There were some Oscar implications at play at the BAFTA Awards tonight in London. With space-flick Gravity leading the nominations and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle angling to make some headway as the Academy Awards draw nigh, there was more at stake than a chance to hang backstage with Stephen Fry.
The results were surprising at times and then unsurprising in the end. Gravity, which was nominated 11 times, picked up some big awards like Outstanding British Film, Best Director, and Cinematography. Here were the surprises.
Best Film: 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave may not have been a surprise per se, but with momentum floating in the way of Gravity throughout the evening, Steve McQueen's historical drama was in need of a boost that the BAFTA Awards previously gave to lesser known movies like The King's Speech and The Artist. Both of those movies went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Despite ten nominations, 12 Years a Slave only won one other award tonight. Gravity, on the other hand, won six total.
(Film bloggers dismount their hobby horses of wrath as 12 YEARS wins BAFTA best pic.)— James Wolcott (@JamesWolcott) February 16, 2014
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
It was a surprise that America's newly minted sweetheart could pull off a cross-pond coup for a movie with "America" in the title, but never underestimate the power of JLaw. Her victory for American Hustle stunned many who thought Lupita Nyong'o was a shoe-in for the award.
Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Barkhad Abdi
Both Chiwetel Ejiofor and Barkhad Abdi delivered impressive performances in 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips, respectively, but the surprise is still warranted because Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both won top acting prizes at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards, and SAG Awards for their parts in Dallas Buyer's Club. Neither Leto nor McConaughey was nominated for a BAFTA (to the chagrin of some) so tonight's winner was a toss-up.
How will this play out next month?