The British Academy Awards are a lot like the American Academy Awards. Except when people give acceptance speeches, it’s obvious that they have rehearsed the speech at least a couple times. Also, they tend to quote Shakespeare — instead of, like, Bruce Springsteen, or whoever us Americans quote. Double also: Everyone is charmingly self-deprecating. (Basically, everything Love Actually taught you was the truth.)
These and other revelations came to you if you watched this year’s BAFTAs, hosted yet again by the irrepressible Stephen Fry. If you’re wondering how the Brit awards impacted the Academy Awards race, go check out Prize Fighter Anthony Breznican’s latest dispatch from Oscarvania. Forthwith, the best moments from the BAFTAs.
The Wit and Wisdom of Stephen Fry
“Real life: That weird land outside Hollywood which unfortunately we have to visit from time to time.”
“I’m putting myself up to be a nude Mr. August for 2015.”
“I found myself wishing it had been called 24 Years a Slave.”
“Helen Mirren has brought her grandson along. Welcome his Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge!”
Introducing Oprah: “Her performance in The Butler was so moving, I almost gave mine the afternoon off.”
Introducing Gillian Anderson: “Utterly bilingual, she speaks perfect English and fluent American.”
Introducing perfect human being Emma Thompson: “In the film world, a goddess. In real life, a ghastly piece of sickly shrieking awful.”
Introducing Amy Adams: “She stars in American Hustle, she stars in Her, and she once ingested an entire antelope whole.”
Introducing Maggie Gyllenhaal: “She will perhaps one day achieve her dream of breaking away and pursuing her real ambition, becoming a quantity surveyor.”
Introducing a pair of co-presenters, beloved actor Jeremy Irons and beloved balding monarch Prince William: “For one of them, this is the nearest he’s ever been to appearing in The King and I. For the other, this is the nearest he’s ever been…to an iron.”
What Stephen Fry Calls Prince William
What Prince William Was Doing At The BAFTAs
He’s the President of BAFTA. I know what you’re thinking: “A Prince is the President? What kind of cockamamie country is this?” Also, he high-fived Tiny Tempah. If you missed it, here’s a GIF, or you could just wait for Peter Morgan to make a movie out of it.
Funniest Joke, Non-Fry Category
During one of his frequent trips to the stage, the Mexican-born director Alfonso Cuaron joked about how he’s been living in London for over a decade: “I guess that I make a very good case for curbing immigration.” The crowd ROARED. Seriously, just look at American Hustle director David O. Russell’s reaction:
Out-Of-Context Line of the Night
Eric Warren Singer, co-writer for American Hustle, mid-acceptance speech: “I was breastfed from a very young age on British cinema.” Weren’t we all?
Most Charmingly Nervous Acceptance Speech
Will Poulter is probably best known stateside for his role in We’re the Millers as “The One Who’s Not Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, or Emma Roberts.” Winning the Rising Star award, Poulter noted that he is known in his family for crying at Finding Nemo: “It’s about a fish who can’t find his dad, so I shouldn’t have watched it with my dad.” He also tried thanking all his fellow nominees, but couldn’t remember all their names. (Presenter Eddie Redmayne helped him out.)
Most Tear-Inducing Moment of the Night
Chiwetel Ejiofor, during his acceptance speech for 12 Years a Slave: “My mother, who is here, I love you. My late father, who’s not here, I love you, too.”
Maybe They Should Call Them The “BBAFTAs.”
The extra B is for Beard! Pretty much everybody was rocking some facial hair. But who wore it best?
None of the above! The prize for Best Beard went to this impressive salt-and-pepper production by Anthony Katagas, a producer of 12 Years a Slave.
Best Shout-Out Of The Night
Cate Blanchett, to her late friend Philip Seymour Hoffman: “Phil, buddy: This is for you, you bastard. I hope you’re proud!”
Second Best Shout-Out Of The Night
Alfonso Cuaron thanked his director pals Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: “I cannot order breakfast without asking their advice.”
And Now, The First Five Seconds of Helen Mirren’s Career Montage
Mirren then accepted the Fellowship prize from Prince William and gave a speech that ended with an extended quotation from The Tempest. So there.
Stephen Fry’s Perfect Advice For Anyone Who Ever Has To Give An Acceptance Speech
“When you are given a cup of tea, you don’t thank the kettle, the cup, the milk, the cow, the tea picker… Award winners, I trust I make myself clear. The briefer you are the more we will love, reverence and adore you.” Print that on a notecard and hand it out to all nominees at every awards show from now till forever.