The fact that The Hurt Locker beat Avatar wasn't really a surprise. The Iraq War drama about a team of bomb disposal experts is also the odds-on favorite to win the Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards following its Producers Guild, Directors Guild, and Writers Guild wins. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the BAFTA Award for Best Director, a feat she's supposed to repeat in a couple of weeks when she'll almost inevitably become the first woman to win an Oscar in the Best Director category.
“My heart's beating so fast I can barely talk,” Bigelow said upon accepting her award. “I think the secret to directing is collaboration, and I was so lucky to have an incredible cast and crew. This is deeply moving – we all felt an incredible responsibility to honor the courage of the men and women in the field.” She added: “I would like to dedicate this to the cause of never abandoning the hunt to find a resolution for peace.” The filmmaker then choked up and walked away from the mike.
Other The Hurt Locker winners were Mark Boal (Best Original Screenplay) and Barry Ackroyd (Best Cinematography), in addition to winners in the Best Editing and Best Sound categories. The Hurt Locker won a total of six out of its eight nominations. (The other two were for Best Actor – Jeremy Renner – and Best Visual Effects.)
Avatar, directed by James Cameron, with whom Bigelow was married for a couple of years in the late '80s, won two awards out of its eight nominations: Best Visual Effects and Best Production Design.
Pete Docter's Up won in two categories: Best Music (Michael Giacchino) and Best Animated Feature. The film is a favorite in both categories for the Oscars as well. Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner were the expected winners in the Best Adapted Screenplay for Up in the Air. In all likelihood, they'll also be taking home individual Oscar statuettes in a couple of weeks.
No surprises in the categories honoring supporting performances: Christoph Waltz (for Inglourious Basterds) and Mo'Nique (for Precious) were the winners. Both have been winning awards just about everywhere in the United States. “This award is a very big deal,” Precious director Lee Daniels said while collecting the absentee Mo'Nique's trophy. “We didn't know how this film was going to be received overseas.”
The Young Victoria won two expected awards as well: Best Costume Design and Best Make-Up and Hair. In the historical drama, Emily Blunt stars as Queen Victoria.
The BAFTA surprises weren't major surprises, except for one: the Outstanding British Film was Andrea Arnold's gritty Fish Tank instead of the more internationally recognized An Education. Nominated for eight BAFTAs, An Education ended up winning only one: Best Actress for Carey Mulligan, whose victory could be considered “a surprise” only in the sense that across the Atlantic she has no chance – or almost no chance – of winning the Oscar.
But in her home turf, Mulligan's chances were anything but nil. An Education has been widely praised and the same goes for Mulligan's performance as a schoolgirl involved with a man twice her age. Admittedly, Meryl Streep was a formidable competitor for her star turn in Julie & Julia – Streep's one and only BAFTA win took place in 1982 for The French Lieutenant's Woman – but since the British Academy tends to ignore British talent in its nominations, it's understandable they'd at least want to honor some local industryites with actual trophies. Perhaps less a matter of nativism than just plain survival.
That also explains Colin Firth's Best Actor win (his first) for his bereaved gay college professor in Tom Ford's A Single Man. Like Mulligan, Firth has almost no chance at the Oscars, but he's both British and an “underappreciated” veteran. Jeff Bridges, the favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Actor is hardly a stellar attraction in Britain and there's no sentimental reason to honor him as his “underappreciated” career has been decidedly based on the other side of the Atlantic. Come to think of it, see Colin Firth's BAFTA Award as the mirror image of Jeff Bridges' Academy Award – which he'll surely win next March 7.
Jacques Audiard's prison drama A Prophet beat Michael Haneke's sociopolitical drama The White Ribbon – again. And for that, it received the most enthusiastic applause of the evening, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Just a few days ago, the London Film Critics' Circle chose A Prophet as the best film of 2009, defeating not only The White Ribbon, but also The Hurt Locker and Avatar. Could A Prophet surprise at the Oscars as well? Stay tuned – though its tough, brutal atmosphere may turn off the usually conservative voters in the Academy's Best Foreign Language Film category. But then again, The White Ribbon is no walk in the park…
By the way, Sandra Bullock wasn't in the running as The Blind Side will only qualify for the 2011 BAFTAs. By then, Bullock and her sleeper blockbuster will likely have been long forgotten. Old news. Passe.
Come next January, when the BAFTA nominations are announced, we shall see if it's indeed all about timing and having the right p.r. momentum.
Photo: The Hurt Locker (Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment)
Following clips showing her with the likes of Jodie Foster and, inevitably, Robert Pattinson, Twilight star Kristen Stewart accepted her 2010 Orange Rising Star Award at the BAFTA ceremony held this evening, Feb. 21, 2010, at London's Royal Opera House. See Kristen Stewart BAFTA acceptance speech video clip below.
Kristen Stewart BAFTA acceptance speech: Thanking the 'Twilight' fans
“First I have to thank all the fans of Twilight for proving again to be the most devoted and attentive fans ever,” a visibly nervous Kristen Stewart said upon accepting her Orange Rising Star Award. The camera then cut to Stewart's competitor Carey Mulligan, who was seen laughing and perhaps wishing An Education had such a dedicated fan base.
“… To the actors who were nominated,” Stewart added, “I'm so blown away by you I can't even describe it to you. … I'm so overwhelmed.” She then briefly thanked her family and walked off.
BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award 2010
Besides An Education's BAFTA Best Actress winner Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart's “overwhelming” 2010 Orange Rising Star Award competition consisted of European Film Award winner Tahar Rahim, the star of Jacques Audiard's Best Foreign Language Film BAFTA winner A Prophet; Jesse Eisenberg, Stewart's co-star in Adventureland; and Nicholas Hoult of A Single Man and About a Boy, the latter released nearly a decade ago. On Stewart's BAFTA acceptance speech video clip, Tahar Rahim can be seen applauding her victory as she walks to the stage.
Kristen Stewart movies
Kristen Stewart has been making movies for nearly a decade. Stewart's recent screen credits include the aforementioned Adventureland, directed by Greg Mottola, and featuring Jesse Eisenberg and Ryan Reynolds; Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007), with Emile Hirsch and Hal Holbrook; Floria Sigismondi's The Runaways, with Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon; and Jake Scott's Welcome to the Rileys, with James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo.
As for the Twilight movies, Stewart has thus far starred in Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight (2008), opposite Robert Pattinson, in addition to Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), with Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. The Twilight Saga supporting cast includes Peter Facinelli, Billy Burke, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Jackson Rathbone, and Dakota Fanning.
Robert Pattinson, with lightning speed, said as he took to the podium at the 2010 BAFTA awards ceremony: “Congratulations to Jenny? she's a fantastic make-up artist.” The “Jenny” in question is Jenny Shircore, who won a BAFTA for Best Make-Up and Hair for her work on Jean-Marc Vallee's The Young Victoria, in which Emily Blunt plays Queen Victoria. Pattinson then went on to carefully read the teleprompter, before announcing the winner in the best original screenplay category. The winner turned out to be Mark Boal for Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker, the evening's top film with six awards.
Best Actress winner Carey Mulligan claimed she didn't expect to be named the winner and as result had not prepared a speech. The Guardian's Xan Brooks wasn't fully convinced: “Mulligan bashfully claims that she didn't think she was going to win, and so has nothing prepared. No speech written or anything. She then proceeds to thank everyone from Nick Hornby (who wrote the script) to her parents to her agents; all in one smooth and easy flow. It leaves me wondering if she might - God forbid - have been fibbing.”
Kate Winslet presented the Best Actor BAFTA to Colin Firth for his performance as a grieving gay college professor in Tom Ford's A Single Man. After joking about a fridge guy at his house, Firth said that “an encounter with Tom Ford is to come away feeling resuscitated, a little more worldly, better informed, better groomed, more fragrant, and … more nominated than one has ever been.” Throughout Firth's speech, the camera focused on Ford's reactions.
Kristen Stewart's 2010 Orange Rising Star Award victory would only surprise someone who has been living in some parallel universe where the Twilight Saga franchise movies haven't played at local movie houses. Anyone could vote for the Orange Rising Star Award. I voted for Tahar Rahim, knowing full well he had no chance. But I wanted to make sure he got at least one vote. To this date I can't quite figure out why Robert Pattinson wasn't included in the BAFTAs Rising Star list. I mean, the guy is the embodiment of a Rising Star. Maybe next year.
Anyhow, some weren't all that impressed with Kristen Stewart's win.
“Hang on. Is this right?” inquired Xan Brooks in The Guardian. “I mean, Stewart was great in Adventureland, but still - I think I liked Tahar Rahim better. So what's going on here? Who can we blame for dropping the ball on this one. Your aunt or my cousin?
“Finally the mystery is cleared up. 'First I have to thank all the fans of Twilight, for being the most devoted and attentive fans ever,' says Stewart. So that explains everything. It was the Twilight fans that done it. A pox on those pallid, adolescent vampire fans. Does their power know no bounds?”
Photo: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Kimberley French / Summit Entertainment)
More Robert Pattinson at the BAFTAs. Fans go crazy as can be attested by the clip below. Update: Sorry, that particular Pattinson clip is no longer available. Instead, below is Pattinson presenting the Best Original Screenplay BAFTA, after paying a brief but clearly genuine homage to make-up artist Jenny Shircore, winner of the Best Make-Up and Hair BAFTA for The Young Victoria – and the make-up artist in Robert Pattinson's star vehicle Bel Ami. (Image: Robert Pattinson at BAFTA 2010 ceremony.)
Mo'Nique is BAFTA no-show
Mo'Nique is a no-show, but I wonder if any of the fans outside noticed or cared. Precious director Lee Daniels had to hop onstage to collect her Best Supporting Actress Award for playing Gabourey Sidibe's abusive mom.
Xan Brooks, who, I might add, is no Twilight fan, did notice and did care about Mo'Nique's absence. “Why the lack of Mo'Nique?” inquired Brooks in The Guardian. “Didn't think she'd win, or just not arsed enough to come? Answers on a blog comment, please. And riddle me this: do you think she'll take the same coy and enigmatic stance when the Oscars roll around?”
More BAFTA 2010 winners: 'Avatar,' 'The Hurt Locker,' 'Up in the Air'
Avatar's Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, and Kim Sinclair have won for Best Production Design, while Robert Pattinson presented the Best Original Screenplay Award went to Mark Boal for the Kathryn Bigelow-directed Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Avatar, one of the biggest blockbusters in movie history, now has two BAFTA awards. The Hurt Locker, the favorite to take home this year's Best Picture Academy Award, has four. Precious and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds have one each. And so does Up in the Air, whose director-writer Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner have just won a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Up to now, poor An Education – a British production, no less – is wearing a dunce cap with a big, round zero drawn on it. Surprisingly, a little while ago Lone Scherfig's drama about a schoolgirl (Carey Mulligan) who gets involved with a man (Peter Sarsgaard) twice her age was bypassed in the Outstanding British Film category: Andrea Arnold's less internationally known but widely praised Fish Tank, starring newcomer Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender, was named the winner in that category.
Last one for now: The BAFTA for Best Animated Feature has gone to Pete Docter's Up, which now has taken home two trophies.
Robert Pattinson BAFTA image: British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Robert Pattinson, he of the upcoming Remember Me, can be seen above arriving at the BAFTAs. (Update: The Pattinson clip has been removed from YouTube.) Pattinson is only a presenter, but he may just as well have been the evening's top winner as far as fans were concerned. The Twilight Saga: New Moon wasn't even nominated for anything, but no matter. Colin Firth? Carey Mulligan? Andrea Arnold? Kathryn Bigelow? Jeff Bridges? Gabourey Sidibe? Neill Blomkamp? Lone Scherfig? It's Robert Pattinson they want. (I should add that Vanessa Redgrave is at the BAFTAs as well, with surviving daughter Joely Richardson.)
“It's taken me an awful lot of time to work out what I wanted to do with my life,” Duncan Jones said upon accepting the award for best debut by a British filmmaker, producer, or screenwriter. “And I think I've finally found it.” Duncan's sci-fi thriller Moon, starring Sam Rockwell, received loads of praise but failed to nab a single Oscar nomination. It didn't do all that great at the BAFTAs, either, with only two nominations. The other one is for Outstanding British Film.
“Supporting actor?” Christoph Waltz asked upon getting his Best Supporting Actor award from Anna Kendrick. Inglourious Basterds's vicious Colonel Landa shook his head and put things in perspective: “Supported actor.” He then paid tribute to Quentin Tarantino: “No Quentin: no Inglourious Basterds. No Quentin: no Colonel Landa. No Quentin: no Christoph at the Baftas.” He might have added: “No Quentin: no Christoph at the Oscars in two weeks.”
Michael Giacchino's score for Up won for Achievement in Music, while Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is turning out to be the David that is giving a hell of a beating on Goliath. That's James Cameron's Avatar. The Hurt Locker has won three award: best editing, best cinematography, and best sound. Avatar has won one: best visual effects.
The best short films were Martina Amati's live action Do Air and Emma Lazenby and Sally Arthur's animated Mother of Many.
Kristen Stewart's appearance at the BAFTA 2010 awards show has caused quite a stir because her fellow Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse co-star Robert Pattinson will be a presenter at the ceremony.
Stewart was briefly interviewed on the BAFTA red carpet, where she answered a couple of questions about her Twilight success and the fact that she has been nominated for the British Academy's Orange Rising Star Award. Stewart's fellow nominees are Carey Mulligan, Jesse Eisenberg, Tahar Rahim, and Nicholas Hoult.
“The fact that this doesn't involve Twilight is a little overwhelming because I've always figured it was all wrapped up in that – and it is … But it's funny to see Twilight end up in something like this.” In answer to a question about her Orange Rising Star nomination, Stewart replied: “Considering who I'm not up against, but who I'm being considered amongst … like Carey Mulligan, Jesse Eisenberg … It's an overwhelming idea, so I'm just very pleased and proud and overwhelmed.”
Colin Firth has just announced that Duncan Jones was the year's best first-time filmmaker, for Moon. Additionally, The Hurt Locker has defeated Avatar in two categories: Best Sound and Best Editing. Both films are up for the Best Picture BAFTA Award.
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Robert Pattinson, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, Uma Thurman, Guy Pearce, Dustin Hoffman, Clive Owen, Matt Dillon, Noel Clarke, Terry Gilliam, Rupert Everett and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are some of the performers scheduled to present awards at the British Academy Awards ceremony tomorrow. In the U.S., the evening will be aired on BBC America at 8 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. PT – long after everyone already knows the identity of the BAFTA winners.
Hollywood movies dominate the 2010 BAFTAs this year – as in years past. Top nominated films include James Cameron's Avatar, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, and Lee Daniels' Precious. Lone Scherfig's An Education is the sole major British contender. Nominated talent includes Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, Colin Firth, Audrey Tautou, Christoph Waltz, Mo'Nique, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Tahar Rahim, Jesse Eisenberg, and Carey Mulligan are up for this year's Orange Rising Star Award.
Photo: An Education (Kerry Brown / Sony Pictures Classics)