2016 BAFTA Awards: The Highs & the Lows

The BAFTA awards are one of the season’s biggest events, and though there is a notable skew towards British films and talent, the world generally pays a lot of attention to the results, and with a two horse race between The Big Short and Spotlight heading into the Oscars, their award for Best Film could be a very significant result.

This year’s awards have been remarkably divided, with no less than 12 films sharing the honors between them. However, the two Oscar favourites shared the screenplay award while Mark Rylance, Kate Winslet, Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the acting recipients – no surprises there.

Winners, from high to low:
The Revenant – 5
Mad Max: Fury Road – 4
The Big Short – 1
Spotlight – 1
Brooklyn – 1
Room – 1
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 1
Bridge of Spies – 1
Inside Out – 1
Steve Jobs – 1
Wild Tales – 1
The Hateful Eight – 1

However, it is Valentine’s Day, and actual awards aside there was time for Stephen Fry and company to make obvious reference to the romance in the air, and there was no better way than with a good old fashioned Kisscam. Fry, in his usual eloquence, turned what could have been a pretty tacky gimmick into a nice little ice-breaker and inject a bit of character into the proceedings. Plus there’s nothing quite as memorable as Leonardo DiCaprio kissing Maggie Smith and anyone kissing Rebel Wilson.

“I have never been invited to the Oscars, because as you know they are racists” begins Wilson as she presents the award for Supporting Actor, she continues “I have been practicing my transgender face [and] I am psychologically conditioned to want chocolate on Valentine’s Day” before the camera conveniently points to Idris Elba. Of course the#OscarsSoWhite debate was the victim of a few gags – it’s the British thing to do.

Returning to a more sincere note, Steven Spielberg graciously accepted the Supporting Actor award on behalf of Mark Rylance for what was an Oscar favourite performance in Bridge of Spies, though Stallone looks to be on course to snatch that prize, but a BAFTA is a pretty nice consolation prize.

It was then on to the most predictable award of the night, as Pixar’s Inside Out obviously scoops best Animated Film. No amount of excuses could justify skewing this in favour of the British Shaun the Sheep Movie.

“It’s ok to feel scared, or angry or sad, but please express yourself… the world will be a better place for it”

but the Supporting Actress award could however be justified to British veteran Kate Winslet. In her usual way, she thanks anyone and everyone from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to Joanna Hoffman – whom she portrayed in the film. Other not so enthusiastic turns at the podium include Dakota Johnson who looked notably perturbed at not winning the Rising Star award, as she stood next previous winner Will Poulton to present the award for Outstanding Debut.

The tribute to those lost was particularly poignant considering the high profile deaths of British legends Alan Rickman and David Bowie, though other notables include Omar Sharif, cinematographer Haxell Wexler, Ron Moody and of course composer James Horner.

And was it just us, or did Angela Bassett belong in a church with her borderline sermon-esque presentation of the adapted screenplay award?

Perhaps one of the most significant moments of the evening, as always, is the BAFTA fellowship, awarded this year to Sidney Poitier. Under the circumstances, and after the aftermath of the Oscar nominations, there was a particular weight in this gesture, as punctuated by the endorsements from Noel Clarke, Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Foxx, all making reference to his inspiration and impact on the film industry.

“This extraordinary moment and memory I will cherish always” – Sidney Poitier

Sacha Baron-Cohen subsequently took to the stage to introduce the BAFTA for leading actress, and ridiculed the diversity row. Clearly even among the film industry the opinion, or at least the reaction, is severely divided. Nonetheless, Alicia Vikander was up for her second nomination. She lost the first to Kate Winslet, and understandably lost her second to strong favourite Brie Larson.

It feels like the telecast this year was somewhat muted, with a distinct lack of standing ovations and tearjerking demonstrations of support, which seemed like a sure thing for DiCaprio’s imminent win for leading actor. Though disappoint here will be mitigated on the 28th where ABC will have to add a few minutes to account for his extended round of applause.

What did you think of this year’s awards? Tell us below!

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