BAFTA Film Awards: ‘Dune’, ‘Power of the Dog’ race ahead

Sci-fi epic ‘Dune’ picked up four top prizes from 11 leading nominations as the British Academy Film Awards returned on Sunday with a live, black-tie ceremony after a pandemic-cut event in 2021.

Acting nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Lady Gaga were among the stars walking the red carpet at London’s Royal Albert Hall ahead of an ceremony hosted by Australian actor and comedian Rebel Wilson.

Last year’s event was largely held online, with only hosts and presenters appearing in person. This year, the stars were gathering in the shadow of Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Krishnendu Majumdar, president of the British Film Academy, known as BAFTA, opened the show with a message of support for Ukraine.

“We stand in solidarity with those who bravely fight for their country and we share their hope for a return to peace,” he said.

After that came the glitz, with 85-year-old diva Shirley Bassey and a live orchestra performing ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ to mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond films.

“Bond is 60 and his girlfriends are 25,” joked host Wilson, who toned down her usual bawdy material for the BBC’s early-night broadcast of the ceremony.

“Dune” by Denis Villeneuve, with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, has 11 nominations including those for best film, cinematography and original music.

The space saga set on a desert planet picked up awards early in the ceremony for visual effects, sound, cinematography by Greig Fraser and score by Hans Zimmer.

Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” set in 1920s Montana and starring Cumberbatch as a rancher, has eight, including Best Director and Best Picture.

If Campion wins the achievement trophy, she will be only the third female winner in this category, but the second in two years after Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” in 2021.

“Belfast”, semi-autobiographical by Kenneth Branagh, the story of a childhood eclipsed by the violent “Troubles” of Northern Ireland, has six nominations, including that of the best film. Daniel Craig’s latest 007 thriller ‘No Time To Die’, Steven Spielberg’s musical ‘West Side Story’ and Paul Thomas Anderson’s coming-of-age drama ‘Licorice Pizza’ each have five appointments.

Best Picture nominees include ‘Dune’, ‘The Power of the Dog’, ‘Belfast’, ‘Licorice Pizza’ and comedy disaster ‘Don’t Look Up’.

The separate Best British Film category includes “After Love”, “Ali & Ava”, “Belfast”, “Boiling Point”, “Cyrano”, “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”, “House of Gucci”, “Last Night in Soho “. “, “No time to die” and “Passing”.

Best Actor contenders include Cumberbatch, Adeel Akhtar for ‘Ali & Ava’, Mahershala Ali for ‘Swan Song’, Stephen Graham for ‘Boiling Point’, Leonardo DiCaprio for ‘Don’t Look Up’ and Will Smith for ‘King Richard. ”

The main actresses nominated are Lady Gaga for “House of Gucci”, Alana Haim for “Licorice Pizza”, Emilia Jones for “Coda”, Renate Reinsve for “The Worst Person in The World”, Joanna Scanlan for “After Love” and Tessa Thompson. to pass”. The category is the night’s most unpredictable, with acclaimed performances from Kristen Stewart in Princess Diana’s biopic “Spencer” and Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter” being overlooked for the nomination.

The UK awards usually take place a week or two before the Oscars and have become a milestone of awards season. This year’s Oscars will take place on March 27.

Britain’s film academy has expanded its voting membership and shaken up its rules in recent years to try to address a glaring lack of diversity in nominations. In 2020, no woman was named best director for a seventh straight year, and all 20 nominees in the lead and supporting performer categories were white.

Awards organizers say they are committed to supporting new talent, and this year all artists in the supporting actor category are nominated for the first time. They include Woody Norman for “C’mon C’mon” – at age 11, the youngest nominee of the year – and Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita in “West Side Story”.

The celebration of cinema was subdued, with many participants reflecting on the war raging on the other side of Europe.

Cumberbatch wore a lapel badge in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. He said it was to oppose “megalomaniac” Russian President Vladimir Putin “who is raining terror” on Ukraine.

“It’s a very scary and sad time,” he said on the red carpet. ‘Although it’s a gesture, and people may say it’s hollow, it’s just something I can do tonight’ – while pressuring UK politicians to welcome more refugees of the war.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen, director of the animated feature ‘Flee’, the story of an Afghan refugee, said it was ‘surreal’ to be at an awards ceremony when ‘the world is burning’ .

But he said the images of the millions driven from their homes in Ukraine underscored the message that “these stories need to be told”.


Hilary Fox contributed to this story.

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