The British Academy Awards (BAFTAs), hosted by Brit wit Stephen Frym=, took place Sunday at London's Royal Opera House; the edited version of the always entertaining show airs stateside at 5 pm Pacific on BBC America. The Brits have long had an impact on the Academy Awards--there's an overlap of several hundred members. Several Oscar contenders got a needed boost from wins, as the Best Picture race remains too close to call. Oscar voters got their paper ballots late last week and online voting opened on February 14. Completed ballots are due by 5 pm on Tuesday, February 25. This year, Helen Mirren and Peter Greenaway accepted achievement awards.
Inevitably, BAFTA nominees with strong Brit participation have an advantage. Wily campaigner Harvey Weinstein's Best Picture Oscar contender "Philomena" was in a position to gain a boost on its home turf during prime Oscar voting season, and sure enough homeboy Coogan beat American John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") for Adapted Screenplay.
The winners were spread out among several films. Brit director Steve McQueen's "!2 Years a Slave" chalked two key wins, finally winning Best Film and Best Actor for Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Michael Fassbender lost to Barkhad Abdi of "Captain Phillips" and Lupita Nyong'o lost to Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle") for Best Supporting Actress and to homeboy Will Poulter for the Rising Star Award. Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity," starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, which was filmed in England with a British crew, earned eleven BAFTA nominations and controversially led the contenders for Best British Film, which indeed it won, along with Best Director, Visual Effects, Sound, Cinematography and Original Film Score, for a total of six awards. "American Hustle" had three. As expected, Australian thespian Cate Blanchett won the Best Actress BAFTA; she is still the Oscar frontrunner for her role in "Blue Jasmine." She dedicated her award to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
BAFTA WINNERS BELOW:
Best Film: "12 Years a Slave"
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Best Film Not in the English Language: "The Great Beauty"
Best Visual Effects: "Gravity"
BAFTA Rising Star Award: Will Poulter
Best Adapted Screenplay: "Philomena"
Best Original Screenplay: "American Hustle"
Best Cinematography: "Gravity"
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Best Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Best Debut By a British Writer, Director or Producer: Kieran Evans
Best Animated Film: "Frozen"
Best Editing: "Rush"
Best Sound: "Gravity"
Best British Film: "Gravity"
Best Documentary: "The Act of Killing"
Best Original Film Score: "Gravity"
Best Makeup and Hair: "American Hustle"
Best Production Design: "The Great Gatsby"
Best Costumes: "The Great Gatsby"
Best Short Film: "Room 8"
Best Animated Short: "Sleeping With The Fishes"
EARLIER: "Twelve Years a Slave" had ten nominations); "Gravity" eleven; David O. Russell's "American Hustle" ten. Other contenders were Brit Paul Greengrass's "Captain Philips," with nine, Brit Emma Thompson vehicle "Saving Mr. Banks," with five, and homegrown Stephen Frears' "Philomena," starring Brits Judi Dench and writer-producer Steve Coogan, which boasted four nominations, as did Working Title's "Rush" and Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis" and Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" had three. Documentary winner "The Act of Killing," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" had two nominations apiece (full list here).