It was everything we had come to expect. Predictable, political and packed with glamour. Jessica Cripps rounds up the 2017 BAFTAs.
It was a night filled with the usual glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s elite, as the EE British Academy Film Awards pulled crowds of creatives and fans alike to the expansive setting of the Royal Albert Hall. However, behind the sparkling dresses and designer dinner jackets lay the thinly-veiled anger at the scare-mongering politics at home and across the pond.
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The BAFTAs were claimed by the predictable winners: La La Land added another five awards to their swelling list of accolades, while Lion, Manchester by the Sea and the British I, Daniel Blake also scored the top trophies.
The grand prize of Best Film fell into the lap of La La Land: a film that has already scooped up the awards for Best Cinematography, Best Original Music and Best Director for Damien Chazelle.
Emma Stone visibly glittered in an embellished Chanel dress and trousers as she scooped the well-deserved Best Leading Actress BAFTA for her portrayal as La La Land’s leading lady, Mia.
While she remembered her unrewarded co-star Ryan Gosling, who ‘elevates everything he touches’, her acceptance was tinged with foreboding political undertones. Emma referred to a growing global hostility, but expressed gratitude for being able to ‘celebrate the positive gift of creativity, and how it can transcend borders, and how it can help people feel a little less alone.’
A rugged looking Casey Affleck can now display a Best Leading Actor BAFTA next to his Golden Globe for his emotionally gripping performance as Lee in Manchester by the Sea. The film’s writer and director Kenneth Lonergan also scooped up the BAFTA for best original screenplay.
Viola Davis claimed a second Best Supporting Actress recognition for her role as Rose Lee Maxon in Fences. Accepting the award in a blue dress as electric as she is vivacious, she spoke up about the importance of recognising the cultural history of African-Americans.
‘The people who did not make it into history books’, she reflected, ‘they have a story; and those stories deserve to be told, because they lived.’
The Best Supporting Actor BAFTA was awarded to Dev Patel for his role as Saroo in Lion. He appeared to refer to a lack of empathy against the refugee crisis, and the oncoming onslaught of Brexit, as he credited Lion as being ‘about a love that transcends borders, colour, race, anything.’
The prestigious BAFTA Fellowship was given to Mel Brooks for a lifetime of hilarity. Comedy remained on his mind as he accepted the award, as he jokingly apologised to Prince William and Kate for the American Revolution. ‘We were young’, he teased.
Attention turned onto home turf as the Oscar snubbed I, Daniel Blake finally received British applause, picking up the BAFTA for Best British film. Director Ken Loach led an impassioned speech about the ‘callous brutality’ of the UK Government against the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.
‘The real world is getting darker’, he commented. ‘Despite the glitz and the glamour of occasions like this, we’re with the people.’
In a night of pointed political doom and gloom, somehow it was still Meryl Streep who stole the show. Her alarmed reactions to the opening performance by Cirque du Soleil were perhaps the most entertaining moments of the whole evening.
Even the host Stephen Fry who was granted a kiss from the legendary icon, seemed flustered. He declared ‘never in the field of human conflict has my left cheek been so jealous of my right’. Taking a dig at President Trump’s claims that Streep is ‘overrated’, Fry quibbed, ‘underrated is what I’d say.’
At the time of going to press, the president is yet to respond.