The red carpet was rolled out last night for the annual EE British Academy Film Awards. The great and good of international cinema descended on London's Royal Albert Hall for the most prestigious night in the British cinema calendar, as presented by glam new host Joanna Lumley. Here's what went down.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the big winner
Scooping not just Best Film but also Best British Film, writer-director Martin McDonagh's coruscating black comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was the star of the evening. The movie's blend of poignant drama and topical anger clearly resonated with BAFTA voters, beating out the likes of The Shape of Water and Paddington 2 in the former and latter categories, respectively. McDonagh also picked up Best Original Screenplay – hardly a surprise for a movie that is buoyed by the richness and saltiness of its language.
However, this isn't necessarily a guarantee the movie will win the Oscar for Best Picture – the BAFTAs and Academy Awards haven't agreed in that particular category during the last three years, so it may still be a title fight with The Shape of Water.
Even so, the show was stolen by Best Actress winner Frances McDormand, whose lightly caustic acceptance speech touched on the Time's Up movement that has engulfed Hollywood in recent months. It goes to show that McDormand, a performer who has carved out a career playing indomitable characters, is the heart of the movie, embodying its themes of gender equality and compassion.
Another big winner was Sam Rockwell, landing his first ever BAFTA for Supporting Actor. It's long overdue for a terrific actor who has so often been brilliant in background roles (The Green Mile, The Way, Way Back) and only infrequently in lead ones (Moon). Awards ceremonies love an underdog, and there's no denying Rockwell is that.
The Shape of Water wins Best Director
It was perhaps a slightly disappointing evening for Guillermo del Toro's sumptuous romantic fantasy. However, it did manage to scoop Best Director out from under the nose of several of Hollywood's finest, including Dunkirk's Christopher Nolan. Like Sam Rockwell, maybe it was severance paid for a prominent industry figure who has turned out so much extraordinary work, including the likes of Pan's Labyrinth, without ever being properly rewarded.
Del Toro adds to his Golden Globe win in the same category – can he add the Oscar and make it a hat trick? If so, he would join the Mexican trio of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron. Popular weight is on his side, as it is for composer Alexandre Desplat whose BAFTA win for Best Original Music adds to his own awards haul.
Fittingly for a movie so drenched in a gorgeous sense of time and place, the movie also landed Best Production Design for Paul D. Austerberry. Perhaps inevitably, the film lost out to its closest rival, Blade Runner 2049, in the Best Cinematography field – Roger Deakins is regarded by many as the finest director of photography in the business, and many in the industry feel this year is his time to shine.
However, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer both lost out in the Leading Actress and Supporting Actress categories, defeated by Frances McDormand and I, Tonya's Allison Janney. The Shape of Water also lost out in the Original Screenplay category.
Gary Oldman wins Best Actor
This one was a shoo-in. The publicity machine behind Oldman's performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour has been steadily building over the last few months, bolstered by his Golden Globe win for Best Actor. It was therefore no surprise that he landed the BAFTA, and the Oscar now seems a lock. Fittingly enough, he thanked his remarkable make-up team, spearheaded by Kazuhiro Tsuji, for aiding in his extraordinary transformation into the iconic British leader. It's Oldman's first BAFTA win – a historic moment, not least because his astonishing career includes a host of acclaimed yet unheralded roles in the likes of JFK, Bram Stoker's Dracula and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The rising star
Cementing his rise to the top of the Hollywood A-list, Britain's Daniel Kaluuya walked away with the EE Rising Star award for his role in Get Out. It's yet another triumph for the young actor who was the face of one of 2017's most radical and talked-about movies – goes to show that Posh Kenneth from Skins has come a long way. And his grassroots speech championing those who sent him on his acting journey (including his mum) was one of the most authentic of the evening.
Aside from its win for Best Sound, Dunkirk had to be content with little else. It's perhaps disheartening for a movie that struck a chord with both critics and audiences, but the competition across the Best Film and Director fields was especially strong this year. Likewise, praised romantic drama Call Me By Your Name didn't win for either Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet, surely crushed by the weight of Gary Oldman's might) or Best Director. However, veteran screenwriter James Ivory did pick up Best Adapted Screenplay, recognition for his sensitive and acute adaptation of Andre Aciman's novel.
Elsewhere there was disappointment for Lady Bird, which failed to pick up Best Actress or Supporting Actress for its much-vaunted performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Likewise, The Florida Project's Willem Dafoe lost out to Sam Rockwell. Counterbalancing this, however, was Rungano Nyoni's Best British Debut win for terrific, African-based fable I Am Not a Witch, a possible sign we're looking at another great director in the making.
What results are you happy/unhappy about? Tweet us your responses @Cineworld.