Monday, February 12, 2007

My Thoughts on BAFTA yesterday.

Below-par is probably the phrase I’d use to describe yesterday’s ceremony. I’m a huge fan of the BAFTAs, I think their choices are nearly always more intelligent that those of Oscars’, their ceremony is more fun, laid-back and classier, and above it, it feels wonderfully British.

Yet, for some (various) reasons, a deep sense of malaise hung over my viewing yesterday. The first, most pertinent reason, is probably that there was no film that I cared for as much as I did about Brokeback Mountain last year. You know the sort of passion I’m talking about – like what Chris Cooper felt for orchids in Adaptation. To really, really, FEEL for something. I felt loads for Brokeback Mountain, and every time it won something during Awards season, I felt personally proud.

Well, sadly, there haven’t been any films from 2006 that have invoked such care in me. I really love Pan’s Labyrinth, though, it sits somewhere in my top 40, so that’s the film that I will be rooting for all the way through Oscar time. But you know, out of all the front-runners for Best Picture, there isn’t any film I really love all that much, and therefore I found it difficult to muster up all that much energy to care about who won what.

So, to save this from being totally boring from you, at random times, I’ve noted down profound/cute things that my 8-year-old brother said. We were watching this together, and, even though he’s seen hardly any of the films, I invited him to try and guess the winners too. That, at least, made the show a little more fun.

Things started out decently. This year, the BAFTAs were held in the London Opera House, a wonderfully grand place to be. Jonathon Ross stepped in for Stephen Fry, who retired. And, as much as I love the show Friday Night with Jonathon Ross, I must say, Wossy isn’t that well suited to the presenting Britain’s most prestigious film award. His jokes felt a little recycled and resorting to digs about Victoria Beckham showed the mark of a truly desperate comedian.

Anyway. The opening clip, BAFTA’s annual montage of clips from greats that have graced our screen over the last 12 years. Pretty. And then, the awards themselves began.

[Minor categories – shown at the end:
- Make Up: Pan’s (yay!)
- Production Design: Children of Men (good, but would have preferred Pan’s to get it.)
- Costume: Pan’s (lovely surprise! It wasn’t nominated for the Oscar so I thought it had no chance.)
- Sound: Casino Royale (well, it’s good that this movie won something, and I’m just thanking God that it wasn’t for Craig.)
- Editing: United 93 (I didn’t care for the editing in this film much, as you can probably tell.) ]

Best British Film – As I’d predicted, The Last King of Scotland won. Kate Winslet seemed really surprised to be announcing them, for some reason. Anyway, I was really pleased –it was my personal favourite from that category. However, I wasn’t so pleased to see the lovely James McAvoy sporting a not-so-lovely moustache. Not good.

Rising Star Award – Speak of the Devil, James McAvoy comes on to present this. He’s wearing a tux and a black shirt underneath and, at the risk of sounding like Borat, I have to say “I like.” Anyway, the clips chosen for each of the Rising Stars were well done. My brother predicts Emily Blunt and so do I. It goes to Eva Green. Am slightly disappointed for Emily, but Eva has such an elegant way about her, that it’s hard not to like the woman. However. What the frick is up with her hair??? Looks like a Bird’s nest has sat on top of her head! Can’t say I care too much for her red dress either. Nonetheless, Eva’s speech is good, genuine, and delivered in that cool French-with-a-touch-of-Anglophile accent.

Foreign – My brother hasn’t seen any of the films here, so he predicts Paint it Yellow, because, as he puts it, “the people take their clothes off and look happy.” The joys of being an 8-year-old, eh? I predict Pan’s, not just because my heart says Pan’s, but because… OK, basically, because my heart says Pan’s. And my heart is right for once! It wins, and I dance around the room, screaming delightedly.

Cinematography – Damien Lewis feels the need to define the word “cinematography” for us. Thanks, dear. Anyway, the “below-par” that I was speaking of previously shows here – Lewis re-uses a joke about how cinematographers can make or break an actor’s looks, that was said by Jason Isaacs in 2005. Did he really think I wouldn’t notice? The award goes to Children of Men, which is good, because I thought BAFTA might take pity on Babel and reward it (undeservingly) here. But they didn’t, so all is good.

Best British Filmmaker in their First Feature – another fine figure of a man/boy, Jamie Ball walks up to the tune of Scissor Sisters’ I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. Oh, the wit. Surprisingly he stumbles through his speech, although his slip-ups aren’t anywhere near as funny as last year, when Matthew Modine called Harry Potter Harry Potty. Andrea Arnold, director of Red Road, deservingly takes this award. (if you remember, she was one of the Brits that did me proud.) It’s funny to see her daughter sitting next to her. Her daughter looks about 10, and I can just imagine her saying, “mum, can I watch this Red Road movie that you’ve made?” That would sure Hell make for somewhat of an awkward conversation. Anyway, I love Arnold’s speech, she sounds genuine and happy.

Supporting Actor – Sienna Miller comes to announce this one. I have mixed feelings about her dress, though kudos to BAFTA for playing some Justin Timberlake in the background. Anyway, this was one of the categories in which my brother beat me. He saw Alan Arkin’s clip and immediately said, “he’ll win”, whereas I, choosing to predict with my heart rather than my brain, wished and wished that that Scottish sexpot James McAvoy would make it. He doesn’t, Arkin wins, and funnily, hasn’t even bothered to show up. *tears* Just because we’re British, doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings, y’know!

Film Music – Kyle Minogue’s dress is shiny. To be honest, I’m wasn’t particularly bothered about who won this category. Whilst I adore both Santaolalla and Desplat (the women announcing it says Deh-plah, which I get the feeling is incorrect), I felt that their scores to Babel and The Queen were mediocre by their standards. I mean, I loved the usage of “Iguazu” in Babel, but when will people remember that that is NOT an original piece of music? Santaolalla has used it in about 5 other films! Still, he wins, and I don’t mind too much, because it’s my opinion that he shoulda won last year for his majestic score to Brokeback Mountain. Furthermore, he actually pronounces Babel correctly. He’s the first person tonight to do so.

Original Screenplay – gotta love Simon Pegg, whoring his film in a way that’s shameless and funny. Anyway, I refused to believe that Peter Morgan would leave tonight without an award (he’s nominated for writing both The Queen & Last King of Scotland), but I predict him for the wrong win, and, much to my fury, Little Miss Sunshine wins the award for screenplay. My brother had also predicted this one. And to add to my anger, the writer of this film also hasn’t bothered to shown up. Meh!

Animated – Gervais was funny and temporarily took my mind off being angry about the previous category. He mentions playing Truman Capote, which would actually be quite amusing. The award goes to Happy Feet, which I must say, took me completely by surprise. I thought that BAFTA would have backed Flushed Away, as it was British, or Cars, as it was Pixar. But no, it’s nice to have a surprise, even if the speech was very boring.

VFX – predictable. Andy Serkis isn’t funny.

Best Supporting Actress – Don’t kill me ladies, for saying this, but I really think that Daniel Craig is quite skanky indeed. The award goes to Jennifer Hudson, and even though this means Blunt leaves the event without a single award, I’m pleased, because I was quite surprised with how good Hudson was in Dreamgirls (she’s my choice for best of the supporting actress category), plus, now that she’s won this, she truly is a lock for the Oscar. So Breslin won’t get it! Yay! (My brother also told me that even though Breslin didn’t win, she was still smiling winningly, which shows – she’s about half my age, but ten times the charmer I am. *is angry, again.*)

Adapted Screenplay – Chewey Ejiofor is classy as he walks on. And this is the category that Peter Morgan does win – for The Last King of Scotland. I’m over the moon for him, he was also one of the Brits that did me proud. I thought that BAFTA might award The Departed here just so that it didn’t leave empty handed, but it was wrong of me to think so lowly of them; The Last King of Scotland is the rightful winner. And Peter Morgan rocks!

Direction – I have here written in my notes “beautiful dress”, though I haven’t actually written who the dress was worn be. Well, I’ll take a guess here and say Penelope Cruz, because her dress last night was one of the most gorgeous things I’ve seen since the turn of 2007. It was wonderfully embroidered, with lovely patterns running across it. Cruz herself looked a queen, with her hair flowing prettily.

Yes, as you can see, I’m focussing on talking about the presenter and not who the award went to, because just the sheer thought of it angers me too much. I don’t wanna say.

But wow, Penelope looked stunning!

Actor in a Leading Role – Thandie Newton comes on in a very plain looking brown dress. I’d predicted O’Toole for this category, partially because I guess I would have liked their to have been more a surprise. But no, Whitaker got it, for his impassioned performance in The Last King of Scotland. I liked his speech, he sounded really happy to be winning the award. I’m also very disappointed that my Leo didn’t even bother showing up, after all, BAFTA actually nominated for the right movie,

Actress in a Leading Role – As if I needed any more reminding what 2005 had in film that 2006 did not, Jake “Second Hottest Man on the Planet” Gyllenhaal strolls all 6 feet 2 inches of his adorableness onto the stage. I’m so pleased that he’s returned, because what a lot of American stars do (cough Philip Seymour Hoffman cough) is come the year they’ve won their award, but then not bother showing up the following year, just because it’s the BAFTAs. But I’m proud of Jake for showing that he’s not at all, in any way, too big for his boots. Anyway, the award goes to Helen, and she, like us, looks completely unsurprised. Ooh, in the background, I saw Dominic Cooper (cute guy in The History Boys.) Helen’s speech is wonderfully thorough and British, and she offers another pronunciation of French composer Desplat – “Des-plat.” How do you pronounce it, anyway? So basically, pleased for Helen, she is one classy dame. And her necklace was lovely.

Best Film – I got a lot of my predictions wrong, but I actually got the main one right, and The Queen takes Best Film. Seeing as it’s so slim pickings for quality in this category (Little Miss Sunshine – bleh, Babel – decent but bland), I would have been happy if either Last King of Scotland, The Departed, or The Queen took it. The winners entertain us with a lively speech, saying “Michael Sheen’s the only person who could make Blair look sexy.” I have to say, in an odd way, I kind of agree.

The best dressed men: James McAvoy, Sweetheart Gyllenhaal
The best dressed women: Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet
Best Hair: Sienna Miller
Best Acceptance speech: Helen Mirren
Most deserved win: Pan’s, Best Foreign Film
Most undeserved win: United 93, Best Direction
Entertainment rating: 2/10 (I should have watched Arsenal Vs. Wigan on Sky. Heck, even Little Britain in BBC3 would have been funnier [and I detest Little Britain.])
Personal happiness rating: 5/10 (hated the love for LMS and United 93, but I must say, I’m pleased that Pan’s won three.)

Last thoughts… why couldn’t any of the announcers pronounce Babel properly?? And as you’ve seen from my write-up, when I’ve become more focussed on the dresses and suits than the winners of the categories is when you should worry. Though there were some stellar performances and work in technical categories in 2006, there really hasn’t been a single film that I’ve felt so, so, passionately about.

In fact – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – I’m seriously considering not staying up on the 25th to watch the ceremony this year. My mocks start in March, so I could well do with the sleep, but really, I just don’t think I’ll be missing out on too much if I don’t watch it.

Sad story.


Mrs Fashion said...

Hey, thanks for your comment - you may have caught me mid-edit so all the spelling mistakes should be corrected now!! And I'm loving your blog too... will come back soon! Mrs F x

Katie said...

Emma, you should've watch MOTD2! on 2Good 2Bad there was a Thierry/Theo hug that went on for hours! You would have loved it

Emma said...

That sounds wonderful. :(

Anonymous said...

Agreed - Cruz looked stunning.

craig said...

What was you brother doing up at that time? Tut tut

paul haine said...

Fun fact: my landlady's brother-in-law is Geoffrey Kirkland, who left the ceremony before the Production Design award came up.

Incidentally, anybody who likes Eva Green really ought to check out The Dreamers, as she's basically naked for the entire film.

Amanda said...

which way do you think Babel should be pronounced then?

Emma said...

Paul - I've heard dodgy things about Eva's character in The Dreamers, I don't know if I dare watch it!

Amanda - Well, over here, it's pronounced Babe-ul all the time, but I swear that's wrong? I thought it was Babble!

paul haine said...

You can pronounce it either way, both are fine - though I guess pronouncing it as 'Babe-ul' helps to differentiate it from the word 'babble'.

Catherine said...

I say it "Bay-bul". But, yeah.

Even though I was saddened that Cruz didn't win, Helen Mirren's speech was so gracious that I ended up not minding too much..

Emma said...

Oh, OK, I didn't know.

Catherine - I wanted Penélope to win too! But yeah, Mirren's speech was a joy.

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dwupton2003 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

Are the Oscars only on Sky Movies again? Although that's probably a good thing as I really shouldn't stay up all night when I have to, like, do things the next day.

I still don't understand why you hate 'United 93' so much, but oh well. I was amused by your comments- and your brother's.

Oh, and that comment above is me- my blogger account is messed up.

Emma said...

I *think* the Oscars will either on Sky Movies or Sky 1, not too sure.

And yeah. I really dislike United 93! :D

Cazziewaffle said...

I thought they were a big disappointment too, and so freaking boring! Ross does not have what it takes to present them.

And like you, I had no film I was passionate about, well, that was nominated anyway. I loooooooooooooooved Venus, but of course, O'Toole is never gonna win anything for it, even if he was an acting God in it.

And about the pronunication of Babel, I thought they had it right. I understand where you are coming from with "babble" especially since it comes from the word "Babel" but, I think that's just it. It just has roots in the word. I mean the two spellings are quite different, so they probably have different pronunications too.

Though I just checked for the pronunciations of "babel" and they have both listed, so I'm guessing either is right!

Emma said...

Hey Caz!!

Yup, so disappointing this year. I don't know why, I mean a lot of it *was* because of Wossy's inability to present the show (I love him, but God, he's no Steven Fry), but it was also just an overall feeling of blandness. Not good.