‘The Favourite,’ ‘Roma’ win big at Bri­tish Academy Awards

Texarkana Gazette - - NATION/WORLD - By Jill Law­less

LON­DON—Tragi­comic royal drama “The Favourite” and Mex­i­can fam­ily me­moir “Roma” split the hon­ors with mul­ti­ple wins each at Sun­day’s Bri­tish Academy Film Awards—vic­to­ries that sug­gest a wind of change may be blow­ing through the movie in­dus­try.

“The Favourite” won seven tro­phies in­clud­ing best Bri­tish film and best ac­tress for OIivia Col­man, who plays Bri­tain’s 18th cen­tury Queen Anne in the fe­male-cen­tric drama.

Al­fonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” which cen­ters on the nanny to a mid­dle-class Mex­ico City fam­ily, took prizes for best pic­ture, di­rec­tor, cin­e­matog­ra­phy and for­eign-lan­guage film.

Win­ners rel­ished the sym­bol­ism of their vic­to­ries.

“Thank you for cel­e­brat­ing our fe­male-dom­i­nated movie about women in power,” said “The Favourite” writer Deb­o­rah Davis, who won the orig­i­nal screen­play award along­side co-writer Tony McNa­mara.

Cuaron thanked the film’s backer, Net­flix, for hav­ing the courage to sup­port “a black and white film about a do­mes­tic worker” that is not in English.

He said the ex­tent to which the film has been em­braced “in an age where fear and anger are pro­posed to di­vide us means the world to me.”

Di­rec­tor Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos’ “The Favourite” snapped up the out­stand­ing Bri­tish film and screen­play awards as well as prizes for its op­u­lent pro­duc­tion de­sign, its ex­trav­a­gant cos­tumes, larger-than-life hair and makeup and the per­for­mances of Col­man and sup­port­ing ac­tress Rachel Weisz.

“This is for all three of us,” Col­man said, speak­ing of Weisz and the film’s other star, Emma Stone. “It’s got my name on it but we can scratch on some other ones.”

The best-ac­tor tro­phy went to Rami Malek for his elec­tric turn as Queen front man Fred­die Mer­cury in “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody.”

Ma­her­shala Ali was named best sup­port­ing ac­tor as a con­cert pi­anist tour­ing the 1960s Deep South in “Green Book.”

Other win­ners in­cluded Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlans­man” for best adapted screen­play and the Bradley Cooper-di­rected “A Star is Born” for mu­sic.

The awards, known as BAF­TAs, will be scoured for clues on who might tri­umph at Hol­ly­wood’s Academy Awards on Feb. 24. “Roma” and “The Favourite” each have 10 Os­car nom­i­na­tions.

The main dif­fer­ence with the Os­cars is that at the Bri­tish awards, real roy­alty mixes with the Hol­ly­wood va­ri­ety.

Prince Wil­liam, and his wife, Kate, Duchess of Cam­bridge— wear­ing a white, off-the-shoul­der Alexan­der McQueen dress—joined Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Vi­ola Davis, Ti­mothee Cha­la­met and other film stars for the black-tie cer­e­mony at Royal Al­bert Hall.

“Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous” star Joanna Lum­ley was the gen­tly risque host.

Wil­liam, who is pres­i­dent of the Bri­tish film academy, pre­sented its top honor, a BAFTA Fel­low­ship, to film ed­i­tor Thelma Schoon­maker, long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor of Martin Scors­ese.

Bri­tish academy vot­ers all but ig­nored su­per­hero block­buster “Black Pan­ther,” which is up for best pic­ture at the Os­cars and took top prize at the SAG awards last month. It had a sin­gle BAFTA nom­i­na­tion, for vis­ual ef­fects, which it won. One of its stars, Leti­tia Wright, was named Ris­ing Star, the only cat­e­gory de­cided through a pub­lic vote. The Lon­don-raised ac­tress spoke of her own past strug­gles with de­pres­sion and urged oth­ers not to give up.

The red car­pet glam­our un­folded against a back­drop of soul-search­ing and scan­dal about abuses in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

Last week, the Bri­tish academy sus­pended di­rec­tor Bryan Singer’s nom­i­na­tion as part of the team be­hind “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” af­ter four men ac­cused him of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing them when they were mi­nors.

BAFTA said the al­leged abuse was “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able” and in­com­pat­i­ble with its val­ues. Singer, who was fired while “Bo­hemian Rhap­sody” was in mid-pro­duc­tion in 2017, de­nies the al­le­ga­tions. The film it­self is still nom­i­nated.

At last year’s BAF­TAs cer­e­mony, many women wore black as a sym­bol of op­po­si­tion to ha­rass­ment, abuse and in­equal­ity in the wake of al­le­ga­tions against movie mogul Har­vey We­in­stein.

White dresses and col­or­ful frocks were prom­i­nent on many stars this year, along with a sense of hope that things are, fi­nally, chang­ing.

A Bri­tish wing of the “Times’s Up” cam­paign founded last year is vow­ing to keep the cam­paign go­ing and to dou­ble the num­ber of women in film, on and off screen.

The num­ber of fe­male nom­i­nees was up this year, but there was crit­i­cism of the academy’s fail­ure to nom­i­nate any fe­male film­mak­ers in the best-di­rec­tor cat­e­gory. Only one woman has ever won a BAFTA di­rect­ing prize, Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010.

BAFTA chair­woman Pippa Har­ris said only 10 per­cent of films en­tered for this year’s awards were di­rected by women.

“It needs to be 50 per­cent,” said Har­ris, who called the gen­der im­bal­ance an in­dus­try-wide prob­lem.

“There has been a tra­di­tional prob­lem with get­ting fe­males to be no­ticed in terms of their TV work and then get picked up to make fea­ture films,” she said. “Men seem to find that tran­si­tion much eas­ier.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

■ Bri­tain's Prince Wil­liam and Kate, Duchess of Cam­bridge, ar­rive Sun­day for the BAFTA 2019 Awards at The Royal Al­bert Hall in Lon­don.

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