Sunday 21 December 2014

Baftas 2014: I should call you granny, jokes Prince William to Helen Mirren

Published 17/02/2014 | 06:47

PRINCE William handed the Bafta Fellowship to Helen Mirren last night and joked that her screen role as the Queen meant "I should probably call her 'granny'."

12 Years A Slave won best film at the Baftas and best actor for its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, but it was forced to share the spoils with sci-fi spectacular Gravity.

The wins for the harrowing racial drama will boost the film's chances of glory at the Oscars next month.

But the film's director, Steve McQueen, lost out to Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron and 12 Years A Slave had to be content with just two prizes.

Gravity won six including - somewhat controversially - the Outstanding British Film prize.

The $100m spectacular starred Hollywood actors George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. It was financed by Warner Bros and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the Mexican film-maker. Yet it qualified as British because it was shot at Shepperton and Pinewood studios with a British crew, and its award-winning visual effects were created by a London post-production house, Framestore.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arriving at The EE British Academy Film Awards 2014, at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 16, 2014. See PA story SHOWBIZ Bafta. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Fearne Cotton
Gillian Anderson
Ruth Wilson
Will Poulter
Actor Christophe Waltz
Leonardo DiCaprio
Lily Allen
Director Martin Scorsese
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Judi Dench
Emma Thompson
Actress Cate Blanchett
Steve Coogan
Helen Mirren
Bradley Cooper
Christian Bale
Oprah Winfrey
Samantha Barks
Laura Bailey

Instead of suspending the actors on wires in front of a green screen to simulate astronauts floating weightlessly through space, 80 per cent of the film was created on computer with the actors' faces added to digitally-generated shots. Even the visors over their faces were added in post-production.

The win meant disappointment for The Selfish Giant, which had been expected by many to win. It could not have contrasted more sharply with Gravity: made for just £1.4m and with its two teenage leads drawn from the Bradford council estates on which it is set

Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, beating Dame Judi Dench for Philomena. She dedicated her award to her great friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this month.

Jennifer Lawrence was a surprise choice for the best supporting actress prize, beating 12 Years A Slave's Lupita Nyong'o. Lawrence won for American Hustle, a 1970s crime caper which also won best original screenplay.

Barkhad Abdi was one of the night's most popular winners, a newcomer who beat established stars Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender to the best supporting actor award.

Abdi plays a Somali hijacker who seizes US container ship in Captain Phillips, which is based on a true story.

The 28-year-old was born in Mogadishu but moved with his family to Minneapolis when he was 14. He was working as a limo driver when he answered an open casting call for Somalian actors. He had no screen experience but beat over 1,000 others to the role, and has also been nominated for an Oscar.

His fellow hijackers were also played mostly by non-actors. Abdi waved his Bafta aloft as he told them: "We came from nothing and we got this!"

Other awards included best costume design and production design for The Great Gatsby, best animated film for Frozen and an outstanding contribution award for director Peter Greenaway.

Stephen Fry hosted the EE British Academy Film Awards from the Royal Opera House.

Dame Helen Mirren received the Bafta Fellowship for her outstanding contribution to film.

It was presented by the Duke of Cambridge - or Dame Helen's "grandson', as Fry joked in a reference to her award-winning role in The Queen.

Asked before the ceremony if she considered the Duke's presence a royal seal of approval, Dame Helen said: "I don't think Prince William would agree to hand me the award if he thought I had blown it performing as his grandma."

Anita Singh, Telegraph.co.uk

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