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The BAFTAs: The Last Stop Before The Oscars

As the last stop on the way to the Oscars next Sunday, the BAFTA was one big push for their own, with '1917' and Sam Mendes

With next week’s Oscars the remaining big awards show of the season, it came as no surprise that yesterday’s BAFTA was all about rallying behind British director Sam Mendes and his 1917 film. Winning seven prizes in total, including the big ones of Best Film, Best British Film, Best Director for Mendes, and Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins; it was a night of no big surprise winners or major upsets.

Parasite won two awards: Original Screenplay and for Best Film not in the English Language; and Joker heads back to the United States with three awards including Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. In fact, true to form, the other major acting awards went to Renee Zellweger for Judy, Laura Dern for Marriage Story, and Brad Pitt for Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.

Hildur Gudnadottir with the Best Original Score award for Joker | Photo: Getty Images Europe/Zimbio

In a message read by Once Upon A Time co-Star Margot Robbie, Brad made light references to Brexit and the royals, saying: “Hey Britain, hear you’ve become single—welcome to the club! Wishing you the best with the divorce settlement.” And holding the statuette, Margot added; “He says he is going to name this Harry because he is really excited about bringing it back to the States with him. His words, not mine.”

[On a side note, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also in attendance, and they were seen awkwardly laughing at Margot's quip.]

It was the first time since 1977 that all four of these BAFTA acting awards went to Americans. Brit Pride was obviously being reserved for Sam Mendes and 1917. As with his Best Director win, Mendes is the first British Director taking home the prize since Danny Boyle won in 2009 for Slumdog Millionaire.

If there is something of a black eye to the BAFTA proceedings, it’s the lack of inclusivity. All 20 acting nominees were white, and no female directors were nominated for the seventh year in a row.


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The cast and crew of 1917 | Photo: Getty Images Europe/Zimbio

Best Adapted Screenplay went to Taika Waititi for his Jojo Rabbit, and Klaus won for Best Animation, leaving the big budget favorites such as Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 clutching thin air. Micheal Ward was BAFTA’s Rising Star, and For Sama won Best Documentary. Andy Serkis was honored for Outstanding British Contribution to Film.

So on a night that anchored the British hopes for next week’s Oscars, it’s clear that prayers are being sent up for 1917 and for Sam Mendes. Do the BAFTA’s mean anything in this predicting department? Well, for the last five years, the BAFTA Best Film winner has not gone on to take home the Oscars Best Picture. Will that change this year?

The box office success of 1917 on both sides of the pond can hopefully bring that about, but all will be revealed in a week’s time. And if there is a year for the trend to change, this is as good a year as any given the love shown to 1917.

Lead photos from Getty Images via Zimbio