“For one night let’s make America great Britain again,” said BAFTA -LA CEO Chantal Rickards in coming closest to any political statement in the opening to Friday night’s annual Britannia Awards, put on by the
British Academy of Arts & Sciences , Los Angeles branch. That is until Jim Carrey was awarded the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence In Comedy toward the end of the night. The comedian won two rip roaring standing ovations , one at the start and one at the finish of his very impassioned speech which woke up the largely British crowd and became the most memorable moment of the night.
After a warm introduction by his Dumb And Dumber director Peter Farrelly , Carrey who has increasingly become one of Hollywood’s more politically outspoken stars of late didn’t disappoint those hoping he would make some waves as he accepted his award. “I’m glad it didn’t come in the mail ,” he said referring to the day’s big political story du jour regarding the 13 -and counting – pipe bombs sent to critics of President Trump by a disgruntled supporter of the current occupant of the White House. “It kinda worked , maybe a little soon? It is my job to try. Yes, I no longer have packages delivered to my home in the great America that has been fashioned in the last couple of years. I don’t remember it ever being this great actually, ” he laughed while whipping the gathered Brits into a frenzy.
As he continued to talk about the dire and poor circumstances in which Charlie Chaplin grew up , he linked it to today. “But that kind of pain turns some people as we’ve seen lately into monsters, and others into
fountains of creativity…Without empathy like he had, this character (of the Little Tramp) would never have existed. Without empathy we won’t either. With Modern TImes he criticized capitalism without a conscience, and that’s what we have now: capitalism without a conscience. He showed the common man being fed through gears of brutal dehumanizing industrial age. He took on the American right wing of its day and its worst evils, hatred of immigrants, contempt of the truth , greed , and the abuse of power. We are fighting those same evils today,” he continued.
“In America, the United Kingdom , and across the globe and we need to be clear, shamelessness is not , and will never be , a superpower. It is the mark of a villain. Kidnapping children is not what great nations do. Almost half of America at this moment believes there is a sinister deep state diabolically plotting to what? Give them health care? What is the sinister plan here? … We in America are misinformed. Reality shows have warped our idea of what a hero is, or what the truth is. So tonight I would like to dedicate this award to those who remind us of our virtues , who remind us of the truth: to Sir Charles Chaplin who battled McCarthyism into exile, to Christopher Steele who tired to pull a thorn out of the paw of an ungrateful beast , to Christine Blasey Ford and to Colin Kaepernick. He’ll stand for the anthem when the anthem stands for him, and to one of my friends , my good friend and one of the great artists of our time, Robert De Niro whose life was threatened this week, and to the many other incredibly decent people who bring joy to the world and have been dedicated to it for decades. How dare they besmirch those people, how dare they. We can do better than this. I know this wasn’t funny but it is not very funny right now. I want it to be and I will be again, but godammit let’s get the balance back, okay? ” he said to huge raucous applause.
Excellence In Directing winner Steve McQueen ; Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Enterainment winner Kevin Feige of Marvel who had the unenviable task of following Carrey ,smartly acknowledging that by asking “Who’s idea was it for me to be on after Jim Carrey?” ; and Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film winner Cate Blanchett who, like Carrey , was trying to balance receiving a show biz award with the strife going on in the world.
“It’s hard to be silent as an artist when there is so much to discuss , ” she said while also taking several swings at praising the individualism and brilliance of Kubrick, the man her latest award is named after.
- The show was hosted by British comic Jack Whitehall , whose best line came when he introduced Viola Davis to honor her Widows director McQueen. “She stars in How To Get Away With Murder, Saudi Arabia’s most popular show, ” he said to big laughs. He also made a running bit about the endless interruptions of the show (live streamed on Brit Box) for sponsor commercials, with so many that it became positively annoying after a while. I guess you have to pay for these things one way or another.