Hollywood romantic musical “La La Land” on Sunday won five awards out of its eleven nominations at the 70th BAFTA Awards. The ceremony, where Indian-origin British actor Dev Patel bagged the Best Supporting Actor honour for “Lion”, also saw celebrities making political statements uninhibitedly.
“La La Land”, a feel-good movie exuding an old world charm, clinched the Best Film title, along with a Best Director for Damien Chazelle, Best Leading Actress for Emma Stone, Best Cinematography for Linus Sandgren and Best Original Music for Justin Hurwitz.
The movie’s lead star Ryan Gosling missed out on the Best Actor going to Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” and Chazelle was pipped to the Best Original Screenplay prize by Kenneth Lonergan for the same film. But largely, the awards at the historic Royal Albert Hall were spread widely.
Movies like “Manchester by the Sea”, “Fences”, “Lion”, “Arrival”, “Hacksaw Ridge”, “Jackie” and “Florence Foster Jenkins” won, while “Moonlight” seemed to have been eclipsed by them all at the gala, attended by Duke of Cambridge Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
Prince William awarded the BAFTA Fellowship to 90-year-old comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks, who said it was “mighty nice” of the BAFTA heads to choose an American for the prestigious honour.
In the Supporting Actor category, Dev Patel’s act in “Lion” — which also won the Best Adapted Screenplay title for Luke Davies — won among the men, and among the women, Viola Davis took home the honour.
Davis commented on the anomaly that the awards season has diverse nominees this year, telegraph.co.uk reported.
She also took a dig at US President Donald Trump, saying, “Anyone who labels Meryl Streep ‘overrated’ doesn’t know anything about acting”.
It was earlier reported that BAFTA heads had fears that this year’s ceremony will be full of celebrities vocalising their political standpoint. And as expected, many of them spoke out.
Lonergan told the audience how his 15-year-old daughter had woken in tears after Donald Trump was elected US President, but had since been on five protest marches since, theguardian.com reported.
“I’m very, very proud of her,” he added.
Before the official start of the ceremony itself, BAFTA chair Jane Lush commented on diversity issues within the industry. Lush said it was shocking that in the 21st Century “your gender, race, and background can still hold you back”.
Lush also remarked on the success of British talent in US films, commenting that she feared “someone might build a wall across the Atlantic to keep us out”, reported variety.com.
Also, Stephen Fry, who was hosting the gala for the 12th time, took a swipe at Trump. While welcoming veteran actress Meryl Streep to the ceremony, he said Streep was “one of the greatest actresses of all-time. Only a blithering idiot would think otherwise.”
Ken Loach, whose gritty movie “I, Daniel Blake” won the Outstanding British Film award, spoke passionately about BAFTA endorsing a truth “that the most vulnerable and poorest people are treated by this (British) government with a contempt and a callous brutality that is disgraceful”.
Other award winners — “Jackie” won the Best Costume Design Award, “Arrival” won Best Sound, “Hacksaw Ridge” won Best Editing, and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” got Best Production Design.
Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes’s “Son of Saul” won the Best Film Not in the English Language, while “Kubo and the Two Strings” emerged as a surprise winner in the Animated Film category, and “The Jungle Book” won for special visual effects.
Now with “La La Land” registering maximum wins at BAFTA Awards, all eyes are on the Oscars — to be held on Februay in Los Angeles — where the film has 14 nominations.