a brief roundup of the night’s victors and vanquished.
The King’s Speech earned a predictable royal flush by scooping seven awards from its fourteen nominations. These included Original Screenplay, Leading Actor, Original Music, Supporting Actress and the coveted Best Picture prize. However, The Social Network pulled off a royal coup by taking home the prizes for Editing and Directing, the latter for David Fincher, his first BAFTA win. The Facebook biopic also took the Adapted Screenplay Award, an accolade richly deserved by Aaron Sorkin, who is expected to comfortably repeat his success at the Oscars in two weeks time.
Inception also won three awards – Production Design, Sound and Special Visual Effects. While none of these are seen as major awards by those outside the specific departments they deal with, the Inception team will surely be happy to have had success amongst such a strong field.
The fact that the competition this year was particularly strong is displayed by the relatively lacklustre showings from two of the year’s most outstanding and critically acclaimed films. Both Black Swan and True Grit managed only one award apiece, despite receiving twelve and eight nominations respectively. Natalie Portman captured a richly deserved Leading Actress prize for her dedicated performance in Darren Aronofsky’s mind-bending thriller. Sporting a Royal Mail-themed moustache, Aronofsky accepted the award in the wake of the absent Portman, who is heavily pregnant. The sole award won by the Coen Brother’s True Grit was for Cinematography, presented to Roger Deakins, whose camerawork was one of the highlights of the film.
While it was a night of largely predictable results, there were a few shocks woven into the evening’s tapestry. Geoffrey Rush pipped Christian Bale in the Supporting Actor category, though Bale is still favourite for the Oscar. Tom Hardy beat Andrew Garfield to the Rising Star award, the only one to be voted for by the public (so that result is your fault).
Undoubtedly the biggest shock of the night was the Best Director award. David Fincher, who was nominated for The Social Network, beat off competition from Tom Hooper and Darren Aronofsky to claim the coveted prize. Hooper was widely considered favourite to capture the award riding on the coattails of The King’s Speech, and many considered Aronofsky as the best outside bet, but nevertheless, Fincher was an unquestionably deserving winner.
Finally, the presentation of the Academy Fellowship to Christopher Lee was moving. He was given due prominence for a glittering career that has spanned seven decades. From his early Shakespeare work, to Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, via James Bond, he must be considered one of the true giants currently in cinema.
The ceremony itself went smoothly, managing to feel quite low-key by the end. Jonathan Ross was a solid host, staying well clear of the territory Ricky Gervais entered at the Golden Globes last month. All in all, a very British BAFTAS.