LONDON: Director Chloe Zhao’s meditative drama “Nomadland” emerged as the top winner at the virtual 74th British Academy Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) by bagging four major awards, including the best film.
The movie’s lead star Frances McDormand picked up the best actress trophy while the best director award went to Zhao.
The film was a winner in the cinematography category as well.
Zhao, who became the first woman of colour to win the best director at the BAFTA, dedicated the award to the nomadic community who “generously welcomed” her team into their lives.
“They shared with us their dreams, their struggles, and their deep sense of dignity.
Thank you for showing us that aging is a beautiful part of life, a journey that we should all cherish and celebrate.
How we treat our elders says a lot about who we are as a society and we need to do better,” the director said in her acceptance speech.
The film’s win at the BAFTAs consolidates its chances as the frontrunner at the Oscars later this month.
McDormand couldn’t connect virtually for the event but thanked the BAFTAs in a written message.
“Thank you, dear British people. I humbly accept this honour on behalf of the ‘Nomadland’ tribe and company. We salute you,” she said.
Anthony Hopkins-starrer “The Father” won the best actor award for the veteran star, a category where India’s Aadarsh Gourav was also nominated for his role in “The White Tiger”.
Hopkins, who earned his eighth BAFTA nomination with “The Father”, said acting is like a way of life for him.
“It’s the only thing I do. I enjoy it. It’s a way of life for me…,” he said in an interview post the win.
“The Father” also won the adapted screenplay BAFTA.
In the supporting actress category, the award went to South Korea’s veteran star Yuh-Jung Youn for her role as the maternal grandmother in “Minari”, while Daniel Kaluuya was named the winner in the supporting actor category for his role as the fiery Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah”.
In her quirky acceptance speech, Yuh-Jung thanked “snobbish” British people for recognising her as an actor.
“Thank you so much for this award. Every award is meaningful, but this one, especially (to be) recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people, and they approve of me as a good actor.
So I’m very, very privileged and happy,” she said.
Kaluuya thanked the makers of “Judas and the Black Messiah”, the producers, his mother and friends, and he also remembered his childhood icons.
“It’s an honour to be a vessel for him (Fred Hampton),” he said.
Emerald Fennell’s #MeToo drama “Promising Young Woman” was named the outstanding British film at the ceremony with Fennell, who played Camilla Parker Bowles in the hit Netflix drama “The Crown”, also winning in the screenplay category.
The outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer went to Remi Weeks’ “His House”.
Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” was adjudged as the best film not in the English language.
“My Octopus Teacher”, a moving story about the bond shared between a diver and an Octopus, won the BAFTA in the documentary category.
The animated film BAFTA went to Pete Docter-Danna Murray’s jazz animation “Soul”.
The movie won its second award in the original score category.
Riz Ahmed-starrer “Sound of Metal” bagged two BAFTA awards in the editing and sound categories.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, starring late Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, was named a winner in the costume design and make-up and hair categories.
David Fincher’s period drama “Mank”, about the screenwriter of “Citizen Cane”, won an award in the production design category, while Christopher Nolan’s time inversion story “Tenet” won in the special visual effects category.
British short animation BAFTA went to “The Owl and the Pussycat” and the British short film award went to “The Present”.
“Rocks” won in the casting category and helped Bukky Bakray become the youngest EE rising star at the age of 19.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, James McAvoy, David Oyelowo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Pedro Pascal, Richard E Grant, Cynthia Erivo and Hugh Grant presented the awards.
The 2021 BAFTA Awards were announced this weekend over two consecutive nights.
The ceremony, which traditionally takes place two weeks prior to the Oscars, was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall with nominees attending virtually.
While the opening night was hosted by British radio personality Clara Amfo, Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary turned host for the second night of the ceremony that awarded 17 prizes in total.
BAFTAs also paid homage to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on Friday at the age of 99.
Prince Philip had served as the first president of the BAFTA, holding the post from 1959 until 1965.
Prince William, who was set to make a special appearance in a pre-recorded interview and also make a speech via video, pulled out of the ceremony in the wake of his grandfather’s death.