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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 22, 2010 at 10:40 AM

“Hurt Locker” sweeps the BAFTAs

I missed watching the British Academy Awards (the BAFTAs) yesterday, which is seriously disappointing as it’s my favorite awards show. When have the Oscars ever had Stephen Fry as host? Or Mick Jagger presenting (he explained his presence at the BAFTAs last year as a sort of cultural exchange, and that “Sir Ben Kingsley will be performing “Brown Sugar” at the Grammys”)? Or a fabulously steep, scary ramp down which all presenters must descend, clutching their skirts and looking terrified? (I’m not sure if the BAFTAs still do this, but they did a few years back and it was strangely mesmerizing.) Or acceptance speeches that are virtually always gracious, witty and brief?
Anyway. I’m not sure I buy that the BAFTAs are an accurate Oscar predictor (there’s not much overlap between the British Academy voters and the U.S. Academy), but for those who believe such things, consider this: “The Hurt Locker” won six awards, including best picture and best director — and beat “Avatar” in five of them. (“Hurt Locker” also won for best original screenplay, for which “Avatar” was not nominated.) The supporting acting awards went to, yawn, Christopher Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) and Mo’Nique (“Precious”) — not that they’re not deserving, but they’ve won every award this season and it would be fun to see things mixed up a bit. Which is what happened in the lead actor categories: The Brits supported their own and handed the awards to Colin Firth (“A Single Man”) and Carey Mulligan (“An Education”).
The Brits, apparently, don’t know how good they have it: A live blog in the London Times noted too many “dead speeches” and wondered “Is something being sprayed on the award winners? Has Mogadon been slipped into the champers? . . . Is there backstage Botox being passed around?” But note Firth’s acceptance speech, a real thing of beauty in which he charmingly thanks “the fridge guy.”

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