Friday Film :10 things I learnt at the BAFTAS 2016
- Glamour needs hot weather. Ok, we didn’t get the usual sleet, snow or lashing rain at Sunday’s British Academy awards aka the Baftas but it was so cold, a nerdy named hurricane would have been quite welcome. The excitement of possibly being swept away like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz might have warmed us up. As it was, even the presence of Michael Fassbender couldn’t heat up the streets of Covent Garden.
While goosebumps and gorgeous gowns are not the best combination for the stars on the red carpet, at least they get to move. Press and fans are herded up and put in pens so full they make the rush hour tube seem like a picnic. While on the tube you only get people’s armpits in your face, on the Baftas red carpet you get that and a
poke in the eye from the enormous camera lens of outer Mongolian state owned tv while you despondently ponder which of your digits you could reasonably do without if they drop off due to frostbite.
- The fans are amazing. Some had queued for 3 days in the freezing weather just to catch a glimpse of the top of an A lister’s head over the cameras and phones held aloft by a 5 line deep crowd.
- Unlike the media and Internet, the fans who actually see movies don’t want a politically correct distribution of awards. I spoke to a number of people who said they love films, they love movie stars of any colour and they want awards to be given on merit. Many also expressed the view, forcibly, that they are ‘so sick’ of the media’s obsession with this story. They think it’s disrespectful to the deserving nominees who are being overshadowed by “Will Smith’s bitterness.” Let’s just say Will and Jada Smith did not come out well from these conversations!
There was a tiny Baftas protest too called BaftaBlackout. Their banner called for ‘quotas’ in awards shows. The fans who most angrily rolled their eyes at this suggestion were black or South Asian. They said they were embarrassed by the idea ‘that we should be handed awards for our colour because we’re not good enough to compete with the best.’
- Leonardo Di Caprio is the biggest star in the world. His appearance on the red carpet caused pandemonium. A woman near me surely burst a blood vessel or three as she flung her arms up in supplication to the heavens and cried ‘oh my God, it’s only fucking Leonardo DiCaprio!’And it was. Leo glided up the carpet, bestowed a beatific smile on us plebs and was then carried into the Royal Opera House on the wings of angels.
He got the biggest cheers of the night from fans closely followed by Michael Fassbender.
- Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore should kiss their stylists. They each looked beautiful, like true movie goddesses. Vikander’s dress was 35 pounds – in weight not cost.
- Stephen Fry is a national treasure. Rebel Wilson is hilarious and should present next year’s Golden Globes. Even better, both annoyed the permanently offended brigade on twitter. That, of-course is not hard. Anyone breathing ‘the wrong way’ offends these twits. But it’s always something to cheer and encourage anyway.
- The kiss-cam works best with funny combinations eg Stanley Tucci and Cuba Gooding jr, Leo and Dame Maggie Smith. With real life couples it’s a bit icky and voyeuristic. So, yes, it was a bit unfair to put Fassbender and Alicia Vikander on the spot.
8. BAFTA knows which awards bore people. Oscars, watch and learn. No dreary song category, no interpretive dance numbers, no real toilet break awards for best animated short in a foreign language made on an iphone or whatever keeps the Oscars going longer than the runtime of the director’s cut of Titanic.
- BAFTA can be a little too in awe of American talent. Given a choice of giving an award to a deserving British/Irish actor and a huge American star, the Baftas now go for the big US star. Makes bigger headlines but it’s a shame. Same goes for nominees. Where was the brilliant Tom Hardy this year? Or Timothy Spall last year?
- All the winners deserved their awards. Now, come on, yes, they did. Even if your favourite didn’t win, it’s churlish not to congratulate those who did. They were all deserving – in their own ways!