The Baftas delivered on certain promises, collating some of the world’s biggest stars and funneling them down a red carpet, giving a select few the chance to present an award, and, creating talking points as the perennial battle between who should have won and who did win continued to flare.
Gravity was the night’s big success story as it was when it debuted at Venice all those months ago. The case for the film’s British credentials were never in doubt – Bafta awards home soil movies and, given that the space thriller’s special effects were delivered by a British team in England, Gravity’s passport is a U.K one.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the coveted Best Director nod should have gone Alfonso Cuaron’s way. Despite the pure, exhilarating brand of entertainment delivered – almost old-school Hollywood – it’s hard to look past Steve McQueen for his work on 12 Years a Slave when looking for someone more deserved of individual recognition.
Yes, 12 Years reeled in two magnificent awards: that of Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Best Film. Despite these high-profile gongs, though, there were other categories in which the slave drama missed out on, and almost certainly didn’t deserve to.
The supporting actor categories leap out as key pieces of evidence in the case of 12 Years a Slave. Barkhad Abdhi’s ascension this past 12 months has been a joy to watch, and his performance in Captain Phillips was touching and terrifying in equal measure. But he wasn’t better than Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps – the evil plantation owner with a scary infatuation with Patsy, played majestically by Lupita Nyong’o.
And, like a seasoned radio professional, that neat segway leads me on to the Best Supporting Actress win for Jennifer Lawrence, which was – despite her current popularity – a ridiculous decision. To put her role in American Hustle above Nyong’o’s in 12 Years was a travesty; to put it above newcomer Nyong’o and Sally Hawkins’ turn in Blue Jasmine is nothing short of wrong.
You could make similar arguments for the Best Adapted Screenplay category, which went the direction of Philomena, but it’s the other categories that really burn with indignation. And with Dallas Buyers Club set to play a part in The Oscars in two weeks’ time, the competition will be even fiercer for McQueen and his modern classic.