Best of BAFTAs: Highlights from UK film night

AFP
Published Feb 9, 2015, 9:33 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 8:36 pm IST

From a wheelchair-bound Stephen Hawking taking to the stage to an emotional tribute for late director Richard Attenborough, it was a memorable night at the BAFTA awards ceremony on Sunday.
 
Here are some of the highlights as up-and-coming actors joined Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Cruise for the event at London's Royal Opera House:
 
 
Award presenters this year included Hawking, the theoretical physicist and motor neurone disease sufferer who is the subject the award-winning biopic "The Theory of Everything".
 
As he took to the stage, Hawking received a standing ovation. He joked that he was not only more intelligent but also "better-looking" than the night's host, comedian Stephen Fry.
 
 
Actor Tom Cruise, former footballer David Beckham also took to the podium, along with Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci, who are in London filming the new James Bond movie "Spectre".
 
 
Eddie Redmayne, who scooped best actor for portraying Hawking, told AFP that he spent four months in a London clinic "trying to educate myself on the disease" and worked with a dancer to "find the specifics of Stephen's physicality in my body".
 
 
J.K. Simmons, who won best supporting actor for his role as a fearsome music teacher in "Whiplash", told AFP that the script was "one of the most brilliant pieces of writing I have ever read."
 
 
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays troubled World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game", said on the red carpet that the role of the persecuted gay man had become a "cause" and "real passion" for him.
 
Cumberbatch also lent his support to save the Soho neighbourhood from gentrification, saying it was "a unique part of London's cultural life".
 
In a pre-recorded message, Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to Attenborough with lines from the late director's film "Chaplin" which he starred in saying: "Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it's breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by." Prince William also praised Attenborough's "passion for nurturing, supporting and developing talent".
 
 
British director Mike Leigh was honoured with a career achievement award previously won by Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.
 
Leigh has won three BAFTAs and is best known for "Naked" (1993), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Vera Drake (2004). His work has often been about working-class lives and showed particular anger against former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
 
 
Serge Pizzorno of the rock band Kasabian, which played at the ceremony, had his own take on the night's strict dress code, wearing a white T-shirt with "black tie" written on it.
  
The animal rights group PETA gave official approval to the night's vegan menu, featuring quinoa salad, asparagus, roasted butternut squash and sun-blushed tomato lasagne with wilted spinach.

 

 

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