By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) – Dark western “The Power of the Dog” scooped both top honors at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, winning best picture and director for Jane Campion, while the epic sci-fi drama “Dune” garnered the most awards. .
New Zealand filmmaker Campion wrapped up a successful weekend with her comeback film, after winning top honors at the Directors Guild of America Awards in Beverly Hills the day before.
Based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, the critically acclaimed film set on a 1920s Montana ranch marks Oscar-winner Campion’s return to feature films since 2009’s “Bright Star.”
“Jane… you are a visionary whose trail has blazed its way through the last 30 years of cinema with stories about the silenced, the underrepresented and the misunderstood,” said producer Tanya Seghatchian in accepting the award on behalf of Campion, who was absent.
“You have inspired legions of women to find their voices. We are here because of you.”
Campion later appeared briefly via video call on the phone of one of the film’s producers during the winners’ press conference and said she was “overwhelmed”.
Hosted by Australian actress and comedian Rebel Wilson, this year’s ceremony, known as the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) returned as a glitzy regular red carpet event at London’s Royal Albert Hall, following an event virtual last year due to the COVID -19 epidemic.
There were references to the war in Ukraine, with some nominees wearing ribbons and badges in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag or speaking about the crisis on the red carpet and on stage.
“Dune,” a mammoth adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, earned top nominations with 11 nominations, mostly in the creative and technical categories. He won five awards.
“Belfast,” Kenneth Brannagh’s semi-autobiographical black-and-white comedy-drama set at the start of Northern Ireland’s three-decade war, won best British film.
Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake won two awards, including best supporting actress for Ariana DeBose.
Fresh off his win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Troy Katsur, who is deaf, won the supporting actor award for “CODA,” a coming-of-age story about the only hearing member of a deaf family.
“This is a historic moment because it’s been a long time for people to really accept a different perspective from the deaf community and deaf actors,” Kotsur told Reuters on the red carpet through an interpreter.
“Finally, they don’t see me as a deaf person, but as an artist and an actor who happens to be deaf.”
An absentee Will Smith won the lead actor award for playing the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard,” while Joanna Scanlan won best actress for playing a widow who discovers the devastating secret of her late husband in “After Love”.
To see a data box on the key winners, click here
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Additional reporting by Hanna Rantala; Editing by Susan Fenton and Andrew Heavens)