WOMEN STAR IN ‘BRITISH OSCARS’
LONDON: The US road movie Nomadland has triumphed at the BAFTA film awards, with Chinese director Chloe Zhao’s intimate portrayal of marginalised Americans winning in four categories, including best film, best actress and best director.
The socially distanced and largely remote awards ceremony in London saw a strong showing by female directors in the run-up to this month’s Oscars. The British academy has sought to improve diversity, and Zhao was one of four women nominated for best director.
“We brought in changes to the awards to level the playing field,” said Krishnendu Majumdar, chair of the academy, following criticism over last year’s awards ceremony, which had no female directors and an all-white shortlist.
Zhao (inset) welcomed stronger representation for female filmmakers in comments to journalists afterwards, saying: “It’s about time, it’s great. I love doing what I do — and if this means more people like me get to live their dreams, then I’m very grateful.”
British director Emerald Fennell also carried off two awards for her debut feature Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan.
The Oscar-tipped thriller is about a woman who avenges a friend’s rape by pretending to be drunk in bars and then turning the tables on men who prey on her. The film, which has elements of comedy and horror, won for both outstanding British film and best original screenplay.
Sitting in front of a grand piano in a gauzy white dress, Fennell described the film as a “labour of love”.
Zhao accepted her awards dressed casually in a plaid shirt from Los Angeles, saying that she planned to start the day with celebrations.
“Tomorrow morning I will be very hungover,” she said.
Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins won best actor for The Father. He didn’t take part in the awards, saying later he didn’t expect to win and had been painting in his hotel room during a holiday in