BAFTAs 2020 highlights: Joaquin Phoenix calls out systemic racism; Brad Pitt makes Brexit joke in acceptance speech

The 2020 edition of BAFTAs were hosted by Irish television presenter and comedian Graham Norton.

FP Staff February 03, 2020 10:24:53 IST
BAFTAs 2020 highlights: Joaquin Phoenix calls out systemic racism; Brad Pitt makes Brexit joke in acceptance speech

This annual BAFTA Awards took place on 2 February at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Irish television presenter and comedian Graham Norton hosted the ceremony, takes over the hosting duties from Joanna Lumley, who served as presenter for the previous two years.

The top categories were dominated by Sam Mendes' 1917, which took home seven accolades for Best Film, Best Director, Outstanding British Film, Best Cinematography, among others. Joaquin Phoenix and Renée Zellweger won the Best Actor and Best Actress awards for Joker and Judy, respectively.

#BaftasSoWhite had become the top trend after the awards nominations were announced last month. The British Academy of Film and Television was heavily criticised for its lack of diversity and representation. Norton, in his opening monologue, referred to the controversy, calling this year, "the year when white men finally broke through." He then went on to describe Joker, which was leading with 11 nominations as "the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter."

Joaquin Phoenix calls out "systemic racism" in entertainment industry

Phoenix, who has been advocating for a plant based menu in awards season, was even arrested during Jane Fonda's climate change protests took to stage and addressed the diversity problem at the BAFTAs. Not only did he criticise the "systemic racism" of the industry, but said that he was also part of the problem.

"I don't think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that's what we give ourselves every year. I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I'm ashamed to say that I'm part of the problem," said the actor.

Watch his speech here

Kathleen Kennedy, Andy Serkis honoured

Andy Serkis received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award for his pioneering motion-capture acting for computer-generated characters. The 55-year-old’s roles include Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot, the titular gorilla in King Kong and Supreme Leader Snoke in two Star Wars sequels.

The bronze BAFTA trophy is based on the tragicomic mask of ancient Greek theatre. Around 280 are hand-made each year at the New Pro Foundries in west London.

Sir Ian McKellen introduced the the actor-director, who appeared onstage crutches due to an injury in a skiing accident.

Here is his acceptance speech

Meanwhile, Prince William presented the Academy Fellowship, BAFTA's highest accolade, to American producer Kathleen Kennedy, the boss of Lucasfilm. She has been behind some of the biggest-grossing movies ever, including the Star Wars sequels, Jurassic Park, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the Back to the Future trilogy.

Prince William also addresses diversity issue

Prince William, who has been the BAFTA president for almost a decade urged those in the entertainment industry to encourage inclusiveness and better representation.

"Both here in the UK and in many other countries across the world we are lucky to have incredible film-makers, actors, producers, directors and technicians - men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film. Yet in 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process - that simply cannot be right in this day and age," he said, according to Express.co.uk.

He further stated that BAFTA has taken up this complaint seriously and have launched a review process to prevent the same from happening next year's edition of the awards. William made this speech shortly after Phoenix collected his Best Actor trophy.

Rebel Wilson calls out Academy for not nominating women directors, takes potshot at own film Cats

Rebel Wilson, who was invited onstage to introduce the Best Director category, had the audience in stitches with her speech. Not only did she make jokes at the venue Royal Albert Hall's expense, she also touched upon the BAFTAs diversity controversy, coronavirus and the failure of her film Cats. Wilson also held the bronze BAFTA trophy to her face and joked about how it would be a "great way to stop yourself from getting coronavirus ."

She spoke about the BAFTAs push for sustainability by banning single use plastic and encouraging attendees to repeat their red carpet looks from the past. "The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia, and the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats," Wilson said about her own dress.

She also took a potshot at the Academy for not nominating women directors. She said, "I don't think I could do what they do, honestly. I just don't have the b***s," as the room erupted in laughter.

Watch Wilson here

Brad Pitt makes Brexit joke in supporting actor speech

Margot Robbie accepted Brad Pitt's supporting actor award for his role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. "Brad couldn’t be here tonight due to family obligations, so he asked me to read his response for him," said Robbie before reading out Pitt's acceptance message from a piece of paper.

“He starts by saying, ‘Hey Britain. Heard you just became single. Welcome to the club!," Robbie referred to Britain's exit from the European Union. Pitt thanked the Academy and added that he would christen the award Harry because "he’s really excited about bringing it back to the States with him." Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle are currently living in Canada after announcing that they are stepping away from their royal roles.

Robbie made sure to clarify that the speech was entirely Pitt's words and not hers as the audience laughed along.

Here is Pitt's acceptance speech

 

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