EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Alternative View

Controversy was no stranger at last night’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards  better known as the British Academy Film Awards or, the rather unsexy, BAFTAs. Social media networks were flooded with questions relating to the top winners 12 Years A Slave and Gravity with the biggest question being: “Are they British?”

Traditionally the BAFTAs has been the awkward but quirky British cousin of the American Oscars – with a strong focus on British acting and filmmaking talent. Past winners have generally been drawn from a very select pool of smaller budget films that are quintessentially British or at least ‘un-American’ at their core (ie. not another Hollywood blockbuster).  But this year’s big winners at first glance are both big budget Hollywood films, which managed to confuse just about everyone and caused mass debate on Twitter, with several experts weighing in from both sides.

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Gravity won the top honour of 2014 Outstanding British Film, yet it is an American funded big budget film starring two American acting darlings – George Clooney and Sandra Bullock and directed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. So how is it British? According to those who backed the nomination and win, it qualifies as British due to the fact that it was filmed on British soil at the Shepperton and Pinewood studios with a British crew. The film was also completely reliant on its award-winning visual effects that were created by a London post-production house, Framestore.

12 Years A Slave winner of the 2014 Best British Film about the harrowing life of a slave in America had a slightly more obvious British connection with the director Steve McQueen and star Chiwetel Ejiofor both being British.

25th Annual Producers Guild Awards

12 Years A Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Steve McQueen with Brad Pitt who was a producer on the film

There is a system to measure whether a film qualifies as British that can be found here , but according to Screen International chief reporter Andreas Wiseman Gravity does not pass BAFTA’s ‘cultural test’. The other great controversies at the BAFTAs included the moment when Tinie Tempah (British at least) descended from the stage and high-fived the front row including the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Charles causing many royalists to go into overdrive. Another humorous moment was when Prince William awarded the BAFTA Fellowship to Dame Helen Mirren and joked that her screen role as the Queen meant “I should probably call her ‘granny’.”

However it was American duo Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who stole the show in matching tuxedos proving they are indeed the people’s choice for the world’s Royal Couple.

Tinie Tempah with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Tinie Tempah with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Here were the main winners of the night:

Best Film: 12 Years A Slave

Leading Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Leading Actress: Cate Blanchett

Director: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity

Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips

Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

Fellowship: Dame Helen Mirren

Outstanding Contribution: Peter Greenaway

Outstanding British Film: Gravity

Adapted Screenplay: Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan for Philomena

Original Screenplay: Eric Warren Singer and David O.Russell for American Hustle

Original Music: Gravity

Images: Getty