The Dark Western The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion held her favorite status by winning, on Sunday March 13 in London, the prizes for best film and best director at the Bafta, the British film awards, marked this year by messages of support for Ukrainians. Jane Campion was absent for the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, but her producer Tanya Seghatchian paid tribute to her, calling her a “visionary who has marked the last thirty years of cinema”.
After the Golden Globes in January and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Saturday, the New Zealander is collecting awards two weeks away from the Oscars. She becomes the third woman to win the Bafta for best director after China’s Chloé Zhao with nomadland in 2021 and the American Kathryn Bigelow with Minesweepers in 2009.
After an awards ceremony without an audience last year due to the pandemic, it was the war in Ukraine that marked the 75th Bafta ceremony. The Russian invasion “shocked the world with images and stories recounting a truly horrific and heartbreaking situation”, said the president of the British Academy Krishnendu Majumdar at the start of the ceremony. The Bafta and other film academies in Europe stand alongside Ukraine and “we share the hope of a return to peace”, he added.
On the red carpet, some stars wore badges or ribbons in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch who claimed “do what he could” to house refugees from Ukraine, after the British government called on residents on Sunday to welcome Ukrainians into their homes.
Presenting the prize for best director, Andy Serkis criticized British Home Secretary Priti Patel over the handling of the crisis, saying that the minister’s latest film “+All refugees are welcome but some are more welcome than others+ is total hell”. Australian actress Rebel Wilson, who presented the ceremony, for her part gave the finger of honor to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Fortunately, in all sign languages, it’s a gesture for Putin”, she claimed, introducing Emilia Jones who was singing dubbed in sign language.
Emilia Jones was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in CODA of a teenager passionate about music, the only hearing person in a deaf family. Recently awarded at the SAG Awards, CODAAmerican remake of the French film The Aries Family has also entered the history of the Bafta, Troy Kotsur becoming the first deaf actor to win a prize there, that of the best male supporting role. “I think it’s great that you recognize my work from across the ocean, it’s really amazing”, he reacted by receiving his prize, his interpreter by his side. CODA had caused a sensation at Sundance in 2021, before winning the first prize there.
American actor Will Smith was crowned best actor for his portrayal of the father and coach of tennis champion sisters Serena and Venus Williams in The Williams Methodwhile Englishwoman Joanna Scanlan won Best Actress for After Love, where she plays a woman discovering the secrets of her dead husband. Joanna Scanlan paid tribute by receiving the award to her husband, “living proof that there is noAfterLove”.
Disappointment for Dunes, adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel by Denis Villeneuve, which did not win any of the most prestigious awards. The space opera had amassed eleven nominations (the record this year) and leaves London with five awards, notably for special effects, original music and cinematography.
Also nominated for Best Picture, Belfast, in which Kenneth Branagh pays homage to his hometown, retracing the journey of a kid from Northern Ireland traumatized by the civil war and who finds refuge in the cinema, walks away with the prize for best British film.
Among the other prizes awarded, American actress Ariana Debose won the Bafta for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Storywhile Drive My Car, by Japanese Ryusuke Hamaguchi, won the prize for best foreign language film. Nominated in particular for the best film and the best direction, the teenage chronicle Licorice Pizzaby Paul Thomas Anderson walks away with the prize for best original screenplay.
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At the Baftas, the British Oscars, triumph of Jane Campion’s western “The Power of the Dog”