Competition and celebration of British film: The 67th BAFTAS

Bafta statuettesON THE EVENING of 16th February, leading members of the film industry, ranging across film stars, directors, writers, special effects artists and costume designers, all came together in the Royal Opera House in London to appreciate the latest achievements in film and the British film industry. Stephen Fry hosted the event, which handed out 26 awards on behalf of the British Academy for Television and Arts.

The film with the most successes of the evening was definitely Gravity, winning awards for its sound design and visual aesthetics with Best Original Music, Best Sound, Best Special Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography. However its biggest wins were for Alfonso Cuarón receiving Best Director, and the film as a whole receiving Outstanding British Film. This was one of the first awards to be given out, and seems a conciliatory prize for the tough competition that was in the Best Film category.

Best Film was won by 12 Years a Slave which also won Best Leading Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance. Despite these being the only awards it received that night; they certainly were two of the most prestigious and well earned. A close contender for 12 Years a Slave was Michael Fassbender as Best Actor in a Supporting Role, which was grasped away by former Limo driver Barkhad Abdi for his debut role in Captain Phillips.

Another successful film at the awards was the widely vamped American Hustle, winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the always on form Jennifer Lawrence. The film also won for Best Makeup and Hair. It’s final, yet most puzzling accolade was for Best Original Screenplay, which raises some question around what classes as original, as the film started with the on screen text ‘some of this actually happened’.

GRAVITY

Gravity was the big success of the night, winning 6 awards in total.

Other, more isolated wins in the big categories include Cate Blanchett winning Best leading Actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine. Also Rush won Best Editing, Philomena Best Adapted Screenplay, and Disney’s Frozen won Best Animated film. Also surprisingly, The Great Gatsby won two awards for Best Production and Costume Design.

During the middle of the awards there was also a short moment and video showing notable people of the film industry no longer present. This included recent stars like Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker to other older classic actors such as Peter O’Toole and Shirley Temple, not to mention other countless individuals who made some of the most iconic films of all time, but who are perhaps not known at all by most. This is not only a look back at the past, but also hopefully an inspiration for future generations to make more great films for the future, as so many of the recipients have claimed to have been in their acceptance speeches.

Finally there was also recognition of achievements in the British Film Industry. Director Peter Greenaway received the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, which has personally sparked some investigation into a fascinating area of British cinema. British veteran actress Helen Mirren received an Academy Fellowship for her achievements also, receiving hers from BAFTA president The Duke of Cambridge. Young British Actor Will Poulter won the Rising Star Award, an award by which the winner is voted on by the public. It is not surprising Poulter won considering his involvement in prominent films such as Son of Rambow, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and We’re the Millers.  It is always satisfying to reflect and see the large impact that Britain has had on cinema as a whole, and is great to see the BAFTAs celebrate this year in year out, not just being another awards show.