The brooding Western “The Power of the Dog” won best film at the British Academy Film Awards, which were resurrected Sunday with a live, black-tie ceremony after being postponed due to a pandemic in 2021. Jane Campion, a New Zealand filmmaker, was named best director for the film, becoming only the third woman to win the award in the 75-year history of the ceremony.
As an event that has worked to overcome a historic lack of diversity recognised a wide range of talents – including its first deaf acting winner in Troy Kotsur for “CODA” – the sci-fi epic “Dune” won five prizes and lead acting trophies went to Hollywood star Will Smith and British performer Joanna Scanlan.
Only the hosts and presenters appeared in person at last year’s event, which was mostly handled online. In the aftermath of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, celebrities such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Lady Gaga congregated at London’s Royal Albert Hall. With a message of support for Ukraine, British Film Academy Chairman Krishnendu Majumdar launched the presentation, which was presented by Rebel Wilson.
“We stand in sympathy with those heroically fighting for their nation, and we share their desire for peace,” he said. The glamour followed, with Shirley Bassey, 85, and a full orchestra singing “Diamonds Are forever” to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the James Bond flicks.
“Bond is 60, and his girlfriends are 25,” said host Wilson, who toned down her typical raunchy stuff for the BBC’s early-evening broadcast of the ceremony. From its 11 nominations, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” a space epic set on a desert planet, won five: visual effects, production design, sound, Greig Fraser’s cinematography, and Hans Zimmer’s score.
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