The victory of “The Power of the Dog” in BAFTA

Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” won the BAFTA Awards for Best Director and Best Picture on Sunday, beating Denis Villeneuve for first place despite his epic sci-fi movie Dion winning five more awards at the star-studded London gala.

Will Smith won the Best Actor Award for his role as the Williams sisters’ father and tennis coach in “King Richard”, while Britain’s Joanna Scanlan won the Best Actress award for her role as her widow in the drama “After Love.”

The Power of the Dog star Benedict Cumberbatch accepted the Best Director award on Campion’s behalf, the day after she won her first Directors Guild of America award for her film on the toxic masculinity of a sexually repressed cowboy.

The film is the number one runner-up for the Oscars, which will take place in Los Angeles in two weeks.

Opening the ceremony amid Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, BAFTA chief Krishnido Majumdar said the invasion “shocked the world with pictures and stories detailing a truly appalling and heartbreaking situation”.

He said film academies across Europe stood in solidarity with Ukraine and “we share the hope that peace will return.”

Despite the gloomy mood in the world over the ongoing Moscow offensive, Sunday’s awards were a celebration of freedom of a different kind as they were held in person for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

The evening, Australian actress Rebel Wilson presented a singing performance by British Emilia Jones, who played the role of a deaf child in the movie “Coda” and was competing for the Best Actress award.

Her performance on stage was signed at the same time in British and American Sign Language.

“Fortunately, this is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s gesture in all sign languages,” Wilson said, raising her middle finger.

While presenting the Best Director award, Andy Serkis criticized British Home Secretary Priti Patel and her handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

“All refugees are welcome, but some are more welcome than others, it’s a total nightmare,” Serkis said.

Despite not winning first prizes, Villeneuve’s “Dune” won for special effects, cinematography, sound, score and production design.

Scanlan, who took home the best actress award for her role as Mary Hussein, a widow who discovers her late husband has a secret family, said the film involved “much love, blood, sweat and tears”.

She paid tribute to her real husband, “living proof that there is no such thing as ‘love yet’.”

American actress and singer Ariana DeBose won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the remake of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” admitting to audiences “I speak dance better than I speak English.”

Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a deaf Massachusetts hunter and father to a Jones student at the Jones Lyric School in Coda, receiving his award in Sign Language.

He joked about celebrating the 60th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, asking in sign language “Do you probably think of a deaf Bond, 008?”

Coda director Sian Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay, honoring the American fishermen who helped her understand their work and the deaf community who “shared their stories with me and trusted me.”

French Léa Seydoux presented the award for best film in a language other than English, saying that “now more than ever we need to communicate across language divisions and remember the things we all have in common.”

Japan’s Ryosuke Hamaguchi won the “Drive My Car” award, saying “Well, I got rid of my travel fatigue” when he accepted the award.

“That’s the power of the movie,” Hamaguchi said. “They transcend language, transcend borders. This is really the power of the film.”

Kenneth Branagh won the award for Outstanding British Film for his autobiography “Belfast,” honoring movie audiences in the Netflix era.

“They all pay tribute to the broadcast revolution but they all pay tribute to the big screen too, it’s alive! And maybe they live together for a long time.”

“If you create it, they will come.”

Lady Gaga, who was nominated for Best Actress for her lead role in “The House of Gucci”, was presented with the EE Rising Star Award, the only one the audience voted for.

The award was given to Lashana Lynch for her role as an MI6 spy in James Bond’s latest ride, No Time To Die.


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