La La Land wins big, but it doesn’t quite sweep the BAFTAS
The BAFTAs 2017 have come and gone, and looking at the results shows a mostly unsurprising line up of winners with a few unexpected prizes. The BAFTAs are never guaranteed to go the same way of the upcoming Oscars, and while the major winners of the night will be almost identical to the Academy Awards, a few British films managed to sneak in and achieve glory on the night. Let’s break down the major awards of the evening:
Best Picture – La La Land
No surprises here. Just a few months ago, bookies were torn between this and Moonlight as the big contender come Oscar night. Unfortunately, Moonlight‘s chances of winning are looking slim in the wake of La La Land‘s runaway success; it came away empty-handed at the BAFTAs. As enjoyable and well-crafted as La La Land is, I can’t help but feel it will be looked at like Argo and Birdman in years to come – A fun film that went further than it probably should have.
Best Director – Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Again, little surprise here. Barry Jenkins wasn’t nominated for Moonlight and Ken Loach had his moment earlier in the night, so I can’t really argue with Chazelle winning for his bombastic, fast-paced work behind the lens on La La Land.
Best Actor – Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Possibly the most deserving winner of the night, Casey Affleck gave one of the greatest performances of the decades in the heartbreaking Manchester by the Sea. He’s presumably clearing space on the shelf for the Oscar he’ll soon be receiving.
Best Actress – Emma Stone, La La Land
In the most hotly-contested Best Actress line-up in years, Emma Stone beat heavyweights Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert to claim the prize for La La Land. Though Stone is hugely likable in the film, Portman deserves to take home the Oscar for her spot-on portrayal of the vulnerable Jackie.
Best Supporting Actor – Dev Patel, Lion
Beating favourite Mahershal Ali, lovable Dev Patel won the award for his turn in the popular Lion. It was nice to see the lovable Patel win on the night, but I can’t imagine the same result occurring at the Oscars.
Best Supporting Actress – Viola Davis, Fences
Davis currently looks unstoppable, defeating rivals Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris on her journey to the Oscars. It’s a shame for newcomer Hayley Squires, who did tremendous work in I, Daniel Blake but wasn’t nominated by the Academy.
Outstanding British Film – I, Daniel Blake
Who could begrudge Ken Loach winning Outstanding British Film and using his time on the podium to criticise the government for their disgraceful treatment of the poor and vulnerable? While I would have loved to see Andrea Arnold win for American Honey, I, Daniel Blake was perhaps the most important British film released last year.
There were many other winners on the evening, some surprising but worthy (Kenneth Lonergan defeated La La Land to win Best Original Screenplay, Kubo and the Two Strings won Best Animated Feature), some just unsurprising (La La Land winning Best Cinematography, last year’s favourite Son of Saul winning Best Foreign Language Film over Toni Erdmann), and a wonderful Fellowship win for Mel Brooks. It might not be considered the most important awards ceremony of the year, but it’s hard not to love the BAFTAs. It’s the only chance you’ll get to see British films having a chance of winning.
By Harry J. Ford
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