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  • Writer's pictureBimla Safka

Did you watch The BAFTAs?!

Let's be honest, a year of virtual events has us a bit... meh who cares. Doesn't it?

Last Sunday my family, like many others I'm sure, sat down to tune into the British Academy of Film and Television Awards on BBC1. Two hours of celebration of our fabulous British TV and Film industry hosted by the ever brilliant Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary.

Wasn't it just so lovely to see a real stage set (which was gorgeous by the way, anyone know who designed it?) and some proper sexy lighting. But did anyone else cringe at the sound of the virtual audience being piped in like some weird canned sound effect?

Actually, the word 'cringe' exactly describes how I felt for the first 20 minutes of the show. It felt awkward, the presenters were a bit bumpy, and Dermot's constant quips about whether the internet connection was going to work led us to all wonder how badly things had gone in rehearsals! His first link to the States where Anna Kendrick was waiting patiently to present an Award had us all holding our breath to see whether the wifi was going to behave. It did, sort of.

My main complaint on this awks production? Whomever was briefing the nominees how to react when their name was read out could have done a better job. The first few winners were so straight faced that it made me think this wasn't a surprise after all. Had everyone been briefed on who the winners were before the Awards? Their poker faces were impressive.

It was only after the company of Another Round won their nomination for Film Not in the English Language did I see true, heartfelt, gut exploding emotion. And from there-on-in the reactions became absolutely priceless. Yuh-Jung Youn gave an utterly bewildered response to her win for Best Supporting Actress in Minari, inadvertently offending the British by calling us all 'snobbish'. I don't think she meant it in a malicious way, but who knows!

Emerald Fennell (brilliant name there Emerald), gets my vote for being the most un-intentionally brilliantly funny winner of the night. Promising Young Woman won two Awards for Original Screenplay and Outstanding British Film which she jubilantly accepted as she waved her melted chocolate BAFTA mask at the screen, self-effacingly babbling her way through each speech in her extremely grand house / hotel / set? Dermot suggested she might play us a ditty on the grand piano in the back of the shot. I couldn't have agreed more.

Special shout out of the night goes to the winner of the EE Rising Star Award voted for by the British Public. Bukky Bakray gave a passionate and emotional response to her accolade. At the age of 15, Bukky was discovered at school when a casting director was on the search for the film Rocks. Plucked from a non-acting background, thrust into the lead roll and now winning the Rising Star Award, 19 year old Bukky cleary has a fabulous career ahead. And can I just add, it was bloomin lovely to see a gorgeous female black actress win. Congratulations Bukky!

It wouldn't have been an event without some other entertainment. Yes, there was music; individual performers on each stage, singing to track. Glad to see performers back at it, but looking forward to the time more than one musician can stand together. My moment of the night was the duet between Leslie Odom Jr. in Los Angeles and Corinne Bailey Rae in London. Not a note out of place, musicality flowing through both performers, two voices melting into each other. In my opinion, absolute perfection.

Overall, not a bad night. But let's be honest, an audience makes for a far more scintillating environment in which to celebrate. Looking forward to February 2022 when we hope to see BAFTA back in true form.

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