Sorry, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I’ve long maintained that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Film Awards (coming up this Sunday, likely broadcast here on BBC America) are much more fun to watch than the Oscars, for a variety of reasons: better acceptance speeches, more entertaining presenters, and an endearing habit in years past of forcing high-heeled and long-skirted female presenters to arrive at the podium via a steep, scary ramp, which makes for some thrilling suspense. But here are two reasons why this year’s BAFTAs will be, without question, superior:
— Stephen Fry is hosting. Sure, I love Billy Crystal. But read Fry’s statement upon accepting the gig, after an absence of several years:
I had a marvellous time presenting the Film Awards for the first six years of the century. Hard as it may be for some characteristically sceptical Britons to believe, the BAFTAs have real kudos, reputation and cachet all over the world of film-making and I, old as I am, never cease to be shamelessly glamorised by the sight of so many legendary names who come every year as nominees and presenters.
“The adorable Jonathan Ross has done a magnificent job since I last hung up my bow-tie and boxed my patent leather pumps, and I am honoured and pleased to return to the lectern and host what I am sure will be an evening of squeals, surreally weird acceptance speeches and genuinely exciting surprises and pleasures.”
I’ve interviewed Fry in person and he really does speak just like that. Always clever, always funny, always sounding like he has a staff of writers in his head.
— And who will be BAFTA’s official red-carpet host? Miss Piggy. No, I’m not kidding. “Imagine the likes of Clooney, Dujardin, Fassbender, Oldman and Pitt achieving the very pinnacle of their careers – being interviewed by the one and only moi!” she told the Hollywood Reporter. Imagine indeed. I’ll be watching.