Tuesday, 15 February 2011

BAFTA Reaction

So the BAFTA's have been awarded, the slushy speeches have been forgotten and the hangover of the after party has faded into a distant memory. In short, now the rubble's settled, let's look back on the winners.

Truthfully, the nominations were more exciting than the ceremony itself, an eclectic spread from Exit Through the Gift Shop for Best British Debut to a posthumous nod for Pete Postlethwaite for The Town. Well neither the late great actor nor Exit Through the Gift Shop won, and several other exciting nominees also lost out.

Was there ever any doubt though? This was the night The King's Speech reigned supreme. And yet, Tom Hooper's magnificent film is no mere awards-baiting showcase, but rather deserves all the success it's getting. It's a triumph of real acting, real story and real characters, and, judging by its UK box office receipts, has clearly struck a chord with the mainstream audience as well as the awards panel. It's a multifaceted success on every level, and Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter deserve kudos for their sincere acceptance speeches. The same kind of sincerity underlined all aspects of the production, and it's no surprise the film's hitting such lofty heights both financially and artistically.

Four Lions meanwhile was a smaller-scale but no less impressive triumph and it was thrilling to see it pick up Best British Debut. Elsewhere, there was a degree of balance by awarding Best Director (David Fincher) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) to The Social Network. The riveting tragio-comic undercurrents to the story of the founding of Facebook really do derive from the combination of incisive, pacy direction and snappy, witty screenplay. On a technical level, Roger Deakins (who, I'm proud to announce, is from my hometown of Torquay) romped home with the Best Cinematography award for his tremendous work on True Grit, indicating with every passing year that he's likely the best DOP in the business today.

Christopher Lee's moving appearance when collecting the BAFTA Fellowship meanwhile is guaranteed to go down as one of the most memorable moments in its history, adding real poignancy to a sycophantic evening. Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Film and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for Foreign Language Film were pretty much shoo-ins from the off (it would have been nice to see Noomi Rapace get Best Actress, though). Truth be told, Natalie Portman deserved no less for her extraordinary performance in Black Swan.

Niggles? A couple. Inception, predictably, was relegated to the technical categories (not even Original Screenplay?), and John Powell lost out on Best Original Score to Alexandre Desplat for The King's Speech. The latter's a fantastic score and crucial to the film it accompanies but Powell's effort is one of the greatest adventure scores to emerge in recent years.

Still - can't have everything. Roll on the Oscars!

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