Baftas 2020: Sam Mendes’ 1917 beats Parasite to Best Film in near clean sweep

It was Joaquin Phoenix’s powerful winners speech, though, that reflected the evening’s general atmosphere

Asim Chaudhry​ mocks Laurence Fox over 1917 comments

This year’s Baftas featured an almost clean sweep for Sam Mendes’ 1917, which landed seven wins including Best Film, Outstanding British Film and Best Director. It’s an expected turn of events, as the First World War film is currently a frontrunner at the Oscars and also happens to be packed with British talent.

Other British-backed films honoured during the ceremony included Mark Jenkins’ Bait, which won Best British Debut, and For Sama, a collaboration between Syrian filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab and British documentarian Edward Watts. The latter won Best Documentary.

However, Joker had the most nominations of the night, with 11 in total, but only walked away with three wins. These included Best Actor, which saw star Joaquin Phoenix deliver a powerful speech in response to this year’s total lack of diversity within the nominees.

“We really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism,” the actor said. “I think that it is the obligation of the people who have created and perpetuated and benefited from a system of oppression to dismantle it… so that’s on us.”

Phoenix’s comments reflected the general atmosphere of the night, in which the overall lack of diversity across all categories (no women were nominated for Best Director) seemed to hang over the proceedings.

Host Graham Norton, in an otherwise mild and pleasant opening monologue, called this “the year when white men finally broke through”. Norton continued by describing Joker as “the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter”.

Laura Dern and Renée Zellweger won Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress respectively, while Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Pitt was unable to attend the ceremony due to “family obligations”, but co-star Margot Robbie read out a pre-written speech – with a few friendly jabs at the UK included. “Hey, Britain,” the speech began. “I heard you just became single – welcome to the club.

Surprisingly, Pitt’s joke was one of very few mentions of Brexit during the ceremony, with the Bafta membership seemingly choosing this moment in history to turn inwards and examine their own flaws as opposed to looking outwards.

The awards could mark an end to Parasite’s chances of winning the Academy Award for Best Film. Director Bong Joon-ho picked up two awards: for Best Film Not in the English Language and Best Original Screenplay. Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi picked up Best Adapted Screenplay, while Greta Gerwig’s Little Women walked away with a single award for Best Costume Design.

Find a full list of the 2020 Bafta winners here.

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