Sir Sam Mendes‘ World War I drama 1917 was the big winner at last night’s BAFTA Film Awards, taking home seven prizes including Best Film and Best Director.
Renée Zellweger was named Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Judy Garland in Judy, while Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor in a Leading Role award for his performance in Joker.
Laura Dern and Brad Pitt won the Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor prizes for their performances in Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, respectively, completing the first all-American sweep of the main acting categories at the BAFTAs since 1977. All four are now even hotter favorites to take home equivalent trophies at the Academy Awards this Sunday (February 9).
Phoenix used his acceptance speech to call for greater diversity in the film industry after no performers of color were nominated in the BAFTAs’ main acting categories this year. He told his movie industry peers: “We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who serves as President of BAFTA, also called for improved diversity, telling the audience at London’s Royal Albert Hall: “Both here in the U.K. and in many other countries around the world, we are lucky to have incredible filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians, men and women of all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film. Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more about diversity in the sector and in the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age.”
The BAFTA Film Awards were hosted for the first time by Graham Norton and aired on BBC America. Rebel Wilson drew some of the biggest laughs of the night as she introduced the Best Director award, referencing the BAFTAs’ drive to become more sustainable and the box office failure of her own movie Cats.
Be warned, though, that her jokes get pretty salty in places.
Micheal Ward, star of Blue Story, a British film exploring gang violence in London, won the EE Rising Star award, which is voted for by members of the public and has previously been won by the likes of Tom Holland, Letitia Wright, and John Boyega. Andy Serkis received the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to British Film prize.
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