Last Night’s BAFTAs – Hits And Misses

Last night saw the British Academy for Film and Television Arts distribute their annual Film awards (full winners here). Owen Nicholls gives his thoughts on the winners, losers and also rans

Stephen Fry, The Perfect Host
If someone invites you over to their place for a night of revelry and merriment the mood of the evening relies heavily on them A) not insulting you repeatedly (Ricky Gervais), B) not overdoing the fawning and flattering (Jonathan Ross) and C) not bombarding you with overly aggressive sexual innuendo (Graham Norton). Fry, while certainly incorporating the teeniest amount from column A, B and C, never oversteps the lines making sure every single person – viewing and present – is having a jolly good time. And his wordplay was inflamagorofable.

Sunday Night Live. Or Not.

With no Oscars, no Globes and barely a whisker of chatter for Cannes, it seems a shame that the BBC can’t even give the BAFTA’s their night. Delayed and reduced coverage meant Twitter had to be avoided for fear of “He was dead all along” spoilers and important categories like Best Foreign Film and Best Cinematography were reduced to also rans. Scratch that they’re all important categories for film fans. Considering the extensive coverage we’re going to be saturated with come the Olympics it’d be nice to have one solitary bastard evening for cineastes on British TV.

“The name’s Jones, Tom Jones”

Despite looking more and more like an orange Don King (perhaps the mobile phone company are sponsoring his skin tone), Tom’s opening performance celebrating all things Bondathon was as vocally powerful as it was back in ’65 attached to Sean Connery’s fourth outing. Although that final “Baaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll” looked like it might have ruptured something. Perhaps the very apendage Mr. Jones was singing about.

In A Word…Restrained

If you’re seeking a single adjective to suitably describe the 2012 BAFTA’s, that solo word is restrained. No over the top blubbing. No gaudy set pieces. Subtle, instrumental music over the In Memoriam montage. Except for every clip for the excruciating The Help, everything was perfectly temperate. Even Christina Hendrick’s magnificent Hootie McBoobs were understated. Not that that is actually a good thing.

“We Hate Us! We Really Hate Us!”

If it were possible to recognise non-British films in the Best British Films category BAFTA would find a way. Ignoring the British and wonderful and wonderfully British Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in every category bar Adapted screenplay was a foot shooting travesty. Perhaps BAFTA should release anonymous voting figures to see how low our opinion is of ourselves. Rowdy choruses of “We’re Number Two!” could ring out across the Thames.

John Hurt, Legend

Quite simply a living legend. This year’s recipient of the BAFTA for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema has done it all. As believable captaining a spaceship orbiting planet LV-426 (Alien) as he is as a ‘monster’ himself in a Victorian freakshow (The Elephant Man). His ability to play anything is exemplified by his diametrically opposed roles as the completely oppressed (Nineteen Eighty-Four) and the absolute oppressor (V for Vendetta). Long live King John.

Artistic Overload

“Thou shalt not stop liking a band just because they become popular”. And the same goes for films. That said, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to want The Artist to garner any more accolades. Harder still when the victories come at the expense of more worthy fare. It’s almost enough to unfairly reduce the work of Jean Dujardin to “gimmicky, shameless mugging unfit for an episode of Mr. Bean” when compared to Gary Oldman’s masterful performance constituting the summation of a careers worth of brilliance. Almost.


Anyone looking to the awarding of Martin Scorsese with the BAFTA Fellowship as an indictment of non-Britishness can quite frankly fornicate away because Scorsese’s championing of the UK’s finest has been as passionate as anybody sat in the Royal Opera House last night. His tireless effort helping the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger get the recognition – and restoration – it deserves is not only worthy of the Fellowship alone but worth repeating in capital letters here. GO SEE THE ARCHERS FILMS! Start with A Matter of Life and Death and go from there. Absolutely the Best of British.