Ben Affleck – shunned for a Best Director nomination at the Oscars – has continued to pick up every other award in his path, being named the Best Director by BAFTA. At the star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House, Affleck’s Iran hostage thriller, Argo, also collected the Best Film honours, at the last major awards ceremony before the American Academy hands out its little gold men in Hollywood, in two week’s time.
Argo missed out in the other major categories, winning only the Best Editing trophy, other than the two top prizes.
Three of the four acting awards were little surprise, as Daniel Day-Lewis was named the Best Actor for Lincoln, Christoph Waltz repeated his Golden Globes success in the supporting category for Django Unchained and Anne Hathaway’s rendition of I Dreamed a Dream in Les Miserables earned her another Best Supporting Actress trophy. Less predictable was the Best Actress prize, which bypassed the higher profile nominees, Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jennifer Lawrence and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain, in favour of octogenarian Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, who wasn’t in attendance.
The Austrian director of the French-language film, Michael Haneke, was also absent when Amour was named the Best Film Not in the English Language.
Haneke missed out in the Best Original Screenplay contest to Quentin Tarantino, for Django Unchained, while the Best Adapted Screenplay BAFTA went to David O Russell, for Silver Linings Playbook.
Bart Layton’s The Imposter missed out in the Best Documentary race to Searching for Sugar Man, but the film did earn him the Best British Debut prize. Brave beat Frankenweenie and Paranorman to the Best Animated Feature honours. The Best Animated Short was The Making of Longbird, while We Need to Talk About Kevin director Lynne Ramsay won the Best Live Action Short BAFTA for Swimmer.
The film that walked away with the most awards on the night was Les Miserables, but aside from Anne Hathaway, they were all in the technical categories; Make Up & Hair, Production Design and Sound. Life of Pi won cinematography and Special Effects, Anna Karenina won Best Costume Design and Skyfall won the Best Original Music.
Skyfall also picked up the first honour of the night – the somewhat parochial Outstanding British Film BAFTA – almost a runner up prize for films that can’t quite cut it with the grown-ups in the main contest, which in this case was odd, as it was largely an American production.
BAFTA also handed out three awards not specifically to film releases of the past year; Sir Alan Parker was made a fellow of the Academy, Film 4’s Tessa Ross was given a life-time achievement award, and at the other end of her career, the actress Juno Temple was chosen as the Rising Star, in a public vote. Shaking as she accepted the trophy, she thanked her younger brother for getting everyone in his school to vote for her.