Ben Affleck’s Argo was crowned best film at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) on Sunday, while Daniel Day-Lewis bagged yet another leading actor award for the title role in Lincoln as an increasingly familiar awards season script unfolded in London.
Affleck also won the best director trophy for Argo, about the rescue of US hostages in Iran during the 1979 revolution, and the movie is now in pole position to win the biggest movie award of all on Oscar night.
“You are remarkable at what you do. You’re smart and you know what you want, but more importantly you love what you’re doing,” George Clooney, one of the film’s producers, told Affleck on stage as they accepted the best film award.
Steven Spielberg’s biopic of Abraham Lincoln was nominated in 10 categories, but went away with just one award for Day-Lewis, following a pattern seen at the Golden Globes and other award nights.
Day-Lewis, a method actor well-known for staying in character during the entire filming period of his movies, began his victory speech by satirizing his own working habits.
“Just on the chance that I might one day have to speak on an evening such as this, I’ve actually stayed in character as myself for the last 55 years,” he said to laughs from the audience at the Royal Opera House.
“Every time I rise from a chair it spontaneously unleashes a soundtrack of thunderous applause, with a few boos and some drunken hecklers,” he said.
Emmanuelle Riva, an 85-year-old French actress, won the BAFTA for leading actress for her part as a retired music teacher struggling to cope with the aftermath of a stroke, in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Amour.
Amour also won the BAFTA for best film not in the English language.
Anne Hathaway won the BAFTA for best supporting actress for her singing role as the tragic Fantine in Les Miserables, the movie version of a global hit stage musical.
Christoph Waltz won the best supporting actor award for his performance in Quentin Tarantino’s slavery-era Western Django Unchained, which also won the best original screenplay BAFTA.
Ang Lee’s (李安) Life of Pi, about a man and a tiger lost at sea, won two BAFTAs, one for best cinematography and another for visual effects. The tiger, a central character, was entirely conjured out of special effects.
Skyfall won the BAFTA award for outstanding British film.