The BAFTAs are some of the most prestigious awards in British Film and, it could be argued, the entire industry. Obviously, it’s a star-studded occasion, and many people turned up for the event, including James McAvoy, Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg, Tim Burton and Rupert Grint among others. The awards were given for such achievements as Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Film, as well as special awards like the Fellowship award, a particularly important award for British Film. Overall, the dominant film was King’s Speech, which won a staggering seven awards (who would have guessed?) but films like Inception and The Social Network put up an interesting fight. Actors like Tom Hardy and Geoffrey Rush were awarded for their contributions to film, and rightly so. Let’s have a look at the awards and their winners (in no particular order):
Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham-Carter, King’s Speech
Who would have guessed that she’d win this one? Helena did give a staggering performance as the late Queen Mother (our own monarch approving of the film and her performance) and this was an award that was definitely deserved. Apart from her long acceptance speech (jokingly done), Helena was very respectful to those she beat to the award.
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, King’s Speech
Again, who would have guessed? But also again, a definitely deserved award. The man gave an astounding performance on a film that could have been somewhat limited if he hadn’t pulled it off brilliantly. A great actor in most things he does, I don’t feel that anyone else should have taken this award.
Best Leading Actor: Colin Firth, King’s Speech
Notice how I’m getting them out of the way? Indeed a good, verging-on-great performance by a terrific actor, and again I didn’t begrudge him the victory, though I felt equally that Jeff Bridges should have been in the running for this award (he was nominated, but you know what I mean) and Jesse Eisenberg may well have been a decent contender for The Social Network. James Franco was, in my eyes, the best of them all, for 127 Hours.
Best Film: King’s Speech
Notice a pattern? The only film I think was undeserved for this title, if only because Inception was in this category as well. Notice all the awards King’s Speech won? Well, it’s not the British Academy for nothing. Bias is rife in these things, and seeing as it’s a film about a British monarch, this was obviously going to win. Bad choice, I felt. A good film. But not the best.
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
I haven’t watched this film, but as long as King’s Speech didn’t get it, I’m happy. I have heard good things about the film and do believe I will watch it as soon as possible. From what I’ve heard, Fincher did a stellar job of turning the screenplay into a movie, and I believe it is probably well deserved from the approval it garnered.
Best Lead Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
A fine actress in a perfect, possibly career-defining role. Portman did superbly in this psychological film about an odd topic: ballet. The film was brilliantly done, and Portman captured her character and her eventual degradation into madness with flawless form. The only close runner-up was Hailee Stienfeld for True Grit, but definitely a job-well done for Portman.
Best Original Screenplay: King’s Speech
Getting tired of it? I am. Written by a London-born American, David Seidler was born with a stutter, and decided to write George VI’s story. Nothing inspirational, and an award the brilliant Inception should have been handed.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin
A good film (apparently) but not one that I would vote as best adapted screenplay, seeing as it was in the same category as the superb True Grit.
Best Original Score: King’s Speech, Alexandre Desplat
Some good music, but nothing memorable. Compared with Inception in the same nomination, by the superb Hans Zimmer, this wasn’t even close to the best score. It’s just because it’s the British film with the British sounds, so no one even thought about the gritty, deep, impacting score of Inception. Or the sounds of Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame), who was originally nominated.
Cinematography: True Grit
A good choice. Some superb shots, and great sequences. Nothing too ingenious in there, but still worthwhile. However, I believe that Inception should have won this award for its superb camera work and detail (if you haven’t worked out my personal bias yet, pay more attention).
Rising Star Award: Tom Hardy
Voted for by the public, and rightly so, this award goes to a new talent we can literally see rising to glory on screen. Tom Hardy deserves to win this, for his great roles in Inception, Bronson and other films (Star Trek: Nemesis among them but something we shan’t mention).
Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema: Harry Potter
Ten years and millions of fans later, the Harry Potter franchise is still going strong, and as an avid fan I agree that it simply invokes an emotional and imaginative response in all of us. It is one of the best (and certainly best-selling) franchises of all time, and while I don’t agree that the films are better then the books, I still agree that these films did make an outstanding contribution to British cinema, and will be remembered for many a year to come.
Fellowship: Christopher Lee
The Fellowship award, voted by the peers of the cinema industry, goes to someone who has made an outstanding commitment to British cinema, has defined it, who is a film icon in British film. I can think of none better then Lee, who has been acting for quite some time and, at 83, still acts brilliantly. He has defined cinema, became the iconic Dracula, was the face of hammer-horror, and still impacts on modern audiences with appearances in Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. This man has shaped British cinema, and deserves no less then this spectacular recognition (and more yet). His acceptance was touching, as, determined not to cry, he pleaded with the audience to stop their standing ovation as this legend stood before them.
There you have it. The awards of 2011. I’ve missed some out because the powers that be might “remove” me should I take up more room, but I’ve included all those that I feel are important. While my personal favourite, Inception, did not win as many awards as it should have, it was still nominated, something it should be proud of. And while I moan about British bias in the film awards, it is not the worst bias to date, and still shows respect and recognition where it is due.
Apart from the awards, Jonathan Ross put on an able show as the host, and the stars who presented the nominees and awards, such as James McAvoy, Nicholas Holt, Jessica Alba and Gerard Butler, made a good effort, though some of them better then others; I for one hate it when they are so obviously reading from the auto-cue. Although there were some minor incidents (I name no names), the whole thing generally went off without a hitch. A good recognition of this year in cinema, and I’m waiting with baited breath to see what will follow in the twelve months to come.