Monday, 17 February 2014

Weekly Review: EE BAFTAS: An overview

I stopped watching award ceremonies several years back. The reasons for why I had, I had forgotten... until I decided to watch the BAFTAs last night. 

Don't get me wrong, overall I enjoyed the night. Stephen Fry, the host of the evening, was on point and threw out more hilarious comments than bad ones, making me love him even more than I had previously, which I had thought was impossible. The highlight of his comments had to be his introduction to Oprah Winfrey, with the following line: "Her performance in the Butler was so moving, it almost convinced me to give my own butler the afternoon off." I promptly laughed like a fool and naturally retweeted the line. Being 100% British, there's nothing I love more than when our celebrities embrace their Britishness with pride and embellishment. To me, there is no one that signifies being British more so than Stephen Fry, the man is so awesome, I can barely stand it. I also enjoyed his introduction for Emma Thompson, one of his closest friends, where he simply and very affectionately insulted her onto the stage, to which she responded with a proud air and took the insults as the endearing affection in which they were intended. I loved it. 

I also was, on the whole, in agreement with the winners of the awards. Although I felt that 12 years a Slave could have done with a few more awards than what they were given. This was slightly redeemed by winning Best Film, but there were two awards that they were ultimately robbed of, namely Best Director and, most importantly, Best Supporting Actress. 

Let me take a moment to talk about the amazingness that is the supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave, Lupita Nyong'o, who played Patsey in the film. I saw this film back in January with Younger-Brother-Daniel, Older-Brother-Glyn and New-To-The-Family-Amy. It was every bit as amazing as it had been hyped up to be; portraying a real and very visual account of slavery in the Deep South. Stephen McQueen, Director for the movie, created shots that looked as if they had been painted onto the camera. Striking colours and picturesque backgrounds that overwhelmed the viewers, in stark contrast to the grotesque and ugly way the slaves were being treated within the film. The balance was powerful and every bit as effective as I'm sure McQueen had intended it to be. 

In amongst the cinematography of the film, was a cast of actors who held nothing back in bringing to life the story of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The cast chosen was a strong one, delivering powerful performances throughout. They were also, in large part, actors who were giants in their particular field. Big names were cast such as Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name a few. 

As amazed and in awe as I was over the performances held by all these names, for me they all almost paled into significance when, a third of the way through, the character of Patsey was introduced to the film. Every dialogue she held, every performance she gave, sent shivers down my spine. She was 100% riveting from beginning to end. This in itself would be amazing enough, but to then realise that this was in fact her first movie performance, my mind was blown. 

In a cast of giants, to be able to not only stand alongside them and hold her own, but, in my opinion, shine above them in certain scenes, shows just how much talent this woman holds. I came out of that film with her performance at the forefront of my mind, not to detract from the others who also delivered stellar performances. The first thing that I then said to both brothers was that if that woman didn't win an Oscar for that performance, there would be something entirely wrong with this world. 

Now, I appreciate that last night was only our small Island's version of the Oscars and, although reputable enough, doesn't quite hold the standing of the Queen of all award ceremonies, but it has been known in previous years to be the thing that foreshadows the winnings of the Oscars. Granted, this isn't verbatim, but an inclination is definitely made from that night. 

Lupita didn't win the supporting actress BAFTA, she lost it to Jennifer Lawrence, for her performance in American Hustle. I'll admit I haven't seen that film as of yet, but I do struggle to believe that my mate Jennifer could have possibly topped the performance Lupita gave. And I say that out of complete love, as we all know how much I love that woman. What made it all that more heartbreaking was that Lupita, being new to the award ceremony scene, hadn't quite mastered the "Don't look disappointed but clap appreciatively to the person who had actually won" pose. Her disappointment at not winning the award was clear on her face upon losing out on the Supporting Actress award, but even more so when she also then lost out on the Rising Star award as well. I just wanted to reach into the TV screen and hug her tight. 

It makes sense that she would have wanted it that little bit more than some of the others in that audience. The majority of the other nominees were seasoned actors who had quite a few awards already under their belts. This was all far too new and novel for her. However, the actors and directors who then went on to win awards for that film, all made a solid gesture at giving her talent the recognition it deserved, which seemed to take the edge off some of the disappointment. 

There were other highlights to the night as well. Prince William, when presenting the Fellowship Award to Helen Mirren, referring to her as his Granny (due to her performance in The Queen) was freakin awesome, as well as Cate Blanchett's fond dedication to Philip Seymour Hoffman in her acceptance speech for Best Actress, referring to him affectionately at the end with "Phil Buddy, this is for you, you bastard, I hope you're proud" ... I've not mentioned my reaction to Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, for reasons that my mind hasn't quite formulated a full response, but needless to say, the man was a talented and amazing actor and his death was a travesty on all accounts. 

Anywho, overall, I liked the show. There were, however, two small aspects of it that made me cringe and, as mentioned above, reminded me why I stopped watching shows like this. 

One: The night was littered with one liners from actors and actresses whereby they had tried to be funny and had failed miserably. Thus leaving me with this deep cringe within the pit of my stomach and a need to throw up, just to get the awkwardness out of my system. I can't stand watching people failing to be funny, it makes me feel sorry for them whilst simultaneously wanting to run away from where they are and pretend I had never seen it. There were quite a few of those moments scattered throughout the evening, made worse when my own opinion of not finding their lines funny were matched with those in the audience who, instead of laughing at the attempted joke, all just sat there in a tumble weed type motion and the awkwardness made me cover my ears until the moment had passed. I hate it. For some reason, I have a complete irrational fear of the whole thing. 

Two: There was a constant underlying biased opinion towards those of the British persuasion throughout the proceedings. I get it. It's set in England, thus things will be done in the British way. And that in itself I have no problem with. In fact, I applaud it, being stupidly patriotic in that way. However (and this may be observations formulated completely by my own imagination), I felt that the winners tended to be biased towards the British nominees as well. It wasn't anything too obvious and nothing that would cause controversy and outrage, but it was there, that little underlying thing that seemed to say "Hey Americans, come to our country, where we will show loads of shots of you sitting in our audience, thus making us look like a successful award ceremony, and then proceed to make you watch as we Brits take home all the awards." 

Before you say it, I know all the winners weren't British... but very few were American. I know I could be making something out of nothing here, given that 12 Years a Slave and Gravity were ultimately the winners of the night due to being awesome films, and they were both directed by non-american men, but even within those films, the few awards that an American had been nominated for, didn't seem to win anything... I don't know, perhaps I'm still just bitter about the whole Lupita losing out thing, and it's not as if I'm announcing that I'm a sudden American advocate in Britain, but it just goes into the underlying issue that seems to be within most award ceremonies... politics. There is always that crap going on. It bugs me. Not just with BAFTAs but with all of them, to a certain extent. 

And on that note, I'll love you and leave you before something else about last night pops into my head, and I end up going off on one about that as well, despite this already being far too long. 

Peace out my lovelies.

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