With an increasing number of award-nominated films being released through streaming platforms, there is a growing sense that award ceremonies are gaining appeal again and becoming more accessible. It’s much more likely an average member of the public will see a movie on Netflix about the end of the world with Leonardo DiCaprio in it than go to the cinema for another coming-of-age drama. After last year’s bizarre ceremony, the return of red-carpet royalty was that sign awards season is really in full swing.
The show kicked-off with an electric performance of Diamonds are Forever by the 85 (eighty-five!!) year-old Dame Shirley Bassey to commemorate 60 years of the James Bond franchise. The latest Bond instalment No Time to Die was nominated for five awards which returned one win in the Best Editing category.
This ultimately set a tough act for Rebel Wilson to follow, who was returning to host the awards after previously doing so in 2020. Her opening monologue seemed to fall flat with the audience as punchlines were met with ‘nose laughs’ instead of solid chuckles. This set the tone for the rest of her appearances throughout the night.
The first couple of awards handed out were not anything to get massively excited by either, with awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography both collected by Dune. It isn’t controversial to say that Dune is a visually stunning movie and both awards are thoroughly deserved.
One of the major surprises of the night came when Lashana Lynch was announced as the winner of the EE Rising Star Award (the only one voted for by the public). This wasn’t because of a poor performance, her role in No Time to Die is one of the best, but because most had assumed she had already ‘risen’ given her role in Captain Marvel, the aforementioned Bond, and upcoming roles in more Marvel films.
While Lynch wasn’t up for any other awards, some of her fellow Rising Star nominees were. Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) won Best Supporting Actress – and probably longest speech – while Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) was beaten for Best Supporting Actor. Some might assume that this would mean Jesse Plemons won the category for his role in the same film, but the gong went to Troy Kotsur for CODAinstead who became the first deaf BAFTA winner.
Predictions for Oscar winners in the other acting categories are unlikely to have changed as a result of the BAFTAs. Hot-favourite Will Smith won Best Actor while none of the BAFTAs Best Actress nominees are up for the Oscar. Joanna Scanlan (best known for playing Terri in The Thick of It) scooped the award ahead of Lady Gaga.
As well as Best Film, BAFTA also credits an Outstanding British Film each year. The two are rarely awarded to the same film and that tradition continued, with The Power of the Dog winning the former and Belfast taking the latter.