The BAFTAs opened with a bang at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night with a heart-in-mouth performance from Cirque du Soleil and twelve-time host Stephen Fry, likewise, did not disappoint. Unsurprisingly, many British filmmakers fared well, with Ken Loach winning Outstanding British Film for I, Daniel Blake (notably snubbed in the Oscar nominations) and Dev Patel beating Oscar-favourite Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Best Supporting Actor, Patel’s first accolade this awards season. The BAFTAs are known for their preference for British film, however, and may have no real impact on the outcome of the Oscars.
Predictably, Best Actor and Actress BAFTAs went to Oscar-favourites Casey Affleck and Emma Stone. Yet, neither performer was competing against their closest Oscar competition, as Denzel Washington (Fences) and Isabelle Huppert (Elle) were not nominated.
Outstanding Screenplay was awarded to Kenneth Lonergan for his sublime script for Manchester by the Sea (beating La La Land which won the Golden Globe). It is unsurprising that the British chose a cerebral introspective film such as this over La La Land with its jokes about sunshine in LA and its bursting into song every five minutes, even if those songs are very beautiful.
La La Land remained, nonetheless, the big winner of the night, winning for Best Director (Damien Chazelle) and the biggest gong of the night, Best Film. It currently ties the record with Titanic, earning fourteen Oscar nominations, and remains the firm favourite for this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.
Most deserving winner was Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis (who also won the SAG and the Golden Globe) for her incredible role in Fences. She has become notorious for her powerful speeches and her BAFTAs acceptance did not disappoint. Presidential candidate for 2020? Yes please.
But, as Fry concluded, ‘well, we’ve reached the legal limit of sycophantic fawning, so let’s crack on with awards…and see who the Russians have decided has won’.
The Oscars will air on Sunday 26th February 2017 at 5:30pm PST with host Jimmy Kimmel.
(For viewers in the UK, NowTV will be live-streaming it from midnight, GMT).
(Image courtesy of Reuters)