The 2019 BAFTAs have made it official: the deliciously dark The Favourite is the reigning champ in this year's awards race.
That said, it was a pleasingly diverse night of winners all round as the finest creative talent from Britain and Hollywood descended on London's Royal Albert Hall. Here's the full rundown.
The Favourite, Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz all triumph
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, wickedly perverse period comedy-drama The Favourite depicts the 18th-century court of England's Queen Anne. But this is no straight-laced bodice ripper: rather, the filmmaker behind The Lobster unleashes an onslaught of surreal imagery in this story of two power-hungry women vying for their monarch's affections.
The movie's deliriously funny sense of humour, topicality and visual design have seen it crowned as a critical and commercial triumph. And following its strong showing at the Golden Globes, The Favourite walked away with the BAFTAs for Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Original Screenplay (for Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara), Best Makeup/Hair, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.
Even more significantly, given the film's timely look at the struggles of three women amid a chauvinistic, male-dominated royal court, the movie also triumphed in the acting categories. As well as cementing her Oscar chances with a BAFTA win for Best Actress, Olivia Colman also delivered the evening's best acceptance speech in which she promised to etch Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone's names into the award. This was her way of graciously acknowledging that the movie is very much a three-hander between the leads.
Besting category rival Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz scooped her first ever BAFTA – her win for Best Supporting Actress further compounds the power of the film's performances and the relevance of its narrative. However, there were significant absences in terms of Best Film and Best Director wins. And on that note...
Roma becomes the first Netflix BAFTA winner
If The Favourite looked to have Best Film and Best Director in the bag, along came Roma to shake things up a bit. Alfonso Cuaron's biographical, black and white Netflix drama depicts one year in the life of a live-in nanny in 1970 Mexico City, and was one of the talking points of the 2019 BAFTA ceremony.
Having landed Best Film Not in the English Language, the movie also pinched Best Film out from under The Favourite's nose. Cuaron himself nabbed Best Director from the likes of Yorgos Lanthimos, A Star is Born's Bradley Cooper, Cold War's Pawel Pawlikowski and BlacKkKlansman's Spike Lee.
In a bid for diversity, the film's Oscar nominated Mexican leads Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira not only attended by delivered a dual Spanish/English presentation during one of the key awards categories. Cuaron himself used Roma's triumphant success to speak of an inclusive world, underlining the movie's themes of acceptance, love and solidarity.
Rami Malek is the champion for Bohemian Rhapsody
If Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody has drawn mixed responses, praise for leading man Rami Malek has been unanimous. The star's depiction of tortured yet charismatic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is a complex marvel of inner demons alternating with an elaborate stage persona, and deservedly saw him awarded with the BAFTA for Best Actor.
Malek's success is all the more impressive when one considers who he was up against: A Star is Born's Bradley Cooper, Vice's Christian Bale, Green Book's Viggo Mortensen and Stan & Ollie's Steve Coogan. This was one of the most hotly contested categories in this year's BAFTAs and has increased Malek's chances of winning the Oscar on 24th February. (Bohemian Rhapsody's dynamic audio mix during the music sequences also saw it awarded with the Best Sound BAFTA.)
Mahershala Ali wins for Green Book
Is Green Book an incisive look at an inter-racial road trip or a rather more straightforward crowd-pleasing comedy drama? Whatever the response, there's no denying the power of its lead performances from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, playing chalk and cheese duo Tony Lip and Dr Don Shirley.
In order to avoid pitting the same film's actors against each another, Mortensen was BAFTA nominated for Best Actor and Ali for Best Supporting Actor, although the film's narrative is pretty evenly weighted between them. In the end it was the latter who triumphed: Ali's serene composure as the refined Shirley saw him awarded with his first BAFTA, although as those who've seen the film know, it's the actor's depiction of the character's inner demons that really grips.
A Star is Born is (largely) overlooked
Back in August with its triumphant emergence on the festival scene, it looked like A Star is Born was going to walk it during awards season. However, Bradley Cooper's terrific directorial debut has steadily slipped down the ranks and given way to the likes of The Favourite.
Following its solitary Golden Globe win for Best Original Song ('Shallow'), the movie's lone BAFTA was awarded for Best Original Music – appropriate, perhaps, but Cooper was surely expecting some kind of recognition in the Best Film and Best Director fields.
However, with eight Oscar nominations under its belt, there's still a chance A Star is Born will emerge as the dark horse in the biggest awards ceremony of them all.
The remaining BAFTA winners
Marvel's Black Panther may not have scooped Best Film but scene-stealing Shuri actress Letitia Wright did land the EE Rising Star Award. The film's spectacular depiction of the rural/futuristic African landscape of Wakanda also saw it awarded with the Best Visual Effects BAFTA.
Disappointingly, this was not the year in which BlacKkKlansman's Spike Lee walked away with his first-ever BAFTA for Best Director (hopefully his Oscar nomination can make up for that). However, he did win the Best Adapted Screenplay award for his incisive and outrageous depiction of African-American Ron Stallworth's infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan.
Elsewhere, Dick Cheney biopic Vice starring Christian Bale had to make do with a sole BAFTA win for Best Editing. Inventive Spider-Man animation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fought off the likes of Disney-Pixar's Incredibles 2 to land Best Animated Feature. With a Golden Globe already secured, an Oscar looks increasingly likely.
And writer-director Michael Pearce won Outstanding British debut for his moody thriller (and Cineworld Unlimited favourite) Beast, starring Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn.
What are your thoughts on this year's BAFTAs, and what do you think it means for the 2019 Academy Awards on 24th February? Let us know @Cineworld.