'12 Years a Slave' wins Best Film as 'Gravity' wins six awards at 2014 BAFTA Awards
In a similar turn of events to last month's Golden Globe Awards, tonight's BAFTAs were almost a nightmare for bookies' favorite "12 Years a Slave" -- toward the end of the evening, with only four awards left to present, Steve McQueen's film had gone zero-for-eight, losing the supporting awards to "Captain Phillips'" Barkhad Abdi and "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence, and Best Adapted Screenplay to "Philomena."
It rallied, with Chiwetel Ejiofor taking Best Actor en route to the big prize, but this was a night that did little to clarify the frontrunners' overall standings in the Oscar race. "Gravity," as expected, was the night's top winner in terms of numbers, taking Best Director and, somewhat controversially, Best British Film. "American Hustle," meanwhile, took a healthy three wins. Check out the rest of the winners below, in the order they were presented at the ceremony, with accompanying live commentary.
Best British Film: "Gravity," Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman
Well, I guess the skeptical response to the blockbuster's nomination in this category wasn't as widespread as we thought. Kris, Greg and I all expected the more obviously British "Philomena" to take this one, but muscle won out, as the night's leading nominee took its first of what will be several wins tonight. Could it win Best Film too? "The King's Speech" pulled off the double three years ago. Either way, I suspect this win will prompt some internal discussion going forward about this award's definition and objective.
Best British Short: "Room 8"
Best British Animated Short: "Sleeping With the Fishes," James Walker, Sarah Woolner, Yousif Al-Khalifa
Best Production Design: "The Great Gatsby," Catherine Martin and Beverly Dunn
Yep, as all three of us suspected -- the film is simply too ornate for voters to ignore in this category. Martin also won the period category at the Art Directors' Guild awards last week, and I suspect she'll be taking home her second Oscar in this category. This is her fourth BAFTA to date, having previously won for "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" (production design) and "Strictly Ballroom" (production and costume design).
Best Sound: "Gravity," Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri and Chris Munro
Again, no surprise there, and another result likely to be repeated on Oscar night. Still, while it's become sort of automatic for every year's chosen prestige blockbuster to take the sound awards, this is a particularly intelligent choice -- given how necessarily quiet so much of the film is.
Best Editing: "Rush," Dan Hanley and Mike Hill
Greg called this one correctly, and it's not exactly a surprise: BAFTA has never tied this category quite as closely to the Best Film race as the Academy, and all the racing action in Ron Howard's racing drama (plus the film's British profile) made it an attractive option here. I'm still somewhat surprised that Hanley and Hill, who won the 1995 Oscar for "Apollo 13," couldn't eke out a nomination.
Best Documentary: "The Act of Killing," Joshua Oppenheimer
The competition arguably wasn't quite as strong as it is in the Oscar race, so Oppenheimer's extraordinary conversation piece -- which has been a long-running arthouse hit in the UK -- was practically assured a victory here. The Oscar might be a tougher get, but either way, I'm delighted for Oppenheimer: only this afternoon, I had a terrific interview with him in London, and look forward to sharing it with you next week.
Best Makeup and Hair: "American Hustle," Evelyne Noraz, Lori McCoy-Bell and Kathrine Gordon
Okay, so we all predicted this would be "Behind the Candelabra's" one shot at a non-TV award, but this choice makes sense too. Lawrence's bouffant, Cooper's jheri curl, Bale's troublesome toupee -- hard to argue with all that hair, or lack thereof. Shame this team missed the Oscar nod.
Best Costume Design: "The Great Gatsby," Catherine Martin
Did I say the fourth BAFTA to date for Baz Luhrmann's missus? Make that fifth. Another easy prediction, and while the Costume Designers' Guild has yet to weigh in, I expect the Academy to go the same way. (Fun fact: If it wins the Oscar, it'll be replicating the achievement of the 1974 version of "Gatsby." F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic just lends itself to sartorial dazzle.)
Best Music: "Gravity," Steven Price
Another one we all predicted, and another one I think the Academy will agree with. (I'm getting to be a broken record, I know.) If I'm being completely honest, the score is the one element of "Gravity" I'm not completely wild about, but it's prominent and varied and takes some sonic risks, so it seems the obvious pick. Price is still pretty new to the game: his first credited feature film score was his terrific collaboration with Basement Jaxx on "Attack the Block" in 2011.
Best Animated Film: "Frozen," Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
With "The Wind Rises" not eligible, this was a particularly weak category, so naturally the Disney phenomenon romps to victory, as it will at the Oscars. Fine by me: It's not my favorite animated film of the year, but I do think it's the Disney animation branch's best since "The Lion King."
Carl Foreman Award (outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: Kieran Evans, "Kelly + Victor"
Nice to see BAFTA look past the obvious mainstream candidate (Kelly Marcel for "Saving Mr. Banks") and pick out something genuinely fresh and independent. Personally, I don't think Evans' erotic drama is a complete success, but he's a striking new voice, and I'm looking forward to his follow-up -- to which this win will be a considerable boost. (Past winners include Andrea Arnold and Steve McQueen.)