and the winner is…

I have a soft spot for award ceremonies.

I’ve been pondering on it and I suppose it’s because I like to see people get recognition for creative endeavours. I’m not hugely interested in the razzmatazz, or the spectacle, but I am fascinated by the choices: which awards are given to what work. It points to a cultural zeitgeist, or at least highlights the bias of the awards committee or voting members.

I do find award shows inspiring too. It proves to me that hard work and passion can pay off, and it is possible to make good films, and they can even garner the plaudits they deserve.

Last night I watched the BAFTA awards, and it’s becoming one of my favourite award ceremonies. Partly because it’s a combination of glamourous and low key. The British well-to-do do not like fuss, and would be mortified if they indicated that they actually took this celebrity business too seriously. It’s reflected in how the show is run.

The audience, in their beautiful apparel, sit in a cinema. The presenter, Stephen Fry delivers his bon mots and introductions with quintessentially British dry humour, which never veers too far into the bitchy (that would be rude!). There is no orchestra or music editor to queue a song to remind the winner that his/her time to gush is limited. This is the BBC, after all. There are no adverts to cut to, and if they run over, well, the schedule will adjust. However, the 10 o’clock news is sacrosanct! Even the BAFTAs don’t stop the news.

There is a great deal of emphasis in the BAFTAs on its special awards, and it’s lovely that the final mask is the Academy Fellowship Award. I was delighted to see Lord Puttman get the award, and his introduction, and acceptance speech was genuinely touching. It was a lovely end to an enjoyable and tasteful show where the emphasis was on people who strive to perfect their craft.