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‘The Power of the Dog’ wins best film at wide-open BAFTAs

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‘The Power of the Dog’ wins best film at wide-open BAFTAs

LONDON — “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s tense western, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons about two struggling brothers on a Montana farm, was the big winner at the EE British Academy Film Awards in London on Sunday night.

It was named Best Picture at the awards, commonly known as the BAFTAs, based on Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune,” Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast”, the black-and-air based on his childhood in Northern Ireland. -White beats the film. and Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up,” the divisive climate change satire starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep.

Campion also won Best Director — the third woman in the award’s history to take the award — upping her pace ahead of this year’s Academy Awards.

She was not present in London to receive her award. On Saturday she was at the Directors Guild of America Awards in Los Angeles, where she also won the highest award. At that awards ceremony, Campion drew attention when asked by Variety about derogatory comments made by actor Sam Elliott about his film, including questioning the “signs of homosexuality” in the film.

“He’s not a cowboy, he’s an actor,” Campion told Variety, “the West is a mythical place and there’s a lot of space on the border. And I think that’s a little bit sexist.”

The BAFTAs were most notable for their category of winners this year, with no film across the board, even “The Power of the Dog” taking home the two main prizes. Will Smith won Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard”, while Best Actress went to British actress Joanna Scanlan for her role in “After Love”. . The budget film is about a white Muslim convert who uncovers her husband’s secret past.

That film is rarely seen in Britain, let alone elsewhere, but Scanlan beat stars including Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) and Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”), who were both in the audience. “come on!” Scanlan accepted his award, saying, “Some stories have surprising endings.”

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Hosted by Rebel Wilson, this year’s BAFTAs – Britain’s equivalent of the Academy Awards – returned to a glamorous in-person ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall after a mostly virtual event last year.

“How cool is it that awards shows are back in person?” “Actors, you can stop doing those wellness podcasts,” Wilson said in an opening monologue. ,

Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic “Dune” received a major 11 nominations in February, but ended up with only five awards, mainly in technical categories including special visual effects, cinematography and sound.

Other winners included Ariana DeBos, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita in “West Side Story”, Joe Aunjaneu Ellis (“King Richard”), Jesse Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”), Ruth Nega (“Passing”), Ann Dowd (“Mass”) and Caitriona Balfe (“Belfast”). Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “CODA,” a heartwarming film about a largely deaf family in Massachusetts.

Kotsur, who defeated actors including Jesse Plemons and Cody Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”), used sign language to accept his award, and made a pitch to the producers of the James Bond franchise, asking, “Have you considered a deaf James Bond?”

“Drive My Car,” the acclaimed Japanese drama about a theater director struggling to cope with the death of his wife, was not named Best Film in the English Language. The film’s director Ryusuke Hamaguchi seemed overwhelmed during his acceptance speech. “Well, that got rid of my jet lag,” he said via a translator.

His victory was a sign that films “go beyond language, they go beyond boundaries,” he said.

Given the overlap between the voting bodies of the two events, the BAFTAs are generally seen as a bellwether for the Oscars. The Oscars are scheduled for March 27,

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The appearance of a lesser-known winner in the Best Actress category at this year’s event may be related to the sweeping changes to the awards voting process, which BAFTA introduced over the past two years to improve the diversity of nominees. These included requiring voters to watch a wide selection of films before casting their vote.

Some BAFTA voters fear the changes could jeopardize the future of the award show. Scott Feinberg, writing in The Hollywood Reporter in February, called the changes “an overhaul, though well-intentioned”, and said that “the organization is signaling to the world that it does not trust its own members to be intelligent.” and fair judgment.”

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