The BAFTA - British Academy of Film and Television Awards on February 19 was held of one of those drizzly grey days in London. But it was a night of surprises with a gracious and witty host – the openly gay Stephen Fry best known outside Britain for his role as Oscar Wilde. Fry's jokes went over rather well, many about the handsome men in the room and on stage. Absolutely every person he presented received a stunning compliment: He heralded Matt Dillon - whom he told the audience he had seen Crash
with at the same theater as the awards ceremony - the Odeon at Leicester Square. But Fry's mum wondered “wouldn’t it have been better to see it with him in a hotel room”. Indeed the evening was full of quips to acclaim the theme of Brokeback Mountain
- or just to amuse Fry and his accommodating following in the audience. He called Matthew Modine “the honey pot of honey pots” who actually didn't blushed until after he announced “Harry Potty” as a nominee for production design.
"It's not a gay cowboy film", quipped the producer of Brokeback Mountain
upon receiving the award for best film. "It's a gay shepherd film!" And he thanked all the "shepherds" who rounded everything up to get it made.
Jake Gyllenhaal got his just rewards for best supporting actor -clearly Gyllenhaal's night.
A gracious Ang Lee told the audience how honored he was to receive the "David Lean Award for Direction". He acknowledged British audiences for liking his films such as The Ice Storm
which had been popular in England but not the USA. He also revealed that it was an accomplishment to be awarded as an Asian director for making an English language film.
There were no orchestrated dance numbers, singers or lavish set designs. The final top award went to Lord David Puttnam for his "Lifetime Achievement" - presented to him by Lord Richard Attenborough. Puttnam is the producer of films such as Chariots of Fire, The Mission, Bugsy Malone
and The Killing Fields
.Puttnam who retired from films eight years ago said he did so because he felt that film was not interesting anymore. But after this year’s work he was honored to be in the presence of so many gifted films and their makers – "both inspirational and informative". He applauded the work of George Clooney for stirring up the political volume in film with subjects that had changed the industry – probably the best accolade of the evening. Puttnam told the audience that film was especially important when it reflected a part of our lives. Judging by the way the evening catered to the message of Brokeback Mountain
, a little piece of the film seemed to touch the gatherers at Leicester Square, orchestrated to Lord Puttnam's description of film's that truly inspire.
© 2006 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 02/06
BAFTA 2006- British Academy of Film and Television Awards