‘The Favourite’ rules BAFTAs with most wins, ‘Roma’ takes top prize

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British actress Olivia Colman poses with the award for a Leading Actress for her work on the film 'The Favourite' at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 10, 2019. (AFP / Ben Stansall)
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Director Alfonso Cuaron poses with his daughter Tess Bu Cuaron for photographers backstage with his Best Film and Best Director award for his film 'Roma' at the BAFTA awards in London on Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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‘The Favourite’ rules BAFTAs with most wins, ‘Roma’ takes top prize

  • Rami Malek took the Leading Actor prize for his portrayal of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • British actress Olivia Colman, who portrays Queen Anne in “The Favourite”, won the Leading Actress category

LONDON: Netflix black and white film “Roma” picked up the top prize at the BAFTAs on Sunday, scooping Best Film as well as Director, while costume romp “The Favourite” took the most honors at the British awards ceremony.
Alfonso Cuaron’s semi-autobiographical film, about a domestic worker in 1970s Mexico, has won a string of prizes this awards season, further cementing its path to potential Oscar success.
On Sunday, the critically-acclaimed movie had four wins, including Cinematography and Film Not In The English Language.
“I am seriously touched this film has been received the way it has been received,” Cuaron said in his acceptance speech for the top director prize.
Period drama “The Favourite,” in which Olivia Colman stars as Britain’s 18th century Queen Anne, won seven BAFTAs, including Outstanding British film, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design and Make Up and Hair.
Colman, who portrays the monarch as frail and tempestuous, won the Leading Actress category, a victory that had been expected by many. Her co-star Rachel Weisz scooped the Supporting Actress prize, an award for which fellow “The Favourite” star Emma Stone was also nominated.
“We’re having an amazing night aren’t we,” Colman told her fellow “The Favourite” nominees as she picked up the award.
“This is for a lead. As far as I’m concerned, all three of us are the same and should be the lead. This is for all three of us. It’s got my name on it, but we can scratch in some other names.”
Rami Malek took the Leading Actor prize for his portrayal of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” adding to his Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award wins for the role. The film also won the Sound prize.
The BAFTAs, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall, drew Hollywood stars including “A Star Is Born” actor and director Bradley Cooper and “Mary Queen of Scots” nominee Margot Robbie, walking a chilly red carpet.
Cooper picked up the Original Music prize for “A Star Is Born,” while Adapted Screenplay went to Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman.”
Mahershala Ali took the Supporting Actor prize for his role in “Green Book,” set in the segregated US South in the early 1960s.


Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins. (Supplied)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Sheikha Alyazia’s ‘mishmash’ of ancient and modern

  • Inside the Emirati artist’s inaugural solo exhibition in London, ‘I Met a Traveler From an Antique Land’

LONDON: You are searching for treasure. Several potential locations are marked with an ‘x’ on your map. You move methodically from site to site, always to be met with disappointment — never striking gold. Are you, in following trails set by others, missing the treasure ‘hidden’ in plain view?

This is one of the conundrums posed in the artworks of Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al-Nahyan, whose inaugural solo exhibition in London presented a thought-provoking range of work fusing the ancient past with modern life.

Her “Mishmash Trails” featured cave-like shapes cut in marble, with the treasure taking the form of imagined ancient eastern coins, reflecting Arab, Roman and Phoenician influences. She described the coins, embedded in the marble, as symbolic of the great treasures buried in secret locations that were sought out and fought over by many. 

Al-Nahyan named her exhibition — held at Pi Artworks from June 25 to July 7 — with the opening line of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem “Ozymandias”: “I met a traveler from an antique land.” (Ozymandias is the Greek name for the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II.)

Mishmash Dirham. (Supplied) 

The poem, published in 1818, imagines a meeting between the narrator and a traveller who describes a ruined statue lying in the desert. The description of the statue is a meditation on the fragility of human power and on the effects of time: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings/Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!/Nothing beside remains: round the decay/Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

“Maybe a positive thing from looking to the past is that it proves it is only human to repeat the mistake and the lesson,” Al-Nahyan told Arab News. “Studying the past is a realization of human nature, individually or in groups, right or wrong. This natural feeling of connectivity is something I usually aim for.”

There is humor in some of her work — particularly the depictions of old commercial airline advertisements from the 1950s and 60s with ancient figures superimposed in the frames. They certainly give the viewer pause for thought about how much our world has changed in the short time since air travel became widely available.

The exhibition’s curator, Janet Rady, said of Al-Nahyan: “She has been practicing art from a very young age and is self-taught. She is incredibly talented, and you see this in the wide range of her work, which uses all sorts of different media. I can’t necessarily call her a pop artist or a collage artist or an installation artist; she is in fact all of these things, but it is the concept behind her work — connecting the past with the present — which is important.”

The UAE’s UK ambassador, Mansoor Abulhoul, was present at the opening and he particularly admired Al-Nahyan’s works based on the classic wooden board game Carrom paired with a modern video game.

Carrom Station in Motion. (Supplied) 

“I first played Carrom with my cousins as a boy, and she has combined it with modern computer games, which is very creative,” he said. He pointed out that her innovative work ties in well with the dynamic of the UAE.

“Next year we have EXPO 2020, with its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’ It’s very much about our roots and how we take them forward, how we develop the mind and global cooperation,” he said. 

The exhibition included a short clip from Al-Nahyan’s upcoming film “Athel,” written by Al-Nahyan’s sister, Sheikha Shamsa. It centers on a strange encounter in the desert between a pre-Islamic poet and a modern-day TV presenter. “Athel” is set for release later this year and stars Hala Shiha and Mansour Al-Fili.

“The idea behind it all is taken from the tradition of Arabic poetry — its wisdom and, sometimes, risks,” Al-Nahyan explained. “And ending with a realization of one tribal law putting redemption and family before all.” She added that there are some “light-hearted” moments in the film too.

Arabic poetry is an ongoing inspiration for Al-Nahyan’s work, adding another layer of meaning to many of her pieces.

“The Arabic language is poetic, and Arabs and other cultures around the world have documented their lives through poetry,” she said. “So, for example, when tackling the topic of what is considered treasure, we found different meanings in various verses. Like when (pre-Islamic poet) Zuhair Bin Abi Salma refers to glory as the only true treasure.”

There is a much to absorb and reflect on in this exhibition which opens windows into many facets of Arab history and culture and poses universal questions about humanity and what constitutes real treasure.