Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage
In 2001, BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry spearheaded an initiative to move the ‘British Oscars’ ahead of the Academy Awards, cementing their place on the season’s roadshow. This year, a calendar of events highlights their increasing importance. The organization and its sponsors now conduct a suite of pre- and post-awards events, with several studios expected to throw big after-parties next Sunday night following the official ceremony at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Just tonight, Idris Elba deejayed at a pre-celebration of the EE BAFTA Rising Star prize at the Savoy, and I hear Harvey Weinstein will toast his nominees – who this year include Quentin Tarantino, Christoph Waltz and Joaquin Phoenix – with an intimate dinner in Mayfair on Friday.
As hopefuls fly in, Bond Street jewelers Asprey hosts the official Nominees’ Party on Saturday night for the fifth consecutive year. Guests are expected to decamp from there to a party thrown annually by Charles Finch at Annabel’s in Berkeley Square. After Sunday’s kudos, an official dinner and after-party follow at the Grosvenor House Hotel. The Weinstein Company’s annual post-BAFTA bash will also happen in Mayfair, while Universal – with hopefuls Les Misérables and Zero Dark Thirty – will host an after-party nearby, too. Sources suggest other studios with large nominations hauls – including Warner Bros. and Fox, with headliners Argo and Lincoln and Life Of Pi – would have events planned this week also.
Festivities began on January 30 with an annual British Talent event at Shoreditch House sponsored by InStyle magazine. A lunch held at the Savoy on Tuesday this week for Sir Alan Parker, this year’s recipient of BAFTA’s highest honor, the Fellowship, was followed by another today for Outstanding British Contribution honoree Tessa Ross. Both were hosted by menswear giant Jeremy Hackett. Guests including John Hurt, Cameron Mackintosh and Terry Gilliam attended yesterday’s lunch, with Andrea Arnold, Abi Morgan and Christian Colson on the Wednesday list.
At lunch on Tuesday, BAFTA’s Berry told Deadline she was proud the awards had become such a key fixture that they attracted so much sponsor and third-party interest. Investment in these auxiliary events is stronger than ever this year, and Berry says the show’s presenter guest list – which includes Meryl Streep, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Kevin Spacey – reflects the growing power of BAFTA as an international event. At the turn of the millennium it was an event conducted largely through videoed acceptance speeches, but this year, Berry said, the majority of nominees would arrange to be present on the night.