BAFTA’s decision to heap the majority of its gongs on home-favourite The King’s Speech hardly comes as surprise. The age old question of whether the British ceremony is ‘right’ to champion British film – or even as to whether it actually does this – will rumble on. But it’s hard to feel too aggrieved when a good film wins awards, even if one or two of its nods were perhaps a little misjudged (was Helena Bonham Carter’s the best supporting actress performance of the year? Ah well, it’s difficult to begrudge her success). Its seven-strong haul makes it an even stronger contender at the Oscars in a couple of weeks, where it is generally expected to do well, although some of its wins at the British ceremony are far from locked down across the pond.
Colin Firth will obviously win the Best Actor category at the Oscars (as he did here) and Aaron Sorkin (another winner) is nailed-on favourite for the Adapted Screenplay award. In these two awards the Oscars are likely to follow the BAFTAs. They may well also follow BAFTA in giving the oft-nominated Roger Deakins (Cinematography) his long-deserved recognition (this time for True Grit) and slap David Fincher on the back as director of The Social Network. Some found it surprising that Tom Hooper didn’t win the directing category for The King’s Speech, but the voters clearly didn’t want to leave out the film that may well get some success in a fortnight, and it seems somehow right, given the Brit-focus of the event, that Fincher took home the award. I use the phrase ‘took home’ lightly as he wasn’t there (maybe he didn’t think he had a shot?) and Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield accepted it on his behalf. Geoffrey Rush (also absent) won the Best Supporting Actor category.
Natalie Portman wasn’t in attendance either to pick up her award for Best Actress, though she is currently rather pregnant and so has a good excuse. Her director Darren Aronofsky picked it up for her. Toy Story 3, to nobody’s surprise, walked away as Best Animated Picture. After all the awards were handed out Christopher Lee gave a humble speech on reception of the BAFTA Fellowship to round off the evening. All in all it was an evening of few surprises, but in general good films took home the big awards, and there are still some big fights to resolve come Oscar time.