Tonight I went to the 2011 BAFTA 2011 awards. It was a lot of fun. I had a lovely bowl of chili con carne, wore a suit I haven’t worn in so long I found £20 in the pocket and spent about an hour lost in the bowels of the Royal Opera House.
Random fact: on level four they have a room full of wooden cocoons and a bucket of plastic swords. These, friends, are the sort of British Academy of Film awards revelations you won’t have got from E!’s coverage.
Not only that, but minute by minute I also live-blogged everything that happened, documenting every win for The King’s Speech with increasingly weary resignation. This you can read below. You join me at five o’clock. I am waiting for the stars (and Tony from Skins) to arrive. It has just started to rain. Oh, and someone is singing The Eagles. Dramatic, huh?
5.03pm – I am on the red carpet. It is raining heavily. I am concerned about Helena Bonham Carter’s hair – hair which more often than not looks like the result of the French government dropping an atomic bomb into the Pacific ocean even when it’s not lashing down.
5.10pm – Rupert Grint is on the red carpet too. He is famous. I am not. Therefore I decide to step aside and leave him to it. Moderately interesting Rupert Grint fact: I once had to explain what a courgette was to him at an NME Awards many years ago.
5.11pm – Thandie Newton is being interviewed by TV Welshman Steve Jones. I overhear him say: “Thandie, you’re a mum. It seems like the really hot thing in Hollywood at the moment is for women to be pregnant”. (NB: this actually happened).
5.13pm – Jesse Eisenberg is also on the carpet. He is so small he makes Michael Cera look like King Kong. Eisenberg tells Edith Bowman he is “terrified – but I’m also terrified of walking my dog and leaving my apartment”. That’s a quite interesting anecdote. Sadly, here he is being a bit dull…
5.20pm – Feel a bit sorry for the wet celebs not having a roof over the red carpet. Except Sarah Harding. I vow never to feel sorry for anyone who had anything to do with St. Trinian’s.
5.26pm – Paddy Considine is here. Might creep inside his dressing room wearing a gas mask and write threats on the walls. Might not. It’s early.
5.35pm – Minnie Driver from middling nineties immigration drama Green Card is wearing a floor length white dress. Given the weather, this is preposterous. By the time Driver reaches the door of the ceremony proper, said dress looks a bit like a net curtain hanging in the window of a deserted council house. Impractical.
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5.40pm – Samuel L Jackson is wearing a Kangol cap. He is 62-years-old. Steve Jones asks him: “What brings you to London?” Sam replies, “the BAFTA’s”. (NB: this actually happened too).
5.45pm – I see Emma Stone. She is seemingly dressed as an extra from an eighties Bonnie Langford fitness video. This is no slur. Emma Stone is the coolest person on the red carpet by some distance.
6.00pm – Now inside, I manage to procure an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with host Jonathan Ross as we stand surveying the selection of packed sandwiches backstage. Here is the transcript from said interview. Me: “Alright?” Him: “Yeah, you?” Me: “Good”. Him: “Okay, see you”.
6.10pm – Someone is forcibly dragged from the hall, lined up against a wall and shot in the head for “not being that fussed” about The King’s Speech. (NB: this didn’t actually happen).
6.30pm – Pop outside for a cigarette and to look at Emma Stone again. There is a busker wading through the hits of The Eagles. “And in the master’s chamber” he sings, “they gather for the feast. They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast”. Tilda Swinton walks past and my blood turns to ice.
7.03pm – The awards begin. Some old BAFTA guy promises us a tribute “to those who died this year”. He looks like Dolph Lundgren on a high heat wash. I am extremely concerned he may join the promised tribute before the night is through.
7.11pm – Some people are breakdancing onstage. You know when your grandad used to pluck your baseball hat off your head as a kid and put in on backwards pretending to be hip? Yeah, that.
7.14pm – Paul McCartney presents the award for Original Music. Alexandre Desplat wins for The King’s Speech. In the pressroom we decide to implement a charity-swearbox-type-system everytime The King’s Speech wins an award. Our ultimate aim is to cure world hunger by 8pm. We are optimistic.
7.18pm – Paul Wright and Poss Kondeatis win the Short Film award for Until The River Runs Red. Never heard of it.
7.22pm – Michael Please (bet he had fun at school) wins Short Animation for The Eagleman Stag. Bravo, rightly so (never heard of it).
7.29pm – The Best Sound prize goes to Inception, then quickly segues into the Best Editing award, won by Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter for The Social Network.
7.30pm – LET’S HEAR IT FOR EDITING.
7.32pm – Alice In Wonderland wins both Best Hair and Best Makeup. Utilizing a cracker and some jam I’ve stolen from catering, I quickly craft the film a special BAFTA for Best Waste Of My Time.
7.38pm – Mark Kermode is onstage presenting the award for Best Foreign Language Film. Vin Diesel, wherever the thespian lunk may be, is thinking, “I can win this”.
7.39pm – And the winner is… The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Director Soren Staermose gives a shout out to anti-fascist bible Searchlight. No snide remarks from me. It’s a quite brilliant thing to do.
7.41pm – Alice In Wonderland wins Best Costume Design. By my calculations, even without including my made-up cracker prize, Alice In Wonderland has won the most awards so far. Surely someone, maybe at the UN for example, can do something about this?
7.45pm – Inception wins the award for Production Design and Special Visual Effects, the latter seeing presenter Jesse Eisenberg needlessly slam Godzilla. I make a note of where he’s sitting and vow to have words, probably when I’m pissed.
7.56pm – Best Supporting Actress is a five way scrap between Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan), Lesley Manville (Another Year) and Miranda Richardson (Made In Dagenham). Basically, Made In Dagenham is nominated for every award, yet wins nothing all night. It is the first time I have ever felt sympathy with anything associated with Dagenham.
7.59pm – And the winner is… Helena Bonham Carter.
8.03pm – Helena Bonham Carter appears to be completely smashed. Someone in the pressroom informs me that this is “just how she is”. Her acceptance speech is entertaining but it’s starting to drag now.
8.07pm – Helena Bonham Carter is still talking. Finally, just as the elderly Dolph Lundgren guy croaks (NB: this didn’t actually happen) Carter winds up and heads to her seat. Jonathan Ross quips: “Well, that was a fabulous speech – but that is all we have time for”.
8.10pm – Kevin Spacey, looking as Orange as the corporate sponsorship, presents the award for Outstanding British Debut by pretending to be Bill Clinton. This isn’t the most surreal moment of the night. Four Lions wins, and members of the cast read out a message from the absent Chris Morris. This is. The speech begins: “Doused in petrol, Zippo at the ready”.
8.11pm – In the front row, little Emma Watson looks like she’s about to cry.
8.12pm – Outstanding British Film goes to The King’s Speech. In ten minutes time the pressroom will have donated enough money to solve world hunger forever and buy a Twix each from the Royal Opera House vending machine. This is impressive: quite astonishingly the Opera House prices its Twix at 70p.
8.14pm – And the award for Best Supporting Actor goes to… “Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech“.
8.19pm – And the award for Best Original Screenplay goes to… “David Seidler for The King’s Speech“.
8.25pm “FEED THE WOR-LLL-D, LET THEM KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME!”
8.31pm – Stephen Fry is onstage to give some made up award to producer David Heyman and J.K. Rowling to celebrate their work on the Harry Potter series. Everyone knows this is about to happen, but most still believe Colin Firth is about to charge up on stage and nab the gong anyway.
8.40pm – Beating Despicable Me and the really very good How To Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3 wins the Best Animated Film award. Somewhere in a metaphysical Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes is not doing a dump.
8.45pm – The Orange Wednesday Rising Star award – y’know, the one that’s voted for by proper people like me and you and not members of BAFTA being forced to write the words King’s and Speech in their own blood at gunpoint – is about to be given out by Tom Hardy and his weird voice. Will it be Gemma Arterton? Aaron Johnson? Emma Stone? Or my pick, Andrew Garfield? I’d be happy with any of them.
8.47pm – (voice of a 17th century aristocratic telesales man) “And the winner is… Tom Hardy”.
8.48pm – Um, what the fuck? Who’s Tom Hardy? I watch approximately twenty movies a week and I’ve never heard of Tom Hardy. Admittedly slasher movies aren’t normally acknowledged at the BAFTA’s but…
8.49pm – Here’s the promised in-memoriam tribute. It’s moving stuff: Arthur Penn, Dennis Hopper, Roy Ward Baker, Blake Edwards, Bernd Eichinger, Dede Allen, Alan Hume, John Barry, Tony Curtis, Pete Postlethwaite, Leslie Nielsen, Maria Schneider, Clive Donner, Sally Menke, Peter Yates, Guido Coen, Ingrid Pitt, Norman Wisdom, Tura Satana, Susannah York, Carol Marsh, Ronald Neame, Dino De Laurentiis, Patricia Neal, Corey Haim, Claude Chabrol. Talents missed, one and all.
8.56pm – Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin steps up to accept his Best Adapted Screenplay award for his penmanship on The Social Network. “Normally I’d be really excited by this,” he pants. “But in the seat in front of me is one of the Beatles. And in the seat in front of him is Julianne Moore. And in the seat in front of her is Annette Bening. So I’m maxed out”.
8.59pm – Welcoming Mark Ruffalo to the stage, Jonathan Ross makes his umpteenth reference to X-Men of the night. Yeah, I get it dude, you’ve been to Forbidden Planet.
8.58pm – True Grit, which up until this point I’ve forgotten existed – such has been the omnipresence of The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Inception – finally gets its dues. Okay, it’s only Best Cinematography, something less people understand the meaning of than who Tom Hardy is, but it’s still refreshing to know the BAFTA voters have watched more than three films this year.
9.00pm – The crazy eyed Tilda Swinton dishes out the best directing BAFTA to The Social Network. Director David Fincher isn’t here, so the films ubernerd leads Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg bumble their way through an acceptance speech on his behalf. It’s a little bit like watching an episode of the The Laurel & Laurel Show in all truth.
9.03pm – Natalie Portman wins Best Actress for Black Swan. Sadly she’s not here due to succumbing to the latest Hollywood fad of getting pregnant. What will those crazy Yanks think of next?
9.07pm – In her absence, adoring director Darren Aronofsky makes a claim for Portman basically being a hybrid of Mother Theresa and Robocop.
9.10pm – The Colin Firth Award For Being Colin Firth (otherwise known as Best Actor) goes to… Colin Firth for The King’s Speech! After winning the same gong last year for A Single Man, there’s a brief moment where the actor appears to contemplate building a small thatch cottage in the middle of the stage in anticipation of 2012.
9.14pm – The last proper award of the night, for Best Film goes to… Piranha 3D! No? Oh right, yeah, it’s The King’s Speech again. Somewhere in Windsor, the Queen and her corgis are doing a conga down the halls (NB: this didn’t actually happen. Maybe).
9.26pm – Finally, it’s this year’s inductee into the Fellowship, and the extremely worthy Sir Christopher Lee makes his entrance onstage held aloft inside a giant plastic egg… oh, sorry, that’s a different awards ceremony. Lee, it must be said, is looking very frail, and makes a speech that sees his voice crack halfway through. He starts to sob. It’s the saddest sight I have ever seen in my entire life. “I’m just grateful I don’t follow in the footsteps of the great Stanley Kubrick, who’s award was posthumous”.
9.28pm – There isn’t a dry eye in the house. Exiting into the still sodden London night, there isn’t a dry pair of socks either.
10.00pm – I have accidently trod on Christopher Lee’s wife’s toes.
11.00pm – I am lost.
11.30pm – I am in bed.