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‘The Power of the Dog’ wins Best Picture at the BAFTAs

LONDON — Sci-fi epic ‘Dune’ scooped five awards and brooding western ‘The Power of the Dog’ was named Best Picture as the British Academy Film Awards returned on Sunday with a live black-tie ceremony after a reduced pandemic event in 2021.

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion was named Best Director for ‘The Power of the Dog’, becoming the third woman to win the award in its seven-decade history.

The lead actor trophies went to Hollywood star Will Smith and British performer Joanna Scanlan as an event that overcame a historic lack of diversity recognized a wide range of talent – including its first winner of deaf actor in Troy Kotsur for “CODA”.

Last year’s awards ceremony was largely held online, with only hosts and presenters appearing in person. This year’s return to collective celebration at London’s Royal Albert Hall took place in the shadow of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

British Film Academy President Krishnendu Majumdar opened the show, hosted by Australian actor and comedian Rebel Wilson, with a message of support for Ukraine.

“We stand in solidarity with those who bravely fight for their country and we share their hope for a return to peace,” he said.

After that came the glitz, with 85-year-old diva Shirley Bassey and a live orchestra performing ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ to mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond films, Britain’s most successful cinematic export.

“Bond is 60 and his girlfriends are 25,” joked host Wilson, who toned down her usual bawdy material for the BBC’s early-night broadcast of the ceremony.

Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’, a space epic set on a desert planet, won five trophies among its 11 nominations: visual effects, production design, sound, cinematography by Greig Fraser and music by Hans Zimmer.

“The Power of the Dog,” set in 1920s Montana and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a rancher, was nominated in eight categories and won two: best picture and best director. Campion is only the third female winner in this category, but the second in two years after Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” in 2021.

Cumberbatch lost to Smith, who was nominated for best actor for his performance as the father of Serena and Venus Williams in “King Richard.”

Scanlan was the surprise Best Actress winner, beating contenders including Lady Gaga, for ‘After Love,’ Aleem Khan’s feature debut about a woman who makes a life-changing discovery after her husband’s death. .

“Some stories have surprising endings, don’t they? said an incredulous Scanlan.

Scanlan, best known as the star of the satirical television political comedy ‘The Thick of It’, said the award would open doors.

“Hopefully I get a really exciting, big short and also an audition for Bond,” she said.

“Belfast”, semi-autobiographical by Kenneth Branagh, the story of a childhood eclipsed by the violent “Troubles” of Northern Ireland, was named best British film.

Ariana DeBose poses with her Best Supporting Actress award for ‘West Side Story’ at the 75th British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) in London on March 13, 2022. Photo by Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Ariana DeBose has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s lavish musical “West Side Story.” The supporting actor award went to Kotsur for “CODA,” in which he plays the deaf father of a hearing daughter.

“Have you considered maybe a deaf James Bond? he asked in his speech delivered in sign language.

Lashana Lynch, who caused a stir as double agent 0 in the Bond thriller ‘No Time To Die’, won the rising star award, the only category chosen by public vote. She thanked “the women in this country who have taught me what it is to be in this industry as a dark-skinned woman. Thank you for laying the groundwork for people like me.

“No Time to Die” also won Best Editing.

Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-nominated drama “Drive My Car” has been named best non-English language film. “Encanto,” the story of a Colombian clan with magical powers, was named best animated feature, and 1960s Harlem musical extravaganza “Summer of Soul” won best documentary.

Sian Heder won the adapted screenplay award for “CODA”. Best Original Screenplay went to Paul Thomas Anderson for the coming-of-age story “Licorice Pizza.”

The UK awards usually take place a week or two before the Oscars and have become a milestone of awards season. This year’s Oscars take place on March 27.

Britain’s film academy has expanded its voting membership and shaken up its rules in recent years to try to address a glaring lack of diversity in nominations. In 2020, no woman was named best director for a seventh straight year, and all 20 nominees in the lead and supporting performer categories were white.

Majumdar said this year’s more diverse field showed that “change has arrived.” But the celebration of cinema was subdued, with many participants reflecting on the war raging on the other side of Europe.

Cumberbatch wore a lapel badge in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. He said it was to oppose “megalomaniac” Russian President Vladimir Putin “who is raining terror” on Ukraine.

“It’s a very scary and sad time,” he said on the red carpet. ‘While it’s a gesture, and people may say it’s hollow, it’s just something I can do tonight’ – while pressuring UK politicians to welcome more refugees of the war.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, director of the animated feature ‘Flee’, the story of an Afghan refugee, said it was ‘surreal’ to be at an awards ceremony when ‘the world is burning’ .

But he said the images of the millions driven from their homes in Ukraine underscored the message that “these stories need to be told”.

Hilary Fox contributed to this story.


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