It was awards night yesterday evening at the Royal Opera House in London as the British Academy of Film and Television presented their annual awards in recognition of exceptional achievement in film. Although the awards are often further pointers to the Oscars a couple of weeks later, this year was a very British event with film of the moment Slumdog Millionaire taking away many of the prizes it was nominated for, including Music Score (beating such other entries as WALL-E and The Dark Knight), Sound Design (against WALL-E, Dark Knight and Quantum Of Solace among others) and Cinematography, where it won over The Dark Knight and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. A full list of BAFTA winners can be seen here.
In animation and visually driven films, the Best Animated Feature was awarded to Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E, where it won over Persepolis and Waltz With Bashir. Interestingly, a hold-over for Persepolis from last year meant that those two latter animated arthouse releases were also in competition with each other for the Film Not In The English Language category, but both lost out to the live-action I’ve Loved You So Long. Nick Park and his Aardman crew were on hand to accept Best Animated Short for Wallace & Gromit: A Matter Of Loaf And Death, and in terms of Special Visual effects, the remarkable realization of an 80-year old Brad Pitt ageing in reverse during The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button was enough to beat out more obvious effects heavy films as Iron Man, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Quantum Of Solace and The Dark Knight, which did take home another posthumous award for Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker.
Oscar’s big hope Benjamin Button was a popular choice in the visual stakes, also picking up wins for Production Design and Make-Up/Hair. Other awards included wins for Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, Kate Winslet as Leading Actress in The Reader and Leading Actor Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler, while tribute was paid to those we lost this year including Charlton Heston, Patrick McGoohan, Michael Crichton, Roy Scheider, Stan Winston, Cyd Charisse and Paul Newman. The BAFTA’s Fellowship, the highest accolade the Academy can bestow upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, was presented to former Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam, now a distinguished director of brilliantly imaginative films.
But it was Slumdog Millionaire’s night, where the momentum it has been picking up on the way to the Oscars was given a major boost. Further major wins for the film included Adapted Screenplay, Editing and perhaps unsurprising awards for its Director Danny Boyle and overall Best Film. Can it beat the all-American Benjamin Button at the Oscars? You’ll have to tune in later this month to find out – and don’t forget to play along with our annually popular Animated News & Views Academy Award Contest: details right here!