BAFTA wins pave way for La La Land-slide on Oscar night

A few surprises in London seem unlikely to shake up the race at the 2017 Academy Awards

BAFTA wins pave way for La La Land-slide on Oscar night

Emma Stone and 'La La Land' writer and director Damien Chazelle [Ian West PA Wire/PA Images]

While it wasn’t a La La Land­-slide at last night’s BAFTAs in London, the contemporary musical solidified its place as the one to beat this awards season, claiming five awards, including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Actress’, and ‘Best Director’.

After thanking Damien Chazelle, Emma Stone told the audience: “This country – and the US, and the world – seems to be going through a bit of a time, just a bit.

“In a time that’s so divisive, I think it’s so special we were able to come together tonight thanks to BAFTA, to celebrate the positive gift of creativity and how it can transcend borders and how it can help people to feel a little less alone.”

Lion also took a number of prizes, with local boy Dev Patel named ‘Best Supporting Actor’, though Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali still looks comfortable to take home the Oscar at the end of the month. Patel promised to share his award with Saroo Brierley, who plays a younger version of the same character in the based-on-a-true-story film.

Surviving bad press

Despite weathering serious controversy surrounding two separate allegations of sexual harassment made against him, Casey Affleck took ‘Best Actor’ for Manchester by the Sea, although Denzel Washington – considered the other frontrunner – was not nominated in the category.

Speaking to the press after accepting his prize, Affleck said he spoke to Meryl Streep backstage about her recent Golden Globes appearance, where she spoke out against new US leader Donald Trump.

 “I told her how much her speech at the Golden Globes meant to all of us and how grateful I was that she did it and kicked in the door a little bit, and said it’s okay to talk about these things and said it doesn’t matter if we are actors, we have been given a microphone and we can speak out,” Affleck said.

Viola Davis continued her successful run at ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for Fences, the only BAFTA for which the film was nominated. Davis, having already taken home the Golden Globe and SAG awards, in now a lock for Oscar night.

BAFTA gets political

I, Daniel Blake, which claimed the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was named ‘Best British Film’, with director Ken Loach condemning the British government’s handling of the country’s social welfare system.

Apologising for launching into a political speech early on, Loach said: “Thank you to the academy for endorsing the truths of what the film says, which hundreds and thousands of people in this country know.

“The most vulnerable and poorest are treated by the government with a callous brutality that is disgraceful, a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children we promised to help and that’s a disgrace too.”

It was bad news for the Irish at the ceremony, with neither Ruth Negga (‘EE Rising Star’) nor Consolata Boyle (‘Costume Design’) claiming their respective awards.

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