The 74th British Academy Film and Television Awards unfolded this weekend over two consecutive nights, on April 10-11. The ceremony, which traditionally takes place two weeks prior to the Oscars, was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall with nominees attending virtually. This year’s ceremony saw Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland dominate the BAFTAs.
After last year’s #BaftasSoWhite backlash, the academy underwent radical changes in its organization to bring about change and diversity. The nominees were announced on March 9 with, for the first time in BAFTA history, four women nominated in the Director category, Sarah Gavron for Rocks, Shannon Murphy for her debut feature Babyteeth, Chloé Zhao for Nomadland, and Jasmila Žbanić for Quo Vadis, Aida? Three of these nominated directors were also nominated for Film Not in the English Language. This year also saw 16 of the 24 acting contenders come from minority ethnic backgrounds, with 21 being first-time nominees.
Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland was the big winner of the weekend-long ceremony with 4 BAFTAs. Nomadland won Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Frances McDormand won the award for Leading Actress. Zhao dedicated the award to the nomadic community. She is the second woman in BAFTA history to have won Best Director, after Kathryn Bigelow won 11 years ago for The Hurt Locker. Nomadland has not yet been released in the U.K., where it will become available to stream on Disney+ on April 30.
Florian Zeller’s The Father won two awards. Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller received the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Sir Anthony Hopkins won the award for Best Leading Actor. The 83-year-old actor did not attend the ceremony virtually. Director Florian Zeller thus accepted the award on his behalf.
Emerald Fennell’s debut feature, Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan also won two awards for Outstanding British Film and Original Screenplay.
Disney and Pixar’s Soul won Best animated Film and Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won Best Original Score.
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Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal, starring Riz Ahmed, won two awards across the two evenings for Best Sound and Best Editing.
Despite getting the most nominations, 7 in total, same as Nomadland, the low-budget coming-of-age drama Rocks won the award for Casting, and the film’s lead actress, Bukky Bakray won the EE Rising Star Award. Many of the young actors starring in Sarah Gavron’s film had never acted before.
Thomas Vinterberg, who was also nominated in the Best Director category, won the award for Film Not in the English Language for his latest film Another Round (Druk). Back in October 2020, Vinterberg had already won the Audience Award at the BFI London Film Festival.
Remi Weekes won Outstanding Debut for his amazing horror film His House.
Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari, and Best Supporting Actor went to Daniel Kaluuya for Judas and The Black Messiah.
My Octopus Teacher on Netflix won Best Documentary.
The previous evening on Saturday April 10, 8 out of the 25 awards were announced by host Clara Amfo alongside guests Rhianna Dhillon and Joanna Scanlan, which saw Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom winning two awards for Costume Design and Make Up & Hair. Mank won Production Design. Tenet won Special Visual Effects. And The Present won the British Short Film award, while The Owl and the Pussycat won British Short Animation.
Filmmaker Noel Clarke was presented the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, and gave a powerful acceptance speech dedicating his award to the “underrepresented.” “Sometimes you’ll feel like it’s not achievable, it is. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re not good enough, you are. Sometimes you’ll feel like you don’t deserve it, you do,” he concluded.