Baftas – British Academy Awards, 2008



Let’s face it – the Oscars are rubbish. They’re a highly-predictable, self-congratulatory backslap, filled with wailing starlets dedicating their success to God and egotistical directors believing themselves to be untouchable. Every time you have to sit through more and more tedious dance interpretations, undeserving wins and Celine Dion performances, just to find out who was the lucky recipient of the tactical voting this year. And they go on for hours… hours and hours and hours…

But they may not happen this year because of the writers strike… well, they will happen this year… but that doesn’t matter, because there’s a chance they won’t… either way, the possibility of no Hollywood red carpet this year was enough to send the American royalty scuttling over the pond for their one definite chance to wear a tux this season – the British Academy Film Awards – and thusly lent the event more kudos and importance.

And it worked too… free of the faux-worship and celebrity-deification that scuppers the Oscars each year, the BAFTAs was a relatively classy and refined affair that seemed to actually celebrate the movies and not the paychecks that come with them. And they brought it in at just over two hours, including a half hour break for the news!

The broadcast ceremony began in the best possible way by fucking up the audio link and rendering the first 10 minutes inaudible. This meant that only were we mercifully saved from Jonathon Ross’s no doubt hilarious opening monologue, but that all accompanying clips and soundbites were smeared with an ominous echoing and deep rumble – fantastic! Avant garde cinema at it’s best.

Then they fixed it and just in time to for Rambo to give the award for best British Film to This is England. Brilliant! A totally deserving win, followed by a funny and humble acceptance speech. No ego, no harrumphing, no glorious self worship – just a good film getting an award that it should have. Bring it on!

The rest of the night pretty much followed suit – big names came out and gave prizes to films that really wouldn’t get a look in at the Oscars and there was no one big winner, no one film that swept the board. It kept the event interesting and reflected the highly unusual levels of worth within this years’ nominees.

There were a few predictable wins – Daniel Day Lewis for best actor, Javier Barden for supporting actor – but the majority were unexpected, or at least wide open in a well deserved field. Marion Cotillard winning best actress for the fantastic La Vie En Rose was a terrific moment, as was the Diving Bell and the Butterfly picking up best adapted screenplay.

Atonement, the 14 category nominated super horse, only won two awards and while it was fun to see Keira’s face dropping at each loss for a while, you were really rooting for it by the end. And it won best film… which I don’t mind too much, they obviously put a lot of hard work into making a well-received film and after every other good movie had picked up and award or two it seemed only fair that Atonement should get the big one. The only sour note, really, was the producer of said film assessing their win on stage;

“well, we only won 2 and we were nominated for so many, but we got the big one and I suppose that’s the important thing”

…before going on to say how nice it was that the other films got a look in.

I never thought I’d write this post, I never thought I could write a good review of yet another fucking awards ceremony – but this year they appear to have got it right. The awards were largely just, the speeches free from excess and Jonathon Ross did himself proud – although you could tell from his face that he was itching to crack a Heath Ledger joke after the in-memoriam section.

American writers should strike more often.

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34 Responses to “Baftas – British Academy Awards, 2008”

  1. Swineshead Says:

    I can’t hack awards ceremonies. All round smuggery and turds in suits.

    (I’ve never won an award in my life)


  2. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Bloody awards ceremonies. You wouldn’t catch me at one. Not unless it was the 1984 General Accident road safety poster competition awards (regional winners).

    Oh yes.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    Now I think about it…

    Carre’s Grammar School Junior Award for Drama for performance in Charley’s Aunt, 1996.

    I put out the wrong hand to shake when Scabby presented the award to me and everyone laughed at me.


  4. Swineshead Says:

    This is Medlo’s third article this week, by the way. He’s saving our lazy arses.

  5. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Ha ha! The 1993 Carre’s Grammar School special drama prize (they made me a special tankard after I wrote an abusive letter to the headmaster demanding to know why they’d given the gong to that rat Matthew Morrissey), AND the 1989 Carre’s Grammar School reading something out loud prize (I forget the award’s official title). Add that to my first prize in the 1984 General Accident road safety poster competition (regional finals), and I think we know who’s smugly adjusting his cuffs and smirking at the ladies at this point. Eh?

  6. Swineshead Says:

    I simply can’t top that.

    I got my bronze at swimming and my bronze at D of E – if that helps.

  7. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    A bronze at swimming hardly amounts to a hill of beans when you put it against the towering achievement that is the 1984 General Accident road safety poster competition (regional) winner’s prize. I laughed when I collected my prize from the mayor of Nottingham in 1984 – laughed because I knew that, twenty four years later, I would be a colossus of the unimpressive prize-winning world.

  8. Swineshead Says:

    How about this then – I won a quiz on Radio Lincolnshire THREE WEEKS IN A ROW and they sent me three batches of never-played shit records in the post, six of which arrived smashed, having been on the outer layer of the parcel.

  9. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Hmmm. I still reckon I’m ahead of you.

  10. Dave Medlo Says:

    Hmmm. I once won a t-shirt and badge in a Batman competition around the release of the first Tim Burton film, although it later turned out that my neighbours either side also won which made me feel particulary unspecial.

  11. Swineshead Says:

    Well feel unspecial no more, Daveo, for I am pleased, in fact honoured, to award you with


    *presents mouldy shitbread engraved with ‘dave’ to Dave*

  12. Rosszszsss Says:

    I entered a late ’80s Blue Peter competition entitled ‘Giants of the Land and Sea’ not understanding that it was meant to be pictures of blue whales and elephants and giraffes, and instead sent in a beautifully rendered picture of a giant standing in the sea, looking at some land. It didn’t win.

    Congratulations on the 1984 General Accident road safety poster competition (regional) win, NC, that is the sort of achievement of which I can only dream.

  13. mikey Says:

    Rosszszsss- Thats so sweet! Do you still have the picture?

  14. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Thanks for that, Rosssszszzssssszs. I’d also like to point out at this juncture that, although it’s not a prize, I also had a picture in Tony Hart’s gallery on the telly when I was a wee boy. As I say, it wasn’t a prize, but by God, did it feel like one.

  15. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    3 blue peter badges here. Oh yes.

  16. Dave Medlo Says:

    Aaaaw, shucks. Thanks… I feel a little more special now.
    Maybe I’ll win it without the Liam ammendment when I reveal I’ve just written another and it’s winging it’s way to you now…

  17. Swineshead Says:

    I think you might equal my non-record – I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 4.
    Exciting eh?

    It’s all go in here today.


  18. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I was going to write one on Lilly Allen and Friends. I haven’t watched it, of course, I just didn’t think you’d want a review that went:

    Lilly Allen and Friends is an abomination.

    I assume I’m correct?

  19. Swineshead Says:

    Might be a bit short.
    I agree, mind you. I actually watched it.

  20. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Lily Allen has friends?

  21. Swineshead Says:

    Thousands, according to myspace.

    Having said that, I’ve got over a hundred on facebook, but it seems to be based on the theory that people I’ve met once or twice are my ‘friends’.

    It’s a weird old world wide web.

  22. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Are you under some sort of court order to watch every piece of shit BBC3 sticks on the box? Your brain will boil.

  23. Swineshead Says:

    No – I am just an idiot.

  24. Dave Medlo Says:

    I caught the first few minutes of Lily Allen, entirely by accident… and it was indeed an abomination. I switched off when a few of her ‘friends’ told a funny story and got elevated to the bar, complete with a musical sting and wakcy graphic…

    And is Lily really friends with Cuba Gooding Jr, or was he just in town and in desperate need of some money….?

    In fairness, she was quite charming – in a horrible ‘I am soooo kooky’ kind of way – but the show made C4’s ‘Whatever’ seem like a masterpiece of ideas and production values.

  25. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I watched a film called Wrong Turn 2: Dead End t’other day. At the start a hillbilly bites off a woman’s lower lip, then another hillbilly cuts her clean in half with an axe. Those are the sort of friends BBC3 should be cultivating for our Lilly.

  26. Swineshead Says:

    I saw the first Wrong Turn – it was bloody rubbish.
    Hills Have Eyes remake was pretty good though, especially the bit with the baby.

  27. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    This new one’s foul. Guts all over the shop. It wasn’t as bad as Alien V Predator: Requiem, mind. I watched that shit last night and couldn’t believe how far the Alien franchise has fallen (yes, even further than AVP). If there was ever a horror series that was in dire need of rescue from a decent screenwriter, director etc., it’s Alien. Predator, on the other hand, started out shite and went down hill from there … so fuck that.

  28. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    She and Amy Winehouse need to be taken to Noel Edmond’s House (after the Party) and the three of them will be drowned in green custard for the nation’s amusement. Now that’s entertainment.

  29. Swineshead Says:

    You actually wish them dead, John?
    Absent would do me, dead seems a bit much.

  30. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Amy Winehouse is the antichrist.

  31. Gilbert Wham Says:

    Predator? Shite? What about that scene in Predator 2 where unnamed Colombian Gunman huffs an entire snuffbox of cocaine, turns purple and goes mad with a machine-pistol? It is, without doubt, one of the most moving pieces of cinema ever.

  32. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Like I say, shite.

  33. Clarry Says:

    Swineshead, did you actually say you enjoyed ‘The Hills Have Eyes’? That was dreadful….

  34. Swineshead Says:

    I enjoy shitty horror films – we all have our vices.

    I am the sort of person who screams ‘YES! CARNAGE!’ when death is simulated onscreen.

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