BAFTAs (British Apathy For Terrible Awards)

Not that anyone outside the UK gives two tugs of a dead dog’s cock, but it was the BAFTA Award ceremony last night (or, more specifically, the Orange British Academy Film Awards – you can tell we are low rent when we have to be sponsored by a mobile phone company).

It was presented by Stephen Fry, who is the main and only reason to actually watch the show, as he is a genuinely funny human being. You can get a full list of results here if you want.

They used to give out the BAFTAs at a completely different time of year, but they want to get in on that hot awards action and feel important, so have moved to before the Oscars so they look like they might be an indicator of the Oscars. This is absurd and not a little embarrassing, but there you go.

Also, before this change, there was a strong British bias – any academy that has special awards such as the Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year and the Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in Their First Feature Film should give you a clue – and the 10 nominations for The Constant Gardener seemed to be in keeping with tradition. As such, there was the feeling that, despite being ignored by other unnamed bodies, Constant Gardener might get props from its homies, as it were. However, the feeling was that the academy should try for that ‘indicator of Oscar’ idea, and Constant Gardener went home with one (for editing), whereas the big awards went to the films that have been getting all that Oscar buzz (Brokeback Mountain as best film, Lee as best director, Hoffman best actor and Witherspoon best actress.)

The only main shock was Thandie (pronounced Tandy) Newton for Crash, who looked so thin and weak that she probably couldn’t lift the award without snapping in half. She also gave the worst acceptance speech by mentioning all the other (better) actresses that she had beaten, which is rather rubbing it in somewhat. The award that surprised me was special effects for King Kong, as the dinosaur stampede was particularly ropey, but even I must admit that Kong was a stunning piece of CGI. The pleasant surprise of the evening was Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit getting best British film, even though I thought that Pride & Prejudice would get it, and I had an outside hope for A Cock & Bull Story. It was a bit sad bringing the lovely but ageing Peter Sallis up to say a few words, but it was nice to see it recognised as a film, rather than just animation, as Nick Parks said himself.

Despite this, it came as no shock to hear that the viewing figures were down on the previous years, as the show itself isn’t important or exciting, despite the excellence of Mr Fry. There is no prestige to the award outside the UK, and sitting it squarely between the Globes and the Oscars makes it look like me standing between George Clooney and Brad Pitt – completely unnecessary and totally ignored.

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