BAFTA 2019: London Swings Into Party Mode Ahead Of Sunday’s Film Awards

BAFTA Film Awards

BAFTA weekend is upon us as nominees and execs prep for London revelry throughout Sunday night’s awards and into the wee small hours afterwards. Last year, we saw a contrast in the pre- and post-festivities as new hosts stepped up to take over from The Weinstein Company, which had fronted some of the hottest tickets in town until the company was engulfed by scandal.

This year there are even more exclusive soirées to choose from (or to be chosen by). While Sunday sees eOne, Fox and Lionsgate return to Soho House’s Greek Street hub in a repeat of what was a terrific 2018 event, new on the bash block is Netflix which will take over the Chiltern in Marylebone that same night.

The streaming giant scored its biggest haul of nominations this year, largely for Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma which has seven, tied with Warner Bros’ A Star Is Born, Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Universal’s First Man. Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite is the leader at 12.

Along with celebrating the UK’s most prestigious film awards, this weekend is an opportunity for nominees to rub shoulders and be seen ahead of Oscar ballots opening February 12. There’s a big membership overlap between BAFTA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the latter seeks to become a more global enterprise.

Glasses started clinking Thursday evening with legendary New York publicist and hostess Peggy Siegal again co-hosting a dinner at Spencer House with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and theater producer Jessica de Rothschild.

Today, AMPAS will celebrate this year’s Oscar nominees — many of whom are also in BAFTA contention — with a Champagne Tea at the venerable Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair. Following that, BAFTA holds its Film Gala at the iconic Savoy Hotel. This is dedicated to raising funds “to support our belief that everyone with talent, regardless of background, deserves the chance to shine,” says the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The money helps BAFTA, which has a series of programs focused on fostering talent, help new and emerging names across the film, games and TV industries.

On Saturday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge open Kensington Palace to BAFTA for the official nominees cocktail which will be held for a fifth year in a row in several upstairs rooms of the royal residence. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is president of BAFTA and will also attend the ceremony Sunday night with his wife Catherine. They do not, however, typically put in a presence at the nominees cocktail.

Leaving Kensington Palace, some folks will head to Charles Finch’s yearly dinner. The event is switching venues, moving to 5 Hertford Street rather than its usual haunt at Annabel’s in Mayfair.

In a late do that evening, Universal and Focus are hosting a party at the Chiltern. Uni had in recent years opted for intimate post-awards affairs at Little House in Mayfair, but in 2018 set up a well-attended, prestige shindig at the Chiltern on the Sunday night. Moving to Saturday, this is a hot ticket and is in support of First Man, Sorry To Bother You, Mary Queen of Scots and BlacKkKlansman (Uni has domestic on Green Book with eOne handling in the UK, so that film gets its props at the Sunday night Soho House fëte). If the Saturday night bash is anything like the one Uni/Focus held for Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman in Cannes last year, it’s sure to be a corker.

Revelers will primp on Sunday before heading to the awards ceremony which kicks off at the Royal Opera House at 7 PM local. It airs on a two-hour delay in the UK, so be sure to check out our annual live blog on the night.

When the show wraps, it sets the menu for the official dinner at Grosvenor House on Park Lane. A sea of stars and execs will rub shoulders in what has become an increasingly crowded, but relaxed and giddy event to table hop for about two hours.

There’s also a Vogue party at Annabel’s that night, while those with coveted invites will make their way from Grosvenor House to the eOne/Fox/Lionsgate event fête-ing Green Book, The Favourite, Bohemian Rhapsody and Isle of Dogs. Warner Bros has an intimate do at Kettner’s. And then there’s the Netflix get-together mentioned above which will celebrate its eight nominations — for Roma and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The Netflix soirée should be a big draw, as will each of the dos on what is one of the busiest yet laid back evenings on the awards-season circuit.

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