The 57-year-old actor and director, well known for playing Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings, poked fun at the UK home secretary a week after her office revealed only 300 visas had been issued out of a total of 17,700 family scheme applications for Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK.
The crisis had earlier been labelled Europe’s worst since the Second World War.
“A world-class director is a visionary empowered to change the world with a story that they are burning to tell,” Serkis said while introducing the award for best director.
“Bringing together and leading a huge family of supremely talented strangers on a difficult and chaotic journey, whilst hopefully creating an atmosphere that inspires inclusivity and values every single member of that family equally,” he added.
“So it is no surprise that Priti Patel on her debut feature ‘Hostile Environment’ found enormous problems,” the filmmaker quipped.
“And that her follow-up movie ‘All refugees are welcome but some are more welcome than others’ is a complete nightmare.”
Fans applauded The Batman actor for “calling out” Patel, soon after he made the comments on the UK politician.
“Kudos to Andy Serkis for giving the dig to Priti Patel in his Baftas intro,” wrote one person on social media. “Never let these f****** sleep.”
Another person added: “Andy Serkis coming in with the shade towards Priti Patel, things you love to see.”
“I am so here for Andy Serkis calling out Priti Patel,” wrote another person.
Serkis also reflected on the Russian invasion of Ukraine while on the red carpet.
He told the PA news agency that it’s “important” to celebrate the arts as they hold “humanity together”.
“It’s a difficult situation having a celebration like this when such horrendous, horrific things are happening not too far away from here,” he told the PA news agency.
“But I think it’s also important that arts are celebrated because arts do hold humanity together, and actual freedom of speech and the power of storytelling is something that I think Ukrainians would totally applaud.”
So if we hold them up tonight and reflect the enjoyment and the passion back to them, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
On Sunday (13 March), UK prime minister Boris Johnson was urged to sack Patel over her department’s handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said Patel’s response to the “humanitarian catastrophe” had been “utterly shameful”.
Additional reporting by PA
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.