The Hurt Locker blew James Cameron's Avatar out of the water at Sunday's British Academy of Film and Television Awards, picking up six awards, including best film and best director for Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman ever to take home that prize. Avatar, which shattered box-office records this winter, walked away with only two minor awards, including (no surprise here) special visual effects.
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It's the home stretch for the Academy Awards, and though Inglourious Basterds is still in the running, the real race for Best Picture will be between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. And though the Golden Globes honored some actors expected to be shoo-ins at the Oscars, the BAFTAs—the United Kingdom's equivalent to the Oscars—offer the latest clues about who will take home Academy Awards on March 7.
For the past 10 years, however, Best Picture winners at the BAFTAs have had little bearing on the Oscars. Only Gladiator in 2000, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003, and last year's Slumdog Millionaire won both the BAFTA award and the Oscar for Best Picture. The British awards have a higher success rate in predicting Oscar winners in the acting categories; 22 of the past 36 actors have won both awards. This year, it seems as if that pattern may only hold true in the supporting categories, as BAFTA honored the much-nominated Christoph Waltz from Inglourious Basterds and Mo'nique for her role in Precious. Colin Firth ( A Single Man) and Carey Mulligan ( An Education), who won Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, are homegrown talents who are not favored to win Oscars.
When Firth picked up the award for his role in Tom Ford's A Single Man, he joked: "What Tom Ford doesn't know is that I have the email in my outbox saying I couldn't possibly do this, when a man came to repair my fridge. I clearly don't know what's best for me. So I'd like to thank the fridge guy."
Mickey Rourke, last year's winner for Best Actor, went off the teleprompter when presenting the award for leading actress to ask: "Do you want this bareback or with a raincoat?" The winner, newcomer Carey Mulligan, seemed unfazed. Mulligan, honored for her role in An Education, said: "I was here a year ago and never imagined it in a million years."
In the Best Supporting Actor category, Oscar shoo-in Waltz picked up the award for his role as Colonel Landa in Basterds. "A supporting actor is a supported actor," Waltz said as he accepted the award, before lavishing praise on the film's director, Quentin Tarantino. "No Quentin, no Inglourious Basterds," Waltz said. "No Quentin, no Colonel Landa. No Quentin, no Christoph at the BAFTAs—or anywhere else." Mo'nique, who won the Golden Globe for her supporting role in Precious and who is also the Oscar favorite, picked up a BAFTA Sunday night—but wasn't in attendance to accept the award. The film's director, Lee Daniels, took the stage to accept the statue instead.
While Twilight was one of this year's biggest successes at the box office, it has gotten no love at awards shows—until now. Robert Pattinson caused his usual frenzy on the red carpet, but inside Kristen Stewart took home the Rising Star Award, which is voted on by the British public. "I guess first I have to thank all the fans of Twilight for proving and again and again to be the most devoted and attentive fans ever," she said.
Prince William, the new president of BAFTA, made an appearance to present Vanessa Redgrave with a BAFTA fellowship, the highest honor in recognition of outstanding contribution to film. And though Redgrave was a leader in the Marxist Workers' Revolutionary Party in the 1970s, she gave the prince a big kiss (and a kneel) onstage. "You've done me in," a teary-eyed Redgrave said onstage. "Your Royal Highness, my dear beautiful Uma [Thurman], and my dear BAFTA friends, yes, you've done me in." She turned to the prince to say, "If my mother were here, she would tell me to blow you a kiss." She continued: "Here I am on the stage at the Royal Opera House, and I stood outside there, so many times on the pavement, queueing for seats way up there, so I could see the great prima ballerinas, hoping someday to be one of them."