Three Billboards dominates with five wins at blacked out Baftas 2018

Team Udayavani, Feb 20, 2018, 9:51 AM IST

London: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” continued its golden run at this year’s award season by winning five major trophies, including the Best Film and Best Actress for Frances McDormand, at the largely predictable Baftas.

Like every other awards show this year, the red carpet of the 71st British Academy Film Awards was drowned in black, the colour of choice for celebrities standing in solidarity with the Time’sUp and #MeToo movements.

McDormand moved a step closer to her second Oscar trophy for Best Actress, by bagging her first Bafta for her performance in the Martin McDonagh-directed crime drama that revolves around an angry mother who goes to extremes to keep the investigation focused on her daughter’s murder.

The actor, who has been dominating the stage with her witty speeches, once again had the audiences in splits as she declared her issues with “compliance” to explain her choice of a colourful gown instead of a black one. “As Martin said I have a little trouble with compliance but I want you to know I stand in alliance with my sisters in black,” she said. In her short and sassy address, the 60-year-old star also credited her directors for writing roles that showed her “hidden potential”.

“When I was a young actor in drama school, I was told that I was not naturally gifted and I’ll have to work at it. And so I did,” she said. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was also recognised for Original Screenplay for McDonagh, Best British Film, and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell. “Our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways but it’s also an angry one, and as we’ve seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change, so we’re thrilled that Bafta has recognised this,” McDonagh said as he accepted the award for Best Film.

Fantasy drama “The Shape of Water” earned Guillermo del Toro his maiden Bafta in the Best Director category. The filmmaker had won a Bafta for his 2007 Spanish film “Pan’s Labyrinth” in the Best Film Not in the English Language segment.

The director praised the English culture for inspiring him. He paid tributes to the legacy of Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel but singled out novelist Mary Shelly for special praise. “… She gave voice to the voiceless and presence to the invisible, and she showed me that sometimes to talk about monsters, we need to fabricate monsters our own, and parables do that for us,” he said while crediting the creator of tragic monster Victor Frankenstein.

The director’s film, which chronicles a unique bond between a lab cleaning lady and a sea monster, bagged a total of three awards (including Original Music and Production Design) despite scoring 12 nods. Gary Oldman won the Best Actor in a Leading Role award for playing former British PM Winston Churchill in the World War II drama, “Darkest Hour”. The actor remembered Churchill on his third Bafta victory, describing how the British statesman “in those dark uncertain days in 1940 held the line for honour, for integrity and freedom, for his nation”. The Joe Wright directorial also won the Bafta in the Make Up and Hair category.

Daniel Kaluuya may have missed out on the Best Actor award but he won the EE Rising Star award for his performance in “Get Out”. On his first Bafta win, the actor gave an emotional speech in which he thanked his mother and also expressed his gratitude to the British arts for funding artistes like him. Alison Janney won her first Bafta for her portrayal of LaVona Fay Golden, the mother of disgraced figure skater, Tonya Harding, in the film “I, Tonya”. In the run-up for the 2018 Academy Awards, the Baftas saw a pattern emerge with McDormand, Janney, Oldman and Rockwell winning in their respective nominated categories.

Prince William presented director Ridley Scott with a Fellowship at the Baftas and the director jokingly chided the British Academy for its delay in honouring him. “Big boys don’t get upset and I’m quite upset right now. It’s been 40 years in this business and this is the first time they’ve ever given me anything. So I’m not going to go quietly,” he said as he launched into a long speech. Host for the evening, Joanna Lumley became the first female presenter at the Baftas as she took the baton from last season’s emcee Stephen Fry. This comes barely a month after actor Kristen Bell became the “First Lady” to present Screen Guild Awards.

Lumley acknowledged the role of the suffragettes in the women’s movement, especially in the post Harvey Weinstein sex scandal expose. “This ceremony is not just about the famous people. But anyway, let’s have a look at the famous people here tonight,” she said in her opening comments.

The celebrities attending the Bafta Awards turned up at the red carpet of the event in black in solidarity with #TimesUp, except McDormand and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She courted some controversy with her green Jenny Packham dress, with a black sash underneath her bust, which accentuated her seven-month baby bump – a nod some recognised, while others said it is forbidden for members of the royal family to react on political protests or movements. “Phantom Thread” bagged its sole Bafta in Best Costume segment, like “Coco” and “Call Me By Your Name” for Best Animation and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively. Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” also managed to score one Bafta in the Best Sound category.

The award for Best Editing went to “Baby Driver”. South Korean erotic psychological thriller “The Handmaiden” won the Bafta for Film Not in the English. “Blade Runner 2049” won in two segments – Best Cinematography and Best Special Visual Effects. “Cowboy Dave” and “Poles Apart” won the Baftas for Best Short and Best Short Animation. While “I Am Not A Witch” was recognised as the Outstanding Debut by British Writer, Director or Producer, “I Am Not Your Negro” won award for Best Documentary.

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