‘King’s Speech’ nabs seven BAFTA Awards

Posted by · 5:28 pm · February 13th, 2011

I had more interesting things to do at the Berlinale this evening than watch the BAFTAs, so the only commentary I can offer is on the winners list itself. And, well, it doesn’t make for terribly exciting reading. To the surprise of precisely no one, “The King’s Speech” ruled the night with seven trophies, though as I predicted, “The Social Network” barred its way in the Best Director category — with further wins for Adapted Screenplay and Editing bringing its total to three.

Clearly, Fincher’s Oscar hopes are still alive, though it would be unwise to read too much into this result: as I noted earlier, BAFTA voters split their top two awards more often than not.

Two of the wins for “The King’s Speech,” however, were widely unexpected. With Geoffrey Rush beating Christian Bale to the Best Supporting Actor award — and Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter both predictably winning their categories — the film becomes only the third in BAFTA history to scoop three of the four acting categories.

Again, I would hesitate before predicting a similar outcome on February 27: Carter’s category only contained one of her Oscar rivals, while the nominations list already made it clear that the Brits aren’t that into “The Fighter.”

While I mentioned Geoffrey Rush as a possible upset victor, however, I’m gobmacked by the royal biopic’s other surprise win of the night for Best British Film. Since the award was reinstated in 1992, it’s been an unwritten rule that no movie can win both Best Film and Best British Film — the jury that determines the latter has seemingly gone out of their way over the years to avoid such an overlap, repeatedly championing left-field indies ahead of awards-season juggernauts. Not so this year: quite why the jurors felt the bonus award was necessary when the film was clearly a lock for the night’s top prize is a mystery to me.

Chris Morris, whose “Four Lions” might have been the likelier Best British Film champ in a previous year, had to be content with the Best British Debut award. And there was a happy outcome in the usually groan-worthy Rising Star award: perhaps it was the blockbuster points he earned for “Inception” that pushed Tom Hardy ahead of his younger competition, but the British public has chosen well here.

Beyond that, the boat stayed unrocked. Colin Firth is, as we’ve all known for month, unbeatable for Best Actor, while Natalie Portman continues to rack up all the right awards on her path to the Oscar podium. Some will keep whispering about Annette Bening as a potential spoiler, but her precursor run has ended with just a comedy Globe and one major critics’ award to her name.

As is their wont, BAFTA’s individual craft branches spread the wealth in the technical categories — below the line, “The King’s Speech” was recognized only for Alexandre Desplat’s score, while “Inception” and (sigh) “Alice in Wonderland” scored multiple wins. A similar outcome is plausible for the Academy Awards, though the Best Picture favorite could just as easily dominate there too. That leaves me with little to add but one final reprimand to another group of voters for lazily selecting “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” as the year’s best foreign-language feature. Like most things about this season, however, I’m over it.

Full list of winners at The Circuit.

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39 responses so far

  • 1 2-13-2011 at 5:47 pm

    Gabriel D. said...

    There’s a little mistake: Bale hasn’t win Best supporting actor, hehe.

  • 2 2-13-2011 at 6:12 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Sorry, just a slip of the mind while copying the winners list. My article makes it clear that Rush won.

  • 3 2-13-2011 at 6:14 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    “I’m gobmacked by the royal biopic’s other surprise win of the night for Best British Film. Since the award was reinstated in 1992, it’s been an unwritten rule that no movie can win both Best Film and Best British Film…”

    Talk about burying the lead, Guy. ;-)

  • 4 2-13-2011 at 6:20 pm

    j said...

    “The film becomes the first in BAFTA history to scoop three of the four acting categories.”
    3rd – One Flew & Private Function did it.

    Rush is the winning-est male actor in B/O/G in the Sag awards era now. Rush=Arkin 06?

    Only Butch/Fields have won more. Fields’ included a Newcomer award, with fewer major wins. Of others with 7, Schindler’s haul is arguably better since it doesn’t include “British Film.”

    Other TKS surprises (win or lose) that might be Oscar wins: Director, Supporting Actress, Art Direction, Costume, Editing

  • 5 2-13-2011 at 6:38 pm

    Gabriel D. said...

    «Rush=Arkin 06? »

    Arkin hadn’t won an Oscar at the time…Rush already has one, and for a leading role…I doubt it’ll be the same situation.

  • 6 2-13-2011 at 7:11 pm

    Chris138 said...

    Awesome that Tom Hardy won, but I’m bummed he wasn’t there to accept. Oh well.

  • 7 2-13-2011 at 7:24 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Thoughts for Oscars, post-BAFTA:

    PIC – TKS, but I feel like there’s still “TSN is the movie of the year” sentiment.

    DIR – 50/50 for Hooper or Fincher right now.

    Actor – Firth, Bardem could be a distant 2nd.

    Actress – Portman? I’m almost sure.

    S. Actor – Bale, but Rush is making it interesting.

    S. Actress – Leo or HBC, at this point. I see no evidence for Adams or even Steinfeld right now.

    OS – TKS.

    AS – TSN.

    Editing – Probably The Social Network.

    Cin – True Grit, hopefully.

    Art D – Inception or TKS.

    Cost – Alice or TKS.

    Make-Up – Can be any of the 3.

    Sounds – Inception.

    FX – Inception.

    Score – TKS, I’m thinkin’.

  • 8 2-13-2011 at 7:28 pm

    PaulH said...

    If you click my name, you’ll be taken to the ASC’s Facebook page where they announced Deakins as their 2010 cinematography winner for True Grit.

    Inception gets ass-fucked by another guild.

  • 9 2-13-2011 at 7:33 pm

    PaulH said...

    Correction on above post; FALSE ALARM. ASC’s Facebook page was congratulating Deakins on his BAFTA win.

  • 10 2-13-2011 at 7:35 pm

    gilda said...

    I think it’s a career achievement award for Deakins’ in cinematography, so TG will almost definitely win. As far as best actress, though, Pete Hammond pointed out that both Bening and Moore were nominated as leads at the BAFTAs and probably split their vote, so a Bening upset is still in play.

  • 11 2-13-2011 at 7:52 pm

    Sertan said...

    Of course still everything is possible, but Annette Bening’s win???
    Natalie Portman won all 4 major Best Actress Awards so far…Unless they vote for Bening for sentimental reasons, I cant see how Natalie Portman would lose this. Her movie will cross $100m at the box office tomorrow or by tuesday. Her other movie, rom-com, made decent money; unlike Bening she carried the entire movie (Black Swan); she won tons of critics awards and GG, SAG and now BAFTA; she has a story to back up her performance, every day she is on TV commercials that repeat her name and Best actress over and over and over!
    And she is damn good in that movie .

    As someone else said, this is the award for best performance by an actress, not for best actress who should have won before! In my opinion, in terms of overall performane, Bening is number 5 among the nominees. If it was up to me, I would give Oscar to Nicole Kidman!)
    again, only my opinion!

  • 12 2-13-2011 at 8:09 pm

    Aaron said...


    What he said. Yeah, people need to give up on Annette Bening. Lovely woman and actress, but it’s just not her year. Portman has this sealed up. I just don’t see how this loses; I don’t think Bening has enough sentiment from her peers to pull off an upset, no matter how much people want her to…

    …the real exciting races are the supporting actress/actor categories. With the breathless excitement and edge going to The King’s Speech, I strongly believe that at least one of the supporting categories will go to either Geoffrey Rush or Helena Bonham Carter. I’m still banking on Christian Bale to win supporting actor, so I’m thinking Carter will upset Melissa Leo for supporting actress on Oscar night.

  • 13 2-13-2011 at 8:17 pm

    Joey said...

    It’s interesting, Guy. that you mentioned that Black Swan wasn’t that well received across the pond, and Portman still won Actress. I figured Bening was going to take the BAFTA. So it looks rather locked up for Portman.

  • 14 2-13-2011 at 8:19 pm

    daveylow said...

    I was amazed how entertaining the BAFTA show was despite not all the winners being there. Those who were there looked so radiant. The Harry Potter tribute with Rowling and the directors present and Tim Burton introducing Christopher Lee was touching. A few years ago BBC America showed the whole telecast but I have to admit the edited version keeps things moving. What they always do well are the clips. And the in memoriam.

    Though the Desplat score wasn’t his finest, it was a pleasure to see him win a film award. What a classy man.

    I’m glad Helena Bonham Carter made the most of her speech. She was delightful and probably knows she’s not getting the Oscar. I don’t think she’s been awarded much for her acting.

    One small thing–who were the dancers at the beginning? At first I thought they were doing tributes to the nominated films. I didn’t get it.

  • 15 2-13-2011 at 8:21 pm

    JJ1 said...

    This is a strange year. I SHOULD be more confident in The King’s Speech’s chances, Portman’s, Bale’s, and Melissa Leo’s – yet, I’m not.

    They’re who I’m predicting will win, but it’s not like in past years where I KNEW No Country/DDLewis/Bardem/Coens/Slumdog mania/Hurt Locker would prevail, etc..

  • 16 2-13-2011 at 8:25 pm

    daveylow said...

    Guy–I wonder if the jury picking best British film were afraid there might be A Social Network surprise and didn’t want The King’s Speech to go home without a big honor. Also it appears the director is honored with the best British film award and they have wanted to recognize Hooper since Fincher was a probable win for director. Though when the film won the last award, it did seem the audience was pretty happy about the outcome.

  • 17 2-13-2011 at 8:52 pm

    Dean said...

    JJ1, I agree. Everyone knew Bridges, Bullock, Waltz and Monique had it 100 % sewn up last year. Even though Portman, Bale and Leo seem pretty safe (Firth wins, duh), it can’t be as safe for them as it has been recently.

  • 18 2-13-2011 at 9:13 pm

    Voland said...

    I guess, even after Portman and Bale will have won the Oscar, people will still be arguing if an upset might happen?

  • 19 2-13-2011 at 10:25 pm

    Someone said...

    Actually THE KING’S SPEECH isn’t the first movie in the BAFTA’s history that won three acting awards. Previously at leat two other movies did the same: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (Nicholson, Louise Fletcher and Brad Dourif) and A PRIVATE FUNCTION (1984, Maggie Smith, Liz Smith, Denholm Elliott). Maybe there were other but I found information only about these two.

  • 20 2-13-2011 at 10:47 pm

    Authorized said...

    The one thing that disappointed me were the amount of winners who failed to show. While Portman was advised not to travel, I’m sure the likes of Rush, Hardy and Fincher wouldn’t skip the Globes or Oscars.

    The dancers in the opening were from the UK movie Streetdance 3D.

  • 21 2-13-2011 at 11:49 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    J and Someone: Thanks for the correction. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted the report I read without checking, but was too tired to do so at 2am.

    Sertan, Aaron, etc: Does my post not make it quite clear that I don’t rate Bening’s chances?

    Daveylow: The Best Film award was locked up. No way the jury couldn’t have known that. And they let An Education go home without either award last year.

  • 22 2-14-2011 at 12:50 am

    julian said...

    I think awarding TKS as best british film was a way of securing Tom Hooper a place in the spotlight as well (with Fincher winning for direction). That is the only plausible reason I can come up with it, because admittedly, it is an unprecedented move by the BAFTAs to make this call…

  • 23 2-14-2011 at 2:02 am

    le duff pascal said...

    Christopher Lee is the best award of the night. A true legend.
    I hope someday the BAFTAS will remember there are actually quite a few good films in their country(ies). I would like to see more British talents acknowledged in that awards ceremony. The only times they can win is when they are likely to win an Academy Award ! I don’t mind a bit of international here and there, but not everywhere ! For the time being they should find an other word that starts with the letter B in BAFTA. Because it hardly looks british to me.

    When you realize that Ken Loach has NEVER been nominated for best director, Stephen Frears only once ( the Oscar friendly THE QUEEN ) and Mike Leigh twice ( once again for Oscar nominated films ), you can’t help but thinking there’s something dead wrong here.

  • 24 2-14-2011 at 2:19 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Le Duff Pascal: I couldn’t agree more. The BAFTAs are about as reflective of the range and reach of British filmmaking as the Oscars are of their own industry.

  • 25 2-14-2011 at 3:46 am

    Someone said...

    But Mike Leigh won BAFTA for “Vera Drake” and he still haven’t won Academy Award what is a disgrace for the Academy.

  • 26 2-14-2011 at 4:06 am

    Arty said...

    What is this Best British Debut award all about? It’s a pretty weak idea in the first place, but to give it to somebody who has been working prolifically in TV for twenty years is absurd.

  • 27 2-14-2011 at 5:05 am

    Scott Coleman said...

    Everyone loved Black Swan in England

  • 28 2-14-2011 at 5:23 am

    Eric said...

    Um, what has Tom Hardy done that makes him worthy of the Rising Star award, while Andrew Garfield continues to solidify himself as an amazing actor?

  • 29 2-14-2011 at 6:03 am

    Maxim said...

    Well, Eric that’s probably a bit of an overstatement, especially since Hardy was in a very widely seen film and clearly made popular impact. That plus the fact thaqt he gave a well regarded performance last year make him a decent choice.

    Switching gears here, has anyone, anyone at all, entertained the idea of Hooper winning Best Director prize at the Oscars… and the BP going to The Social Network?

  • 30 2-14-2011 at 7:09 am

    Jacob said...

    I find it very interesting that Fincher took the prize for direction considering Hooper was his competition, and they wouldn’t be considered as biased by picking him due to the overall love for “The King’s Speech” ….the last time the brits disagreed with the Oscars on a director award and gave it to an american was 1996 – Joel Coen

  • 31 2-14-2011 at 7:25 am

    JJ1 said...

    Curious about your thoughts on BAFTA, Kris. Or maybe you’ll touch on ’em later elsewhere.

  • 32 2-14-2011 at 8:20 am

    daveylow said...

    Ken Loach may have to wait for a special award. The man is long overdue.

  • 33 2-14-2011 at 8:57 am

    Sertan said...

    Guy Lodge,

    My Annette vs Natalie comment had nothing to do with you. It was a response to an earlier comment who said that Annette upset is still in play.

  • 34 2-14-2011 at 9:00 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Um, what has Tom Hardy done that makes him worthy of the Rising Star award, while Andrew Garfield continues to solidify himself as an amazing actor?”

    I’m willing to bet you’ve never seen Bronson or Stuart: A Life Backwards.

  • 35 2-14-2011 at 9:41 am

    Someone said...

    All acting awards for “The King’s Speech”, Rising Star Award for Hardy and BAFTA for animated feature are the only awards that were given exactly as they should be. But still I’m quite happy with the results and I’m pretty sure that I won’t be so happy after Academy Awards.

  • 36 2-14-2011 at 9:43 am

    DarkLayers said...

    Guy, I think it was you, but it may not have been, who mentioned the bathroom call to her mom is not a great pick when SAG used it. Interesting BAFTA did the same one.

  • 37 2-14-2011 at 2:09 pm

    S.D. said...

    If not for Pete Hammond, Annette Bening would have absolutely no chance of winning. I swear if she wins Hammond should be the first person she thanks. He is TOTALLY in the tank for her.

  • 38 2-15-2011 at 12:29 am

    le duff pascal said...

    Mike Leigh won the award for best director at the Baftas only because he was nominated for an Oscar. The BAFTAs are even less reflective of the range and reach of British filmmaking as the Oscars are of their own industry. Which is quite something to say… I still can’t get over Ron Howard winning out of ” overdueness ” over David Lynch AND Robert Altman ( the way they fell into each other’s arms that night was quite a nice touch )

    César awards in France have the quality of being a bit less predictable ( 7 nominees for best picture and only 3 directors of those films nominated – for 5 spots ) but they are not perfect either. Claire Denis only won a best debut director award and has not been acknowledged since. Surprisingly though, her DP Agnès Godard won for ” Beau Travail ” which came out of nowhere.

  • 39 2-15-2011 at 10:28 am

    interstellar said...

    Sir Christopher Lee’s speech was SO moving… the real king of the night…