My BAFTA journey started with a train ride into central London, on a bitterly frosty morning. After meeting with a selection of members of the press, I was ushered onto the red carpet, having to walk the full length of the crimson material, past a selection of appreciative and adoring fans – yes, admittedly they weren’t there for a group of film bloggers – but were patiently waiting, hoping to catch a glimpse of some acting legends. I got to the press pen, took my position and waited.
Now picture this: the time was approximately 3pm, it was a freezing cold day and the ceremony didn’t commence until 7pm; that’s a blistering four hours until I would have the prospect of getting into the warmth and glamour of indoors. Of course, at times it was unbelievably arctic, but if a selection of ladies can brave the weather to look ‘sublime’ in their dresses, then I could brave it too. Albeit, they didn’t have to position themselves in one spot for hours – but anyway, my whinge is over.
Waiting with a variety of film-types always means that there’s plenty of heated conversation and discussion, but things certainly got more varied and interesting when the BBC’s premier film critic Mark Kermode dropped by for a chat. We got to discuss 3D cinema (he apparently hates it even more than I do) though he did admit that Hugo was a worthy film in spite of it, but that it could now go back to where it had gone from – ie. ‘bugger off’. After that, it was back to waiting.
In due course, famous people started to arrive! Amusingly, there’s a conspicuous hierarchy to awards events: it’s usually the “normal people” who instigate the proceedings, hastily followed by the emergence of the B-list, with the ‘best’ unleashed to fans in the closing stages – A-listers leaping out of their stretched Limousines confronting the cameras and their adorning fans.
The first wave of notable guests that made their way up the carpet included George Clooney’s writing and producing partner Grant Heslov and X-Files star Gillian Anderson. Heslov was nominated for a screen writing award for The Ides of March, while Anderson was simply presenting one. This was proceeded by the likes of Kenneth Branagh and Terry Gilliam arriving, with Branagh spending quite a while on the press-line. The Irish born actor-director has had something of a career comeback having directed box office hit Thor and BAFTA nominated for best supporting actor in My Week With Marilyn. The recognition is much deserved.
Chatting with Paul and Shaun of the Dead star, Nick Frost, (who was representing Tintin) he dropped a few hints on the latest instalment “Cornetto trilogy” with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. He has in his possession the first draft of the script so the ball is definitely in motion for this film. Frost also mentioned that Tintin 2 looks to be a certainty, with Peter Jackson directing.
A galaxy of other stars flew past including Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Ralph Fiennes and Thor stars Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, who all hugged it out on the red carpet. Mad Men stars Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks also made an appearance, delivering a touch of old-fashioned star quality in the process. Diminutive Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe (he is TINY in the flesh!) spent a while talking to members of the press; Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton arrived offering some off-beat style to proceedings and Michael Fassbender added a touch of Celtic charm. Fassbender was nominated for the senselessly overlooked film, Shame.
Then it was time for the big guns, of course: George Clooney and Brad Pitt. The pair worked the red carpet with impressive authority and grandeur. The duo (working separately) criss-crossed the red carpet copious times, conversing with press and fans alike. Clooney made his way to the “bloggers pen” and graciously thanked everyone for coming. We exchanged a few words and he shook my hand. (And yes, ladies, he looks just as good in reality.)
Once the guests had all arrived, I was ushered into the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre where we all watched and then discussed the films nominated, winners and losers, etc., with host Alex Zane and a guest panel. When the awards ceremony was over we were joined by Rising Star Winner Adam Decon, who gave another passionate speech, thanking his fans and everyone who voted for him.
The Artist was deservedly the chief winner of the night, beating Tinker Tailor Solider Spy and Drive ( another overlooked film at this awards ceremony.) All in all, will the final outome at the BAFTAs be a sign of things to come for the Oscars? Perhaps for some (The Artist is sure to dominate proceedings) though I would venture a guess that Brad and George will be more successful on American soil. Let’s wait and see.
You can check out all of the winners below:
Outstanding British Film
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer – The Help
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
Tyrannosaur – Paddy Considine (director), Diarmid Scrimshaw (producer)
Best Foreign Language Film
The Skin I Live In (Spain)
Best Animated Feature Film
Best Original Screenplay
The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius
Best Adapted Screenplay
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan
Best Original Score
The Artist – Ludovic Bource
The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman
Senna – Gregers Sall, Chris King
Special Visual Effects
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Make-up and Hair
The Iron Lady
A Morning Stroll
Pitch Black Heist
Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)