As you may have noticed, it’s that time of year again – awards season. This year we’ve been presented with a rich and varied soup of movie goodness, including everything from historical epics to quirky dramedies, and from soaring musicals to political thrillers. At this year’s BAFTAs, all was very much to play for, and the battle for Best Film was impossible to predict.
The award for Outstanding British film went to Skyfall – no big surprise there. The Bond film faced down competition from other Brit favourites Anna Karenina, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Les Miserables, but was basically a shoe-in for this award.
Another complete non-shocker was Michael Haneke’s Amour winning Best Film Not in the English Language –even if we leave aside the prestigious Palme d’Or, Amour has been picking up awards all over Europe and making it look easy. The film is nominated for both Best Film and Best Foreign Film at this month’s impending Oscars, which is certainly no mean feat.
Best Supporting Actor went to Christoph Waltz for playing the part of gun-slinging bounty hunter Dr King Schultz in Django Unchained, while Anne Hathaway nabbed Best Supporting Actress for her sterling portrayal of the poverty stricken Fantine in Les Miserables.
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Producer or Director went to Bart Layton and Dmitri Doganis for their work on The Impostor. The Impostor was also up for Best Documentary, but was beaten to the punch by Searching for Sugar Man. Prizes for Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay went to Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook respectively, while Life of Pi picked up awards for Special Visual Effects and Cinematography. Les Mis scored heavily with Hair and Make Up and Sound, and Best Animated Film went to the enduringly adorable Brave.
The powerhouse that is Daniel Day-Lewis beat Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman and Joaquin Phoenix to take home the Best Actor BAFTA. His inspirational portrayal of US President Abraham Lincoln will go down in film history; it seemed almost a certainty that this award would be his, and we’d bet heavily on the probability of him snagging an Oscar too later on in the month. In somewhat of a surprise win, Amour’s leading lady Emanuelle Riva has landed the award for Best Actress, overcoming exceedingly formidable competition in the form of Helen Mirren, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Marion Cotillard.
It was looking like a pretty slow evening for dark horse awards favourite Argo, with just one gong in the bag for Best Editing. But, that all changed quicker than you can say ‘Argo-fuck-yourself’ when suddenly Ben Affleck was presented with the award for Best Director, and then the film beat Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Les Miserables and even the epic Lincoln to be presented with the BAFTA for Best Film.
A surprise win, certainly, but a very well-deserved one for Affleck and for Argo – the naysayers and snobs who turned their noses up at the actor/director and his work were well and truly slapped upside the head at this year’s BAFTAs, and it was a pleasure to watch.