Overall, tonight’s BAFTA awards show — known as “the British Oscars” — was marred by human errors and technical flubs. But the winners didn’t care. I counted 7 name-checks for Harvey Weinstein during the evening. In fact, pretty much every time one of The King’s Speech’s 7 award winners thanked the British academy, they thanked The Weinstein Company brother. A visibly emotional Colin Firth, accepting his second straight Best Actor statuette, referred to “the unstoppable Harvey”. Winning The King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler said: “Harvey, I guess you’re not British but you’ve made and distributed so many British films we owe you an honorary tally-ho.” Presenter Jessica Alba, referring to Geoffrey Rush not being on hand to accept his Best Supporting Actor award, said that Harvey would give it to him. Helena Bonham Carter, accepting her Best Supporting Actress award, called Harvey her “nominations godfather”. Even emcee TV chat show host Jonathan Ross, admonishing everyone to turn off their cell phones, worked in a reference to the man: “I can see that Harvey Weinstein is gagging for a tweet.”
In Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House tonight, Inception won 3 technical awards for Sound, Production Design, and Special Visual Effects which prompted one VFX designer to pay homage to the film’s writer/director Christopher Nolan: “I spent 3 weeks in Chris Nolan’s garage visualising this film, which wasn’t hard because Chris had done all the work.” The Social Network also received 3 BAFTAs, including a surprise Best Director for David Fincher. But he wasn’t present so co-stars Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg collected it for the helmer. Neither was Lead Actress winner Natalie Portman, so Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky accepted for her. Alice In Wonderland won technical 2 awards for costume and make-up/hair. Black Swan and Toy Story 3 each won 1 award. And Geoffrey Rush wasn’t there because he’s currently starring in “The Diary of a Madman” at The Brooklyn Academy of Music”. He’s won two previous BAFTA awards: for Shine (1997 ) and Elizabeth (1999)
As for the snafus, let me count all the ways people and equipment can mess up an awards show in the UK. Harry Potter producer David Heyman, collecting Outstanding British Contribution was mistakenly intro’ed by presenter Stephen Fry as “David Warner”. Then when Heyman began speaking, his directors Mike Newell, David Yates, and Alfonso Cuaron were still ambling towards the stage. “They weren’t any quicker shooting either,” quipped Heyman, getting a big laugh. Presenters Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike completely flubbed their intro, with Pike unable to read her autocue and forced to ad-lib. She then tried to open the winners’ envelope before she’d listed the nominees. Host Jonathan Ross rushed on stage saying “Whoa” and physically restrained her from ripping the envelope.
Though laughs on the ground were thin this year, Ross got one of the biggest guffaws – perhaps with relief – when he explained on stage that “Ricky Gervais cannot get into the building.” He also noted that while some nommed films had a message for audiences, “The Last Airbender taught me that your local cinema won’t give you your money back no matter how much you ask them”.
Bonham Carter, who was suffering from a bad cold, also got smiles with these lines: “I’m so used to losing it’s strange to win. And, hey, if my children are watching, it’s not about the winning… I should also thank the Royal Family because they’ve been doing wonders for my career. I seem to have been playing queens with decreasing head sizes. What next, a pin-headed queen?”
And film critic Mark Kermode, presenting the Film Not In the English Language award won by Swedish-produced The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, used the occasion to poke fun at major studios which is in the middle of filming an American version: “These are films that can be understood by everybody with subtitles. But Hollywood will still feel the need to remake them in English.”