The BAFTAs: same carpet, different continent

The BAFTAs took place in London last
night. If you’re American, this is your chance to say, “What are
the BAFTAs?” If you are British, then it was your chance to feel embarrassed
as journalists ran right and left on the red carpet, trying to persuade
the major Hollywood actors who had flown over for the occasion to say
that the event was as big as the Oscars.

The BAFTAs — or annual film awards
given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts — aren’t
as big as the Oscars, but they are the closest we Brits get to an equivalent.
And, in their favor, they’re usually a lot more concise than the Oscars,
clocking in at a neat two hours rather than a bum-numbing four.

I’ll admit I love awards ceremonies
— the women, the gowns, the often incomprehensible choices by the
Academy, and the awkward acceptance speeches — so without further
ado, here’s a rundown of what went down last night:

Sienna Miller was nominated
for the Orange Rising Star Award (voted for by the public):

As were Ellen Page and the
beautiful Lust, Caution actress Tang Wei. But they lost
out to Shia LaBeouf. Yawn.

Best Supporting Actress this year
was a strong field, with nominees including Cate Blanchett (for
I’m Not There
) and Saoirse Ronan (for Atonement).
But in the end, Tilda Swinton (pictured left, below) took the prize for her role in
Michael Clayton

Watching Swinton give her acceptance
speech, I was struck by how androgynous she is: It was a bit like seeing
a rangy boy trapped in the body of a 47-year-old woman. Especially —
and endearingly — because she kept saying “Dude.” I don’t know
if a boy would have chosen her mad shiny killer beetle dress, though.

The field for Best Actress was also
strong, with nominees including Cate Blanchett (again) in
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
, Ellen Page in Juno, Julie Christie (pictured above with Swinton)

in Away From Her and Keira Knightley in
(where’s Romola Garai?)

However, I got my biggest satisfaction
of the night when the award went to French actress Marion Cotillard
for her amazing performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose:

I like Ellen Page, but I really thought
La Vie
was one of the best films I saw this year. Among the three
other awards it picked up at the ceremony, was one for Best Make Up
and Hair — which seems reasonable, considering the effort involved
in transforming Marion into Edith:

Cotillard was so shocked by her win
that she could hardly deliver her acceptance speech.

Juno got a nice nod when

Diablo Cody won for Best Original Screenplay, in a field otherwise
composed of male nominees:

And Atonement beat out male-dominated
films like American Gangster, No Country for Old Men,
and There Will Be Blood, to win the big award of the night: Best
Picture. It was widely considered to be a disappointing night for the
film, though, since out of 14 nominations it only won one other
award: Best Production Design. That’s what they get for leaving out
Romola Garai (and Atonement director Joe Wright didn’t even
mention her in his speech, despite name-checking all the other actors
— shame!).

Notable appearances on the red carpet
included the lovely Thandie Newton and a goddess-like Emily Blunt
(sadly not holding
Anne Hathaway’s hand

this time):

All-in-all, an enjoyable ceremony
— but can I make a wish to see at least one woman on the Best
Director nominee list next year? I’m not going to go crazy and wish
for anything like an actual lesbian character.