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British stars lost out at the Oscars to US ‘favourites’

Britain won five gongs, mostly for work behind the camera.

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Florence Pugh attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)

Florence Pugh attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)

Florence Pugh attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)

It was a quiet night for British stars at the Oscars.

Florence Pugh was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in Little Women, but lost out to US star Laura Dern for Marriage Story.

Harriet star Cynthia Erivo missed out on best actress, with the gong going to Renee Zellweger for her role as Judy Garland.

Jonathan Pryce was up for best actor for The Two Popes, but lost, as widely predicted, to Joker star Joaquin Phoenix.

Sir Anthony Hopkins (left) and Jonathan Pryce missed out
Sir Anthony Hopkins, left, and Jonathan Pryce missed out (PA)

Pryce’s co-star and fellow Welsh actor Sir Anthony Hopkins was also in the running for a supporting Academy Award, but that gong went to Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood’s Brad Pitt.

And 1917 filmmaker Sir Sam Mendes did not get his hands on the coveted directing gong – that was presented to Bong Joon-ho for Parasite, which also triumphed with best film.

There were five British wins on the night, including Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin for their song (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman.

Cynthia Erivo attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Cynthia Erivo attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)

Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl) – the story of young Afghan girls learning to read, write – and skateboard – in Kabul – won best documentary short.

Most of the British wins were for work behind the camera.

Little Women’s Jacqueline Durran won best costume design, while 1917 took best cinematography (Roger Deakins) and sound mixing (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson).

Anna Smith, film critic, broadcaster and host of the podcast Girls On Film, said British stars losing out on acting roles this year was no reason to worry.

“While it was lovely to see Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin pick up best original song, and the great Roger Deakins score for cinematography, it was a fairly quiet night for Brits, especially when 1917 had been the favourite to win best picture,” she told the PA news agency.

“Several other Brits would have been deserving winners, but the acting categories have been very predictable across all the major awards this year, with all the favourites hailing from the US (and, controversially, all being white).”

She added: “It’s a possible indication that the many Americans in the Academy are feeling particularly patriotic, or it may just be coincidence – Olivia Colman won last year, after all (for The Favourite).”

She added: “In terms of the impact on our industry, Oscar wins aren’t always a guarantee of box office success, and with 1917 picking up several awards and still on a high from the Baftas, I wouldn’t see this as any reason to worry.”

PA Media