LONDON – “1917,” directed by Sam Mendes, was the big winner at the 73rd edition of the BAFTA awards on Sunday in London, taking home seven of the coveted prizes, including best picture and best director.
The World War I film telling the story of two British soldiers making their way through the trenches and No Man’s Land of the European front went into the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) ceremony with nine nominations and ended up garnering seven of those trophies.
In addition to best film and best director, “1917” took the awards for best British film, best sound, best cinematography, best production design and best visual effects.
The film had also won the best picture awards at the DGA and PGA as well as the Golden Globes, and Mendes had previously won director honors at the Globes and Critics’ Choice.
Competing with “1917” for best film were: “The Irishman,” “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Parasite.”
“Joker,” about Batman’s infamous Gotham City nemesis, got the most nominations of any film at this year’s edition of the BAFTAs – 11 –, but had to be content with three prizes. The film by Todd Phillips took the awards for best original music, best casting and best actor, with the latter going to Joaquin Phoenix, who issued a call for diversity and racial inclusion in his acceptance speech.
In third place, in terms of numbers of awards received during the evening, was “Parasite,” directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon Ho, taking the BAFTA for best non-English film – beating out Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory” – and best original screenplay.
“Parasite” had four nominations and was competing with Almodovar’s film, as well as with “The Farewell” by Lulu Wang; “For Sama” by Waad al-Kateab and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” by Celine Sciamma.
Bong Joon Ho said he never thought he would win the award for best non-English language film adding that his whole production team and cast deserved to receive the award, and going on to say that it would not have been possible without all the great actors – whom he called the best of their generation – who were involved with it.
“Parasite” is the big non-English language favorite for the Oscars, which will be awarded next Sunday in Los Angeles, and where it will once again go head to head with “Pain and Glory.” The film has already taken home the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
The great disappointments of the evening were “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” both of which came in with 10 nominations, although only Tarantino’s fable of a Hollywood that never existed won anything, with Brad Pitt taking the BAFTA for best supporting actor.
“Judy,” the biopic about the life of troubled actress and singer Judy Garland (1922-1969), secured the best actress award, with Renee Zellweger, who plays Garland in the film, taking the honor, while Laura Dern took the prize for best supporting actress for her role in “Marriage Story.”
“Jojo Rabbit,” “For Sama,” “Little Women,” “Bombshell” and “Bait” each won one BAFTA.
“Klaus,” the animated film by Spaniard Sergio Pablos, won the BAFTA in the best animated film category.
Graham Norton hosted the ceremony for the first time at London’s Royal Albert Hall.