The ceremony opened with a James Bond musical tribute by Tom Jones,and the event itself was hosted by the ever-delightful and devilishly wry Stephen Fry. The first award presenter of the night was Cuba Gooding Jr, who gave a quick reference to the passing of Whitney Houston, and the awards were away with ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’ taking home the BAFTA for Visual Achievements. Kristen Wiig and Chris O’Dowd proved that their comedic skills as ‘Bridesmaids’ was no fluke as they presented the team from ‘Tyrannosaur’ with their award for Outstanding British Debut.
Billy Bob Thornton presented the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema award to the Elephant Man himself, John Hurt. John, who’s 50 year career covering ‘Alien’, ‘Midnight Express’, ‘1984’, ‘Hellboy’, ‘V For Vendetta’ and ‘Melancholia’ just to name a few, delivered a very humble and sincere “thank you”.
The incomparable Meryl Streep ruled over the British Empire once again with her Best Actress win for ‘The Iron Lady’. While accepting her award, she created a show highlight, first by realising she had her handbag (and so passed it off to a fellow actress conveniently sitting on the edge of the aisle), then reaching the stage stairs and losing a shoe. Like the effortless pro that she is, Streep kept going, leaving presenter Colin Firth to pick it up and place it upon the lady’s foot in a true Cinderella moment.
Rounding out the acting categories were Octavia Spencer for ‘The Help’ and Christopher Plummer for ‘Beginners’. The stunning ‘Senna’ took home Best Editing and Best Documentary. Antonio Banderas’ ‘The Skin I Live In’ won Best Foreign Language film and ‘Rango’ directed by ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ captain Gore Verbinski took home Best Animation.
The land down under was not only represented in the Rising Star Award but also when “Jacko” and “Rusty” (Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe for those playing at home) presented the Best Film award, including some colourful Aussie language, witty banter and only two cricket references between the boys, and Fry left the audience in stitches.
‘The Artist’ continued its award season sweep by taking out Best Director, Actor, Original Screenplay and Film while the British super-spy caper ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ represented the mother country beautifully by winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best British Film.
Closing out the evening was Father Merrin, ahem, that’s Max von Sydow presenting the Academy Fellowship to living legend and director extraordinaire, Martin Scorsese, in recognition of his outstanding and exceptional contribution to film. Charlie Chaplin, Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins and friend Steven Spielberg are among the past recipients.
So now the countdown is on. Just 14 more sleeps until the Academy Awards on February 27th. Stay tuned to SWITCH for our coverage throughout the day.