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As the song has it, “And here we are again…” Another distinctly British affair that avoids the razzle-dazzle of Hollywood and settles for more of a kind of comfy armchair approach to awards ceremonies. Hosted once again by Stephen Fry at London’s Royal Albert Hall – and in the presence of royalty no less – the show opened, very strangely, with a routine from the Cirque du Soleil troupe (and complete with a moment where Meryl Streep couldn’t look). As the TV broadcast continued, Fry gave shoutouts to Emma Stone, Ken Loach, Amy Adams, Hugh Grant, Meryl Streep (mugged for a kiss by Fry), Michelle Williams, Casey Affleck, Emily Blunt, and Andrew Garfield, before the awards ceremony got under way properly.

Outstanding British Film
American Honey – Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
Denial – Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – David Yates, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, Lionel Wigram
I, Daniel Blake – Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
Notes on Blindness – Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

No surprise here, though it would have been nice to see American Honey win the award instead. Loach accepted and said it “was extraordinary”, and made a predictable anti-Government speech, and a plea for social equity. Presented by Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman.

EE Rising Star Award
Laia Costa, Lucas Hedges, Tom Holland, Ruth Negga, Anya Taylor-Joy

A fairly open field yielded a fairly unsurprising result, but Holland gave a rambling yet sincere acceptance speech. Presented by Viola Davis.

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Adapted Screenplay
Luke Davies – Lion
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
Eric Heisserer – Arrival
Andrew Knight, Robert Schenkkan – Hacksaw Ridge
Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder – Hidden Figures

A surprise win for Davies who seemed unprepared as he gave a less than stellar speech. Presented by Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt.

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Hayley Squires – I, Daniel Blake
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

There really couldn’t be any other winner, and it was a win that was endorsed by the audience. Davis gave an impassioned speech about how unsung black lives do matter, and gave thanks to August Wilson and Denzel Washington. Presented by Hugh Grant (who revealed his previous life as an actress).

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Animated Film
Finding Dory – Andrew Stanton
Kubo and the Two Strings – Travis Knight
Moana – Ron Clements, John Musker
Zootropolis – Byron Howard, Rich Moore

A great win for Kubo… and Laika Entertainment. Knight quoted several pop culture quotes, thanked his crew and what seemed like everyone else in the world – and called the BAFTA statuette a “cudgel”. Presented by Bryce Dallas Howard and Riz Ahmed.

Special Visual Effects
Arrival – Louis Morin
Doctor Strange – Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
The Jungle Book – Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez
Rogue One – Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Not the best choice here – Doctor Strange really should have got the win – but at least the winners’ speeches were short and to the point. Presented by Daisy Ridley and Luke Evans.

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (Writer), Camille Gatin (Producer)
The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (Writer/Director/Producer), Dionne Walker (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness – Peter Middleton (Writer/Director/Producer), James Spinney (Writer/Director/Producer), Jo-Jo Ellison (Producer)
The Pass – John Donnelly (Writer), Ben A. Williams (Director)
Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (Writer/Director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (Producers)

Not an easy one to predict – though Notes on Blindness would have been an equally worthy winner – it’s great to see a low-budget horror movie win such a prestigious award. Presented by Jamie Dornan and Rafe Spall.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
Dev Patel – Lion
Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals

Another win for Lion came out of the blue, but Patel gave a short speech that was halting and yet sincere. Presented by Felicity Jones.

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Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema (The Michael Balcon Award)

Awarded to Curzon, the cinema chain most known for bringing foreign movies to the UK, as well as creating the Artificial Eye DVD catalogue, and launching the Curzon Home Cinema streaming service in 2010. Accepted by Phillip Knatchbull, Curzon’s CEO, he gave a speech that referenced Brexit and the threat to the funding Curzon receives from the EU. Presented by Isabelle Huppert (the most promising newcomer of 1978).

Original Screenplay
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Paul Laverty – I, Daniel Blake
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

The only choice and absolutely the right decision. Lonergan looked genuinely shocked by his win, and he thanked his cast in particular for the wonderful work they did. He also related a personal anecdote about his fifteen year old daughter – who’s attended five protest marches since Trump became President! Presented by Thandie Newton.

Leading Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

The only choice and absolutely the right decision (again). Affleck gave a beautifully poignant speech that revealed why he acts, and thanked Kenenth Lonergan for his “sublime script”. Presented by Penélope Cruz.

Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

If you were watching the television broadcast, then this was the first time that La La Land won an award, and with Manchester by the Sea having won the previous two awards, it seemed more like a surprise than the odds-on favourite to win that was expected. Presented by Mark Rylance.

Leading Actress
Amy Adams – Arrival
Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

And the late rush for La La Land continued. Stone was gracious in her speech and thanked almost everyone who worked on the movie. And then added a heartfelt coda about the state of the world today and the need for positivity. Presented by Eddie Redmayne.

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Best Film
Arrival – Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, Daniel Blake – Rebecca O’Brien
La La Land – Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
Manchester by the Sea – Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward,
Kevin J. Walsh
Moonlight – Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

The biggest non-surprise of the evening, La La Land‘s win capped off a great night for the movie, and reinforced the idea that a joyous movie can be just as important as  some of the more “serious” or “downbeat” movies that generally win at awards ceremonies. Presented by Noomi Rapace and Tom Hiddleston.

The Fellowship Award

Awarded to Mel Brooks. Brooks was as funny as you’d expect, and quite humble in his speech, and told the audience how he felt that England wasn’t a foreign country, but just “a larger Brooklyn where they speak better”. Presented by Prince William, Simon Pegg and Nathan Lane.

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The following awards weren’t shown during the broadcast:

Costume Design
Colleen Atwood – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Consolata Boyle – Florence Foster Jenkins
Madeline Fontaine – Jackie
Joanna Johnston – Allied
Mary Zophres – La La Land

Film Not in the English Language
Dheepan – Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
Julieta – Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
Mustang – Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
Son of Saul – László Nemes, Gábor Sipos
Toni Erdmann – Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Original Music
Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Arrival
Abel Korzeniowski – Nocturnal Animals
Mica Levi – Jackie
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – Lion

Documentary
13th – Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years – Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Scott Pascucci, Nigel Sinclair
The Eagle Huntress – Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
Notes on Blindness – Peter Middleton, James Spinney
Weiner – Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Cinematography
Greig Fraser – Lion
Seamus McGarvey – Nocturnal Animals
Giles Nuttgens – Hell or High Water
Linus Sandgren – La La Land
Bradford Young – Arrival

Editing
Tom Cross – La La Land
John Gilbert – Hacksaw Ridge
Jennifer Lame – Manchester by the Sea
Joan Sobel – Nocturnal Animals
Joe Walker – Arrival

Production Design
Doctor Strange – Charles Wood, John Bush
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
Hail, Caesar! – Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
La La Land – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
Nocturnal Animals – Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Make Up & Hair
Doctor Strange – Jeremy Woodhead
Florence Foster Jenkins – J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
Hacksaw Ridge – Shane Thomas
Nocturnal Animals – Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
Rogue One – Amanda Knight, Neal Scanlan, Lisa Tomblin

Sound
Arrival – Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl
Deepwater Horizon – Dror Mohar, Mike Prestwood Smith, Wylie Stateman, Renee Tondelli, David Wyman
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
Hacksaw Ridge – Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
La La Land – Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

British Short Animation
The Alan Dimension – Jac Clinch, Jonathan Harbottle, Millie Marsh
A Love Story – Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King
Tough – Jennifer Zheng

British Short Film 
Consumed – Richard John Seymour
Home – Shpat Deda, Afolabi Kuti, Daniel Mulloy, Scott O’Donnell
Mouth of Hell – Bart Gavigan, Samir Mehanovic, Ailie Smith, Michael Wilson
The Party – Farah Abushwesha, Emmet Fleming, Andrea Harkin, Conor MacNeill
Standby – Jack Hannon, Charlotte Regan

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IN CONCLUSION: It was La La Land‘s night with five wins, a respectable haul from its eleven nominations, and good results for Manchester by the Sea and Lion (two apiece). Otherwise the awards were spread about evenly amongst the other nominees, but the oddest moment was Son of Saul winning Film Not in the English Language, odd in that the movie was released back in 2015, and it stopped Toni Erdmann from winning (as it should have done). The ceremony grew increasingly predictable as it headed for the finish line, but on the whole the categories and the range of the nominations made it more difficult to determine most of the eventual winners – something that’s unlikely to happen at the Oscars.

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