Six things we learned at the Baftas

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Alfonso Cuaron wrote and directed Roma, which won best film

The Favourite may have been the favourite, but it was Roma that took the night’s big prize at the Bafta film awards.

The black and white, two-and-a-half-hour long subtitled film might not have “box office smash” written all over it – but then again, it wasn’t aiming for the box office.

Despite having a limited theatrical release, most will have seen Alfonso Cuaron’s film on Netflix – and its success on Sunday night marks the first ever best film Bafta for the streaming service.

But there were plenty of other awards for The Favourite, which took home seven prizes including original screenplay, outstanding British film, and acting awards for Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz.

Here are some of the things we learned at the ceremony:

1. Joanna Lumley was only Partially Fabulous

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Hosting the Baftas is a tall order. You have to be likeable, entertaining and funny, under the gaze of the brightest stars in Hollywood.

Returning to hosting duties for a second year, Joanna Lumley gave it her best shot, but not everyone was impressed.

“I adore Joanna Lumley but who on earth is responsible for her dire script?” asked Denise Welch, while Piers Morgan described her performance as “a train wreck”.

A little harsh, perhaps, but some of her jokes did fall a little flat. Here are some of the jokes we most enjoyed:

  • “The fabulous Glenn Close is here. The Wife was a wonderful film, although I imagine a lot of men have already moved on to the sequel – The Second Wife.”
  • “What a masterstroke to call it The Favourite. Next year there’ll be a film called ‘And the Bafta goes to…'”
  • “Bradley Cooper has been nominated for five categories – which suggests he’s a multi-talented genius… or that he needs to learn how to delegate.”
  • “Thank god Bafta has a host – but I think that might owe a lot to the fact I’m not on Twitter.” [A reference to Kevin Hart dropping out of the Oscars.]

2. The Black Panther cast have varied attitudes to texting

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This was the second year in a row a cast member from Black Panther won the award for rising star.

Daniel Kaluuya took home the trophy last year as he was riding the crest of the Get Out wave.

This year, it was Letitia Wright’s turn to take home the trophy – which differs from the others in that it’s bright blue instead of gold.

“I love my little blue man,” Letitia said backstage, after delivering an emotional acceptance speech at the ceremony.

“I’m enjoying the fact it’s very unique, very special, and the fact that Bafta has this category means a lot.”

Who might be the first Black Panther cast member to text her to say congratulations?

“Luptia [N’yongo],” replied Letitia immediately, championing her co-star’s talent with technology. “She’s a bit quicker than Chadwick [Boseman].”

And who would be last?

“Michael B Jordan because he’s so busy and he’s making a thousand films!”

3. Bohemian Rhapsody’s director was conspicuous by his absence

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John Warhurst (far right) acknowledged Singer’s absence backstage

One person who wasn’t present to represent Bohemian Rhapsody was its director Bryan Singer.

Bafta removed his name from the the film’s nominations due to allegations he sexually abused underage boys, which he denies.

Singer directed most of the film but exited the project before the film was completed.

However, despite the controversy, the movie took home best sound and best actor for Rami Malek.

“We did have a change of director halfway through filming,” acknowledged supervising sound editor John Warhurst backstage.

“But with everything the cast and crew was doing from one week to the next, there wasn’t a lot that changed really.

“Rami and everyone else came back to work the next day [after Singer left] and it just carried on without there being much of a change, and that’s when you realise how many people are involved in making a film like this.”

Speaking on the red carpet, Brian May added: “He was sacked for very good reason, not by us, but by Fox, so it’s a very arm’s-length kind of thing for us.”

4. Mahershala Ali’s success is down to basketball. Kind of

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There’s a surprising link between best supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali and The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos – both played basketball prior to launching their film careers.

Speaking after his win, Mahershala said the team-building nature of the sport is, in fact, the perfect training for working on a major film.

“In basketball, there’s a sense of everyone touching the ball, everyone contributing, there’s only five people on the team, so you can see what everyone else is doing,” he explained.

“I think there’s this sense of real collaboration in sports. Michael Jordan knows he wouldn’t have won the championship without Bill Cartwright. It prepares you for being able to work with other people.”

5. Success smells sweet for Richard E Grant

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Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant made a wonderful double act in Can You Ever Forgive Me.

But, joked Melissa McCarthy, it was a different story off camera.

“We don’t care for each other,” she told BBC News. “Not one bit. We don’t speak. He won’t let me look at him.”

Fortunately, the actress was just kidding. Not only did she say they “hit it off bizarrely well”, but McCarthy has taken to wearing Grant’s fragrance to remind her of him.

Grant released his own range of perfumes several years ago – one of which McCarthy was wearing to the Baftas.

“I always wear it, so even when I don’t get to have him with me, I weirdly go ‘good morning Richard!’ and put a little on.”

6. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper split their ceremonies

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Leading actress nominee Lady Gaga wasn’t at the Baftas ceremony – but to be fair she had a good excuse.

She was performing at the Grammys in the US, which were taking place on the same evening.

Her co-star in A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper, turned up instead to collect the prize for best original music.

But Gaga quickly got word of the win and tweeted her thanks to the British Academy.

(We assume she was planning on changing out of this gigantic David Bowie T-shirt ahead of her Grammys performance.)

With the Baftas over for another year, all eyes will now be on the Oscars on 24 February to see whether tonight’s big winners can repeat their success.

We’ll see you then.

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