Posts Tagged ‘Atonement’

Baftas – British Academy Awards, 2008

February 14, 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.