The cold and wet 66th Annual British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London got under way Sunday night, hosted by Stephen Fry, who wryly noted: "I have a strong feeling I'm not the only actor who’s come here this evening with a beard."
The big question for awards-watchers was whether "Argo" would keep its awards juggernaut rolling, even though "Lincoln," like the Oscars, had the most nominations, in this case ten, including best film and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis. Ben Affleck (up for three awards) and his producer George Clooney made the schlep to London with high hopes. They were not dashed, as "Argo" won three prizes: best picture and director for Ben Affleck, and best editing for William Goldenberg. "Lincoln" had to settle for the expected best actor win.
The BAFTAs kicked off with a montage of the past 100 years of British film. Many awards favored the home team. Presented by best actor nominees Affleck and Bradley Cooper, Best British Film went to "Skyfall," the first James Bond film to win a BAFTA since "From Russia with Love" (cinematography), beating out "Les Miserables." The film collected a second prize when Thomas Newman won for best score, who gave a "big shout out to Monty Norman and the late John Barry" for the original 007 theme. (Thanks to BAFTAs live blog.)
"Les Mis" won four awards, best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway, no surprise, as well as production design, hair & makeup and sound awards. Clooney made his first appearance as a BAFTA presenter, giving the award to Hathaway, who shared it "with the cast and crew of Les Misérables," she said, "especially Tom Hooper for the grandness of your dreams and your ability to make this come true." She also wished Eddie Redmayne would "get well soon." (He missed presenting earlier in the evening because he was "puking his guts up" backstage, as solo presenter Sally Field put it.)
"Anna Karenina" won one award, for Jacqueline Durran's costumes.
In an upset, best actress went to "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva, 85, over Helen Mirren, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Marion Cotillard. But no-show Riva did not get a needed Oscar boost by giving a winning acceptance speech. It was the second win for Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winner, which also nabbed Best Film Not In The English Language over Scandinavian entries "Headhunters" and "The Hunt," as well as two French flicks, "The Intouchables" and "Rust and Bone." "Amour" is also expected to win on Oscar night. But will Riva beat frontrunner Lawrence? It's a horse race now.
Hollywood also collected some wins. Day-Lewis collected best actor for "Lincoln," its only award of the night. "Silver Linings Playbook" picked up a surprise win for best adapted screenplay for David O. Russell. "Our film is about emotion and people," he said. "This is for every family who ever faced those emotions, and those struggles." He also thanked his son "who inspired this story" as well as novelist Matthew Quick.
"Life of Pi" picked up two prizes, for best cinematography (Ang Lee accepted for Claudio Miranda), and VFX (Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott). Both of those wins should be repeated on Oscar night.
Quentin Tarantino accepted best original screenplay for "Django Unchained," which won a second prize for supporting actor Christoph Waltz, who beat Alan Arkin, Javier Bardem, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones. Waltz thanked Tarantino for his "unconditional trust that I will put your creation to good use - you silver-penned devil you!"
Best animated feature went to Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman for Pixar's "Brave."
Malik Bendjelloul's "Searching for Sugar Man" won yet again over documentaries "The Imposter," "Marley," "McCullin" and "West of Memphis."
The BAFTA for Best Short Film went to "Swimmer," directed by "We Need to Talk About Kevin" director Lynne Ramsay. Billy Connolly presented the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by Brit Writer, Director or Producer to documentary filmmaker Bart Layton for "The Imposter." The man who brought us the London Olympics opening ceremony, Danny Boyle, presented the Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema prize to head of film and drama at Film 4 Tessa Ross, who is his "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Trance" producer. Her upcoming projects include Richard Ayoade's "The Double," Michael Winterbottom's "The Look of Love," Steve McQueen's "Twelve Years a Slave," and Kevin Macdonald's "How I Live Now." My interview with her inToronto is here.
The EE Rising Star Award, voted by the public, went to Julian Temple sprig Juno Temple over Andrea Riseborough, Elizabeth Olsen, Suraj Sharma and Alicia Vikander.
Full list of nominees here and below; winners in bold.