Boyhood and Theory Of Everything win BAFTA’s top gongs, while Birdman and Imitation Game get the cold shoulder. Plus: Highlights from the night!

Coming-of-age drama Boyhood scooped three prizes including best film and director at Britain’s biggest film awards on Feb 9, while The Grand Budapest Hotel took five gongs but missed out on the most prestigious awards.

The Theory Of Everything garnered three awards including leading actor at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards hosted by comedian Stephen Fry, but The Imitation Game failed to convert any of its nine nominations.

Richard Linklater won the director award for Boyhood, which he filmed over a 12-year period using the same cast. Patricia Arquette, who won the supporting actress award for her role as a single mother, said Linklater had “made an ordinary story extraordinary”.

Eddie Redmayne took the leading actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, a celebrated cosmologist who is paralysed by motor neuron disease, in The Theory of Everything. The film also won the award for outstanding British film.

Redmayne said Hawking and his family had closely supported the film’s production. The physicist attended the ceremony and received a standing ovation as he presented the special visual effects award to space-faring epic Interstellar.

Ethan Hawke (R) hugs Steve Carell after Carell presented him with the BAFTA for best director, which Hawke accepted on behalf of Richard Linklater for Boyhood.

 

Henry Cavill (L) and Chris Evans pose with Julianne Moore after presenting her with the BAFTA for best leading actress for Still Alice – Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

 

Jack O’Connell celebrates after winning the best rising star award at the BAFTAs. – Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

 

The award for leading actress went to Julianne Moore for her portrayal of a linguistics professor grappling with Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice. J.K. Simmons won the supporting actor category for his portrayal of a domineering jazz teacher in Whiplash. The film, shot by American director Damien Chazellein just 19 days, also picked up the awards for editing and sound.

Twenty-four-year-old British actor Jack O’Connell picked up the Rising Star award, the only prize voted on by the public.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, the story of a legendary concierge and his young protégé, won the awards for original screenplay, costume design, production design, make-up & hair, and original music. Mexican Emmanuel Lubezki won the cinematography award for his work on Birdman, but the show business satire failed to pick up the big prizes that some commentators had tipped it for.

Boogaloo and Graham, the story of two boys growing up in Belfast, won British short film, and Citizenfour, the story of US government whistleblower Edward Snowden directed by Laura Poitras, won the documentary award. The Lego Movie won the animated film category, and The Bigger Picture won the British short animation category.

Stephen Beresford and David Livingstone won the Debut award for writing and producing Pride, the story of an unlikely collaboration between gay activists and miners during the British miners’ strike of 1984. Polish film Ida took the award for the best film in a language other than English.

Fry joked about his recent marriage – one of the most high-profile same-sex unions since they became legal in the UK last year – and paid tribute to the late British actor and director Richard Attenborough.

The BAFTAs are the major awards in the British film industry, and are among a series of such events culminating in the Oscars, the top prizes in the movie world, due to be handed out in Los Angeles on Feb 22. – REUTERS

NEXT PAGE: Best of the BAFTAs – Highlights from the UK’s biggest film night!

Best of the BAFTAs – Highlights from the UK’s biggest film night! 

From a wheelchair-bound Stephen Hawking taking to the stage to an emotional tribute for late director Richard Attenborough, it was a memorable night at the BAFTA awards ceremony on Sunday Feb 9. Here are some of the highlights as up-and-coming actors joined Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Cruise for the event at London’s Royal Opera House:

■ Award presenters this year included Hawking, the theoretical physicist and motor neurone disease sufferer who is the subject the award-winning biopic The Theory Of Everything. As he took to the stage, Hawking received a standing ovation. He joked that he was not only more intelligent but also “better-looking” than the night’s host, comedian Stephen Fry.

■ Eddie Redmayne, who scooped best actor for portraying Hawking, told AFP that he spent four months in a London clinic “trying to educate myself on the disease” and worked with a dancer to “find the specifics of Stephen’s physicality in my body”.

■ Tom Cruise and David Beckham also took to the podium, along with Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, who are in London filming the new James Bond movie Spectre.

■ J.K. Simmons, who won best supporting actor for his role as a fearsome music teacher in Whiplash, told AFP that the script was “one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I have ever read”.

■ Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays troubled World War II code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, said on the red carpet that the role of the persecuted gay man had become a “cause” and “real passion” for him. Cumberbatch also lent his support to save the Soho neighbourhood from gentrification, saying it was “a unique part of London’s cultural life”.

■ In a pre-recorded message, Robert Downey Jr paid tribute to Attenborough with lines from the late director’s film Chaplin which he starred in saying: “Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by.” Prince William also praised Attenborough’s “passion for nurturing, supporting and developing talent”.

■ British director Mike Leigh was honoured with a career achievement award previously won by Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg. Leigh has won three BAFTAs and is best known for Naked (1993), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Vera Drake (2004). His work has often been about working-class lives and showed particular anger against former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Citizenfour, the film about US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, won for best documentary but there was no one to collect the award. Director Laura Poitras fears prosecution in Britain for revealing state secrets and currently lives in Berlin.

■ Serge Pizzorno of the rock band Kasabian, which played at the ceremony, had his own take on the night’s strict dress code, wearing a white T-shirt with “black tie” written on it.

■ The animal rights group PETA gave official approval to the night’s vegan menu, featuring quinoa salad, asparagus, roasted butternut squash and sun-blushed tomato lasagne with wilted spinach. – AFP