The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Argo' named best picture at British Academy Film Awards; Affleck is best director

  • Print

LONDON - Iran-hostage drama "Argo" continued its journey from awards-season outsider to favourite Sunday, winning three prizes, including best-picture, at the British Academy Film Awards.

Ben Affleck was named best director for the based-on-reality story of a longshot plan to rescue a group of American diplomats from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the film also took the editing trophy.

Affleck, who has made a remarkable journey from little-regarded actor to award-winning director, dedicated his directing prize for "anyone out there who's trying to get their second act."

George Clooney, a producer of "Argo," quipped: "I don't know what you're going to do for a third act."

Daniel Day-Lewis won his universally expected best-actor trophy for "Lincoln" — the only prize out of 10 nominations for Steven Spielberg's historical biopic.

Emmanuelle Riva, the 85-year-old French film legend, was named best actress for Michael Haneke's poignant old-age portrait "Amour." It also was named best foreign-language film.

Made-in-Britain French revolutionary musical "Les Miserables" won four prizes, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway. James Bond adventure "Skyfall" spied some elusive awards recognition, winning trophies for best British film and for music. In the music category, "Skyfall" edged out Toronto composer Mychael Danna for "Life of Pi." Danna is also nominated for an Oscar.

The British awards, known as BAFTAs, are increasingly glamorous — despite a well-earned reputation for dismal weather — and ever-more scrutinized as an indicator of likely success at the Hollywood Oscars. In recent years they have prefigured Academy Awards triumph for word-of-mouth hits such as "Slumdog Millionaire," ''The King's Speech" and "The Artist."

This year they spread their honours widely, with multiple trophies for "Life of Pi," ''Silver Linings Playbook," ''Amour" and "Django Unchained," as well as "Argo."

Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden thriller "Zero Dark Thirty" was shut out of the prizes, despite five nominations.

This season's movie with momentum is crowd-pleaser "Argo," which has been building steam with big prizes at ceremonies such as the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild of America Awards.

It is now considered a front-runner for the best picture award at the Oscars on Feb. 24, even though Affleck was not nominated for best director.

"Argo" marks a change for Affleck, whose first two features as director — "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town" — were set in his native Boston. In "Argo" he stars as Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who poses as a sci-fi filmmaker in a risky plot to rescue Americans in Tehran.

"I wanted to get as far away from Boston as I could," Affleck said. "I ended up in Iran."

"Skyfall," the highest-grossing film in the Bond series' 50-year history, was named best British film — rare awards-season recognition for an action movie. Thomas Newman's score also won the best-music prize.

Director Sam Mendes said he was accepting the trophy on behalf of the "1,292 people" who worked on "Skyfall."

"We all had high expectations for this film and it's fair to say all of them have been exceeded," Mendes said. "Here's to the next 50 years."

Quentin Tarantino picked up the original screenplay award for "Django Unchained," and Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for playing a loquacious bounty hunter in Tarantino's slave-revenge thriller.

Waltz said his victory was entirely due to Tarantino — "you silver-penned devil, you."

Tarantino also revealed that he plans another film that sets out to right an historical wrong, after anti-Nazi saga "Inglourious Basterds" and "Django Unchained."

"I think there is something about this that begs a trilogy," he said. "I don't know what the third one's going to be yet."

Hathaway said she was "overjoyed" at being named best supporting actress for her brief but powerhouse performance in "Les Miserables." She said she was so taken aback that "I almost walked past George Clooney without hugging him."

She also expressed sympathy for co-star Eddie Redmayne, who had been due to present an award but — co-presenter Sally Field informed the audience — was vomiting backstage.

"Feel better," Hathaway said. "I mean I'd be holding your hair back, but, you know..."

Writer-director David O. Russell won the adapted screenplay prize for "Silver Linings Playbook," a comedy about characters confronting mental illness.

"Les Mis" also took trophies for production design, sound and makeup/hair, and "Life of Pi" received honours for cinematography and visual effects.

Before the ceremony, stars including Clooney, Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper braved a chilly rain that turned to snow outside the Royal Opera House.

For once it was hair, even more than frocks, that drew attention — many stars opted for dark colours, though Marion Cotillard defied the dull weather in a canary-yellow gown. Beards were de rigeur among male stars including Clooney, Affleck and Cooper, while Helen Mirren turned heads with a pink 'do, sported in honour of breast cancer awareness.

Sunday's ceremony also saw director Alan Parker receive a BAFTA Fellowship, the academy's highest honour, for a career that includes "Midnight Express," ''Fame" and "Mississippi Burning."

___

Online: http://www.bafta.org

Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

It’s the End Of the Term And They Know It, Part Two

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Carolyn Kavanagh(10) had this large dragonfly land on her while spending time at Winnetka Lake, Ontario. photo by Andrea Kavanagh (mom0 show us your summer winnipeg free press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who will you vote for in Wednesday's mayoral race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google