A retrospective view On 2019 BAFTAs

Film Editor Joe Holloran talks of the snubs and surprises of this years BAFTAs

Joe Holloran
25th February 2019
Image: Flickr, Stuart Chalmers
Its that time of the year again when critics, movie-goers and industry types take stock of the last twelve-months’ worth of cinematic entertainment. Kicking off awards season this year was the BAFTA’s ceremony, held on 9th February at the world-famous Royal Albert Hall in London.

The British Academy’s 72nd annual show saw two films dominate proceedings, one actress become a new national treasure and threw up some of the inevitable controversial winners that make these industry gigs worth watching. So, who were the deserving and underserving winners this year?

Lets first have a look at the big worth winners. First up, big congratulations to Oliva Coleman and Rachel Weisz gave the performances of their careers in The Favourite and deservedly picked up the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress trophies respectively. Alfonso Cuaron’s magnificent drama Roma won Best Picture and earned him the Best Director accolade. Once again, Cauron has proven himself to be one of the world’s finest cinematic visionaries. Mahershala Ali picked up the award for Best Supporting Actor for his powerful role in Green Book and last year’s most pleasant surprise-hit Spider-Man: Into the Spidey-Verse won Best Animated Film. Youngster Letitia Wright, star of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War cemented her place as one of Britain’s top future stars by picking up the EE Rising Star Award. Watch this space where she is concerned.

This year's BAFTA results are the most positive in a long while for the British film industry

Now, not all those who won deserved it. Let’s start with the most controversial one first, Remi Malek as King Freddie in Bohemian Rhapsody. Don’t get me wrong, his performance was one of the best things about the movie, however, there simply were more deserving winners of the Best Actor award. Both Viggo Mortensen & Christian Bale gave outstanding performances in Green Book and Vice respectively. In my opinion Bale should have secured this award, but when you have a film as financially successful as Malek’s your chances of winning increase massively. Hopefully, this situation would have been fixed at the Oscars a few days ago. Another surprising winner was Spike Lee picking up the Best Adapted Screenplay Award for BlacKkKlansmen. Again, a fine film, but Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwins If Beale Street Could Talk should have won for its powerful turn on screen.

Another disappointing winner was in the Best Documentary category. The winning film Free Solo about a solo mountain climb won out over the much more beautiful, moving and important Peter Jackson film They Shall Not Grow Old, a colourised archive footage documentary about the British and Colonial forces fighting in WWI. The most predictable, yet undeserved win of the night has to go to Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born. Given the success of the film their win was inevitable. However, for me the award should have gone to either BlacKkKlansmen for its perfectly suited music or to Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a film where the score blends in with and complements the visuals so well it becomes almost unnoticeable.

This year’s BAFTA results are the most positive in a long while for the British film industry. Coleman and Weisz showcased their fantastic talents on the international stage, the British made Bohemian Rhapsody blew audiences away, our young actors are breaking out in some of cinema’s biggest films and our highly talented technical crew picked up award after award in categories such as costume, hair and make-up and production design. Let’s hope that the British film industry can build on this success throughout 2019.

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