On Sunday night, Stephen Fry took to the stage at the Royal Opera House in London to present the 67th BAFTA Film Awards. Most of the prizes were handed out as expected, with 12 Years A Slave picking up the Best Film gong and its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, winning the gong for Best Actor in the absence of probable Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey.
However, there were some surprises hidden amongst the predictability and here are the five that shocked me.
5. Outstanding British Debut – Kieran Evans (Writer/Director, Kelly + Victor)
The infectious enthusiasm of Kieran Evans as he stepped up to collect his prize for Outstanding British Debut told us everything we needed to know. Up against more well-known candidates like Kelly Marcel (Writer, Saving Mr Banks) and bigger fan favourites such as Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson (Writers, Good Vibrations), this was by no means in the bag.
Sometimes it’s lovely to see the underdog pull through. There’s something wonderfully British about that.
4. EE Rising Star – Will Poulter
The field for the Rising Star award this year was exceptionally strong. Lupita Nyong’o (more on her later) was in amongst it for 12 Years a Slave and Dane DeHaan is walking on sunshine with the combined power of Chronicle, Kill Your Darlings and the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Thus, it was a bit of a surprise when it was Hammersmith lad Will Poulter who took to the stage. Fresh from comedy We’re The Millers and a series of dramatic roles, his work deserves to be recognised. Hopefully this won’t be the only award he receives in his career.
3. Best Editing – Rush
Smart money going into the 2014 BAFTAs was on Gravity performing a clean sweep of the technical categories. Whilst it duly sauntered off with most of those prizes, it lost out in the Editing field to Ron Howard’s F1 drama film Rush.
Rush was a worthy winner of the prize though, with its race sequences really capturing the danger and excitement of piloting one of these high performance vehicles. The film is a real thrill of a movie, driven (if you’ll pardon the pun) by its incredibly well put together action.
2. Best Supporting Actor – Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Given that Dallas Buyers Club was completely snubbed from the BAFTAs, the Supporting Actor category was free of Jared Leto’s dominance. This looked like it might let Michael Fassbender’s intense plantation owner from 12 Years A Slave cruise to victory. And, if not, it would definitely be Daniel Brühl for Rush, right?
Wrong. Step forward Barkhad Abdi. Plucked from his previous career driving limousines, Captain Phillips was his debut film. As the terrifying captain of the Somalian hijackers, he was nothing short of sensational.
He also wins the prize for the night’s most delightfully humble acceptance speech.
1. Best Adapted Screenplay – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena)
So here we are: the biggest surprise of the 2014 BAFTAs. This was a category full of quality, and it looked like John Ridley was going to walk away victorious for 12 Years A Slave. However, as with so many of the evening’s gongs, Steve McQueen’s harrowing real life portrayal lost out. And, in this category, it lost out to something very British indeed in the shape of the warm-hearted dramedy Philomena.
Very few people would have had Philomena pegged as a potential winner, least of all Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. Whilst the film was a witty, charming tale, it’s difficult to see why it was able to beat out the titanic competition in its category – a feat it surely will not repeat at the 2014 Oscars.
Still, British victory is always something worth cheering for.
What were your biggest surprise from the 2014 BAFTAs? Do you think the winners deserved their prizes? Give me your views in the comments section below.