Joe Utichi is contributing to Deadline’s BAFTA Awards coverage
Given that so many Oscar contenders figure in the BAFTA races this year, expect London’s tony Mayfair neighborhood to turn into Hollywood-on-Thames this weekend. With the American Academy’s ballots officially going out today, and about a 500-member overlap between the two orgs, BAFTA is the place to be seen. There will be plenty of opportunity with an ever-grander roster of sideshow events.
InStyle and Esquire already kicked things off with parties celebrating the “Best of British Talent” and the EE Rising Star Award in the past two weeks. Local stars like Luke Evans and Jack O’Connell dominated the guest lists at both. (O’Connell was fresh in from Berlin where he received great buzz for his performance in competition film ’71.) BAFTA weekend proper kicks off tonight as Lancôme hosts its party and Harvey Weinstein puts on a private dinner for his nominees at the boutique Little House in Mayfair. He threw a similar event last year. As in 2013, menswear giant Hackett will host a lunch Saturday at the Savoy for BAFTA Fellowship honoree Helen Mirren. And the annual Nominees’ Party will play out Saturday night at Asprey’s Bond Street shop. From there, A-listers will head to the 15th Charles Finch-hosted dinner at Annabel’s.
The awards themselves take place Sunday at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, followed by a dinner and official after-party at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane. Of the 20 acting nominees, 18 have confirmed their attendance including Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett. BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry — who spearheaded the initiative to bring the awards ahead of the Oscars in 2001 — cites the Academy’s long-running partnerships with the likes of Audi, Lancôme and EE as testament to the show’s prestige. “The partners have allowed us to grow and develop the event. The awards show goes out in 167 territories; before 2001 it only went out in the UK. And the international audience ensures people are coming from all over the world to attend.” They’re not coming for the weather, in other words. Good news: after torrential rains today, the BBC’s forecast for Sunday promises a dry, sunny day.
Each year’s nomination-leading studios host a handful of after-parties. But you can bet the regular Weinstein Co do will remain one of the hottest tickets. TWC this year partners with Pathé, local distributor of Philomena and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, and Entertainment, which released Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The three titles have a total of seven nominations. Another Entertainment release, American Hustle, with 10 nominations, will be feted there too. In previous years, Weinstein’s team has chosen some of London’s hottest venues – when The King’s Speech won big, the newly built W hotel in Leicester Square opened a day early just for the event.
Warner Bros took home the top prize in 2013 for Ben Affleck’s Argo, after which the team enjoyed a private party hosted by the studio. With 20 nominations split amongst Gravity, Blue Jasmine, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and The Great Gatsby, WB’s celebration is expected to be a jubilant affair. EOne, too, is preparing to toast its talent. They have 15 nominations across 12 Years A Slave and Behind The Candelabra.
Nominees whose studios aren’t putting on dedicated events are likely to pick one of the others to decamp to once the official after-show wraps. Ironically, considering it’s this season’s party movie, Universal’s The Wolf Of Wall Street isn’t going to have its own celebration, I hear. Perhaps Team Wolf will end up hitting every party in true Jordan Belfort style.