The stars were soaked, the fans were screaming (whilst remaining in an orderly queue) and the umbrella became the PA’s weapon of choice for shielding their charges from the horror of the red carpet exclusive. If nothing else, this was a very British Bafta Awards. Complete with awkward speeches, a nervous Stephen Fry and a good dose of eccentricity- most clearly exemplified by Helen Mirren’s pink hairdo- we were treated to a veritable feast of the film industry’s best.
Ben Affleck’s Argo swept the board, taking ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Director’ fending off the likes of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and the tear-jerking epic that is Les Miserables. It was no surprise to see Daniel Day-Lewis pick up the ‘Leading Actor’ award for his role as Lincoln and an emotional Anne Hathaway beat veteran Dame Judi Dench to ‘Best Supporting Actress’.
So what was surprising? Well Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were left empty-handed, with Silver Linings Playbook just scooping the award for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’. Juno Temple took the ‘Rising Star’ award after roles in last summer’s high grossing The Dark Knight Rises and the well-reviewed-if-disturbing-in-the-extreme Killer Joe. At just 23 years of age, this is not to be sniffed at particularly as she beat the likes of Suraj Sharma who this year achieved the feat of carrying an entire motion picture on his own. In fact, generally the Life of Pi crew were quite under-recognised only taking ‘Best Special Visual Effects’ which was a no-brainer. Despite a fair few nominations Katherine Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, and the critics’ favourite, The Master, were completely overlooked, with Bafta never usually failing to give ‘controversial’ or ‘alternative’ a wide berth.
So just a few weeks away from the Oscars what can we infer? Well for starters I think it’s a safe bet Helen Mirren will have sorted her hair out by then, Eddie Redmayne won’t be hurling in the wings (‘food poisoning’ according to the medical opinion or Dr Hathaway), Sally Field won’t be announcing this to everyone and the cringey attempts at comic speeches will be dispensed with in favour of uncontrollable gushing and mascara smears. In terms of the actual awards, Ben Affleck shouldn’t be getting too comfortable as there are some tough categories in there: the likes of Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty may be down but they are certainly not out. Last year it was all about the black and white spectacular that was The Artist and Spielberg’s animated Hugo. This year my bets are on 12 times nominated Lincoln, and the dark horse, Silver Linings Playbook, not forgetting Michael Haneke’s Amour for which the trophy rush is far from over.
The 85th Academy Awards are therefore very much anyone’s for the taking and in a sense, the Baftas can be seen as merely a preface for the story to follow. Echoing Django, the Baftas had my curiosity, the Oscars have my attention.