LONDON — “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s taut western about two brothers who clash on a ranch in Montana, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons, was the big winner at the EE British Academy Film Awards in London on Sunday evening.
It was named Best Picture at the awards, commonly referred to as BAFTAs, beating characters like Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic ‘Dune’, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’, the black-and-white film based on his childhood in Ireland. North, and Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” the controversial climate change satire starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep.
Campion also scooped the award for best director – the third woman to win the award in the award’s history – increasing her momentum ahead of this year’s Oscars.
She was not present to collect her prize in London. On Saturday, she was in Los Angeles at the Directors Guild of America Awards, where she also won the top prize. At that awards show, Campion drew attention when asked by Variety about disparaging comments actor Sam Elliott made about her film, including questioning “allusions to homosexuality” in the film.
“He’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor,” Campion told Variety, adding, “The West is a mythical space and there’s a lot of room on the lineup. is a bit sexist.
The BAFTAs were most notable this year for their array of winners, with no film sweeping the table, even with “The Power of the Dog” taking home the top two awards. Will Smith won Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in ‘King Richard’, while Best Actress went to British actress Joanna Scanlan for her role in “After Love,” a low-budget film about a white Muslim convert who discovers her husband’s secret past.
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This film was seen little in Britain, let alone elsewhere, but Scanlan beat stars such as Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) and Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”), who were both in the audience . “Go on!” Scanlan said, accepting his award, adding, “Some stories have surprise endings.”
Hosted by Rebel Wilson, this year’s BAFTAs – the UK’s equivalent of the Academy Awards – marked the return of a glamorous in-person ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall, following a mostly virtual event last year.
“Is it good that the awards shows are back in person?” Wilson said in an opening monologue adding, “Actors, you can stop doing these feel-good podcasts.”
Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic ‘Dune’ picked up 11 nominations in February but only won five awards, mostly in technical categories including special visual effects, cinematography and sound.
Other winners included Ariana DeBose, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in ‘West Side Story’, surpassing Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”), Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”), Ruth Negga (“Passing”), Ann Dowd (“Mass”) and Caitriona Balfe (“Belfast”). Troy Kotsur won best supporting actor for his role in “CODA”, the heartwarming film about a loud, largely deaf Massachusetts family.
Kotsur, who beat actors such as Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”), used sign language to accept his award and gave a speech to the producers of the James Bond franchise, asking: “Have you considered a deaf James Bond?
“Drive My Car,” the acclaimed Japanese drama about a theater manager struggling to cope with the death of his wife, was named best non-English language film. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the film’s director, looked upset during his acceptance speech. “Well, that got rid of my jet lag,” he said through an interpreter.
His victory was a sign that films “go beyond language, they go beyond borders,” he added.
The BAFTAs are normally considered a proxy for the Oscars, given the overlap between the two events’ voting bodies. The Oscars are scheduled for March 27.
The appearance of a lesser-known winner in the Best Actress category at this year’s event may have something to do with sweeping changes to the awards voting process that BAFTA has introduced over the past couple of years. years to improve the diversity of nominees. These included requiring voters to watch a wide selection of films before they could vote.
Some BAFTA voters fear the changes could jeopardize the future of the awards show. Scott Feinberg, writing in The Hollywood Reporter in February, called the changes “over-correction, however well-meaning,” and went on to say that “the organization is signaling to the world that it does not trust its own members to make evidence of wisdom”. and right decisions.