AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Tuesday 12 February 2013
Last update 12 February 2013 1:06 am
LONDON: Iran hostage crisis drama “Argo” won the best film prize at Britain’s BAFTA awards on Sunday in a further boost for US actor-director Ben Affleck’s movie ahead of the Oscars later this month.
At a rainy but celebrity-packed ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London, Affleck also won the best director award, highlighting the fact that he has been snubbed in the same category at the Academy Awards.
Daniel Day-Lewis boosted his status as Oscar favorite as he was named best actor for his presidential turn in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” while 85-year-old French screen legend Emmanuelle Riva won best actress for “Amour.”
Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her performance in the musical “Les Miserables” while Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked western “Django Unchained.”
Dozens of stars defied the sleet and wind of a typical British winter evening to sashay down the red carpet for the awards, which are widely viewed as a bellwether for the Oscars on Feb. 24.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, or BAFTAs, have picked the same best film as the Oscars for the last four years in a row, and for five of the last 10 years in total.
Veteran British actress Helen Mirren stole the show with freshly dyed pink hair, while US star Jennifer Lawrence blew a kiss to television audiences during the ceremony, just as Brad Pitt did last year.
“Les Miserables” won the most awards with four including Hathaway’s gong, plus prizes for production design, sound and hair and make-up, followed by “Argo” with three, also including editing.
But it is “Argo” that now has the wind in its sails for the Oscars. The movie, about a CIA mission to rescue diplomats in Tehran in 1979, also won the top Golden Globe awards last month against all the odds, beating “Lincoln.”
Affleck took the best director award from the Directors Guild of America a week ago as well.
Glossing over his own Oscar snub, Affleck said the BAFTA best director award was a second chance for him after a career that took off when he starred in the 1997 picture “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon.
“I want to say this is a second act for me and you’ve given me that, this industry has given me that and I want to thank you and I’m so grateful and proud,” he said as he accepted the award from British actor Ian McKellen.
Riva’s best actress award for her role as a dying woman in “Amour” — which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes last year — came after the movie by Austrian director Michael Haneke also won the best foreign language film award at the BAFTAs.