Professor Stephen Hawking and the surprisingly good British weather were amongst the stars of the show at the 68th BAFTA Awards ceremony.
At London’s Royal Opera House, Host Stephen Fry introduced the 68th EE BAFTAs by making a reference to the night’s weather, which for the first time in many years, didn’t involve rain.
Making his entrance to “Uptown Funk”, Fry described the BAFTAs as “that most glorious of occasions when the heavens open and the great and the good of the industry rain down upon us,” adding: “It may be dry outside but in here it’s simply pissing down with stars.”
Those stars included David Beckham, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke, Julie Walters, Kristin Scott Thomas, Noomi Rapace, Jesse Eisenberg, Ralph Fiennes and surprise guest Tom Cruise, who handed out the Best Film prize.
Despite winning the top prizes for Boyhood, director Richard Linklater wasn’t present as he was attending the Directors Guild Awards (where he lost out to Birdman director Alejandro Inarritu) along with fellow nominees Wes Anderson and Inarritu who were also at the LA awards show.
British rock group Kasabian opened the show, accompanied by a montage of highlights from the 2014 year in film, although they couldn’t top last year’s opening act, Tinie Tempah, who high-fived BAFTA’s President Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who was not in attendance this evening.
Last year, Fry persuaded Leonardo DiCaprio to blow a kiss to the camera, but this year he took it one step further by heading out into the audience and demanding kisses from Birdman stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.
Fry also ended up kissing presenter Cuba Gooding Jr later in the evening after the actor had said he was “deeply hurt” that Fry hadn’t chosen him to smooch.
Star of the show
Professor Stephen Hawking – who presented the award for Best Visual Effects Award, appropriately to Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar – was the star of the show, receiving a standing ovation and the biggest laugh of the night when he joked that he was “better looking” than Stephen Fry.
Meanwhile, Fry made reference to the Sony hacking scandal, when he said: “No matter what the changes in technology, the moving image will never be anything without story. For that all you need is a story to tell. And no one, not even Kim Jong–Bloody-Il, can stop you.”
Outstanding British Film
David Beckham presented the award for Outstanding British Film to The Theory Of Everything.
Producer Eric Fellner said: “In a year of amazing British Films, this is a real honour. It’s been an incredible ride. Without a great story there is no film. We hope we’ve done you proud.”
Alexandre Desplat was presented with the award for Original Music for The Grand Budapest Hotel by Holiday Grainger and Nimrat Kaur.
Desplat said he was “very moved and honoured to be here,” paying tribute to director Wes Anderson. “He is unique, his world is like no one elses.”
CitizenFour – about Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal - was named Best Documentary, although director Laura Poitras was not in attendance to collect her award.
- INTERVIEW: Laura Poitras
Hair and Makeup/Costume Design/Production Design
Francis Hannon and Mark Coulier picked up the BAFTA for best hair and makeup design for their work on The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The award was presented by actresses Lea Seydoux and Monica Belucci, who are currently in the UK shooting new James Bond movie Spectre at Pinewood Studios.
Seydoux said it was a department that was “dear to our hearts.”
The Grand Budapest Hotel also triumphed in the Costume Design category, while Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock won the Production Design award for the film.
- INTERVIEW: Adam Stockhausen
“Wes, the worlds you create are so constantly inspiring. To bring about The Grand Budapest Hotel is a dream come true,” said Stockhausen, who shared the award with his “outstanding art department”.
Short Film/Short Animation
Northern Irish short film Boogaloo And Graham, directed by Michael Lennox and presented by George McKay and Olivia Grant, won the BAFTA for Best Short.
Belfast based director Lennox called it “an unbelievable honour. We’re so proud to be from Northern Ireland, when the film industry is going so so well.”
Producer Brian J Falconer also thanked Northern Ireland Screen saying: “We couldn’t have done it without them.” Boogaloo And Graham will now go forward to compete for the Oscar.
Meanwhile, Daisy Jacob’s The Bigger Picture was named Best British Short Animation. Jacobs said “A massive thankyou to BAFTA and my crew.”
Dougray Scott and Phoebe Fox presented the Editing BAFTA to Tom Cross for his work on Whiplash.
Cross described Whiplash director Damian Chazelle as “god’s gift to film editors.”
“The hours were long and the schedule was the most ridiculous I’ve ever had. But working with you was a pure joy,” Cross said, adding “London, thank you for making my night.”
Whiplash also triumphed in the Sound category. “To be nominated is a real honour, to win is sublime,” said Thomas Curley who collected the award together with Ben Wilkins and Craig Mann.
The Lego Movie – a surprise shuout from this year’s Oscar nominations - triumphed over The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6 in the Animation category.
- INTERVIEW: Phil Lord & Chistopher Miller
Describing BAFTA as our “favourite Academy by far”, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller joked: “This is the end of the awards road for us. There are no consequences, nothing to lose, we can say anything we like.”
Special Visual Effects
Professor Stephen Hawking – the subject of Best Film nominee The Theory Of Everything - received a standing ovation when he came onstage to present the Special Visual Effects BAFTA together with Felicity Jones.
Jones said she was “particularly pleased to be presenting this award with the only person on the planet more intelligent than Stephen Fry”.
To which Professor Hawking added: “Yes, and better looking.”
The award, appropriately went to Double Negative’s Paul Franklin and Andrew Lockley together with Scott Fisher and Ian Hunter for their work on Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
Franklin thanked “our fearless leader Christopher Nolan” on “some of the most extraordinary images I’ve ever been involved with”.
Kicking off the acting categories, the Supporting Actor BAFTA went to hot favourite JK Simmons for his performance in Whiplash.
Simmons accepted his BAFTA from Reese Witherspoon, thanking director Damian Chazelle for “the gift of this character and the gift of this movie to the world. This whole experience has been a gift to me.”
- INTERVIEW: JK Simmons
With a Golden Globe and a BAFTA under his belt, now looks like a firm favourite for the Supporting Actor Oscar.
Cuba Gooding Jnr, presenting the Supporting Actress BAFTA to Patricia Arquette (who Fry accidentally called Rosanna earlier in the ceremony) for her performance in Boyhood.
Arquette paid tribute to her fellow nominees and thanked Ethan Hawke for “making me a better actor”.
Arquette thanked Linklater: “I’ve been in many films, many of which weren’t acknowledged until later. You broke all the rules of cinema and you made an ordinary story, extraordinary.”
Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema
BBC Films was the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Cinema, presented by Julie Walters and Ralph Fiennes.
Fiennes got into character when he joked that he wished he could have had Stephen Fry “as my lobby boy,” before paying tribute to the “bloody good work” done by BBC Films.
Head of BBC Films, Christine Langan collected the award saying: “The most important thank you of all goes to every one of the writers, producers and directors we have worked with. We love bringing your babies to the screen.”
Michael Keaton picked up the Cinematography BAFTA on behalf of Emmanuel Lubezki for his work on Birdman, calling him a “true artist”.
Martin Freeman and BAFTA Rising Star nominee Gugu Mbatha-Raw presented the award.
Outstanding Debut by a British writer, director of producer
Livingstone said it was “odd to be here without [the film’s director] Matthew Warchus. Matthew helmed this and was our leader.”
Original Screenplay/Adapted Screenplay
Julianne Moore admitted that she was “hungry” when she came up on the stage to present the BAFTA for Original Screenplay (although it didn’t prompt Fry to follow in Ellen DeGeneras’s footsteps and order in pizza), which went to Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Ralph Fiennes collected the award on behalf of Anderson, reading out a letter from him which joked: “I’m actually really angry and resentful that I’m not there. I blame the Directors Guild of America for requiring my presence in LA where I have most likely failed to win a prize.”
Writer Anthony McCarten, who won the Adapted Screenplay BAFTA for The Theory Of Everything, quoted Hawking - “Who are we, why are we here. When we know this it will be the ultimate triumph of human reason,” - when he accepted his award from Jesse Eisenberg and Noomi Rapace.
Film Not In the English Language
Ida triumphed in the Foreign Film Category, which was presented by Alice Eve and Star Wars actor John Boyega. The film picked up the European Film Award top prize back in December and is now a hot favourite for the Foreign Language Oscar.
Director Pawel Pawlikowski joked: “I once won a BAFTA for newcomer, then British film, and now this. I think we should skip the formalities and give me a life time, global achievement award.”
- INTERVIEW: Pawel Pawlikowski
He dedicated his award to Chris Collins, the BFI executive who died last year. “He was the noblest, greatest guy I met in the film industry. Chris, I’m missing you here.”
EE Rising Star Award
Unbroken actor Jack O’Connell proved a popular winner of the EE Rising Star Award, which was presented by James McAvoy, who won the prize himself in 2006.
The Derby born actor paid tribute to the Nottingham based TV Workshop and his teacher Ian Smith, where he “cut his teeth”.
Ethan Hawke collected the Best Director BAFTA on behalf of Richard Linklater for Boyhood. Explaining that Linklater wasn’t present because he had been “hijacked by the Directors Guild Awards,” Hawke added: “There is no one in this room who loves cinema more than Richard Linklater.”
- INTERVIEW: Richard Linklater
Presenter Steve Carrell joked that he was “here to suck up to the five nominees for Best Director”, although along with Linklater, Wes Anderson and Alejandro Inarritu were also not present at the ceremony.
The Leading Actor Award went to Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.
Picking up his prize from Kristin Scott Thomas, he said: “I was lucky enough to come to the BAFTAs a year or two ago. I was suffering from a severe bout of food poisoning and it was one of the worst nights of my life. This is one of the best nights of my life.”
- INTERVIEW: Eddie Redmayne
He dedicated the award to “three families - my own family, my professional family – Felicity Jones you are a wonder, James Marsh you took such a gargantuan punt on me and one incredible family – The Hawkins and the Hellyer Jones’s - they are here this evening. I would like to thank them for our trust in us.”
Superheroes Henry Cavill and Chris Evans presented the Leading Actress BAFTA to the hot favourite Julianne Moore for her performance as an Alzheimer’s sufferer in Still Alice.
She said: “Thank you for including me amongst these beautiful performances.”
- INTERVIEW: Julianne Moore
The Best Film BAFTA went to Boyhood, presented by surprise attendee Tom Cruise, who Fry introduced saying: “OMFG, it’s Tom Fucking Cruise”.
The award was collected by the film’s producer Cathleen Sutherland and the film’s lead actor Ellar Coltrane, who said: “The truth is, it didn’t really feel like a movie when we were making it. It felt more like an exercise in collaboration.
“The beautiful thing I’ve learned is that when you make yourself vulnerable, you make everyone else around you vulnerable as well.”
The Fellowship Award
British director Mike Leigh was honoured with the BAFTA’s Fellowship Award. He was presented with the prize by his regular collaborators Imelda Staunton and Sally Hawkins.
Leigh said: “This is very nice indeed. I’ve never appeared on this stage before. What a stimulating evening we’ve had celebrating this wonderful diverse medium.”
Perhaps making reference to the lack of BAFTA nominations for his latest film Mr Turner (Timothy Spall was a surprise snub in the best actor category), Leigh said: “I know some people expected me to be rude this evening but sorry folks, you’re in for a disappointment.
“You, BAFTA, are a demographic gang. What is important for me is that you’ve awarded me this fellowship. This is a sign of your respect for offbeat, alternative, original, idiosyncratic, personal kind of cinema.”
Referring to raising funding for his non-scripted films, Leigh said: To those backers who said yes, a big loving thank you. To those bone heads, philistines and uninspired skinflints who said no, a big thank you to you too.
“Had you said yes, you would have interfered with the story and generally made a pigs ear of the whole thing. Thank you for keeping away and may you all rot in Hell.”
Fry ended the event on an upbeat note pointing to the success of the British film industry over the last year and the fact that there has been “more production in the UK in the last year than ever before”.