FRANCES McDORMAND WINS! And Frances McDormand isn’t around to pick it up either. Meanwhile, Aaron Sorkin turned up to lose. I don’t know who I respect more in this situation.
Richard E Grant (thirsty) is here to present best actress. Dermot O’Leary, by the way, just called him “One of the only national treasures we didn’t steal”, which made me full-on splutter into a glass of water.
ANTHONY HOPKINS WINS! And Anthony Hopkins isn’t around to pick it up, because the thought of Anthony Hopkins sitting through a two-hour awards show in front of a laptop is genuinely unthinkable.
Renée Zellweger is here to present best actor. And she has seemingly singlehandedly fixed the wi-fi problem in Los Angeles. This is star power. If she’s free, I’d like her to come and sort out my mesh network in my shed soon.
CHLOÉ ZHAO WINS! Massively deserved, and neatly slots Nomadland into Oscar frontrunner territory. And better yet, Zhao is sitting in an office chair and wearing a very good shirt.
Jonathan Pryce is here to present best director. He has 100% been vaccinated. In Covid terms, he’s basically the Terminator tonight.
Leslie Odom Jr and Corinne Bailey Rae are now duetting through A Change Is Gonna Come. It’s beautiful, and all the more impressive for the fact that Leslie is in LA and Corinne is in London. Given that Anna Kendrick could barely get through a presentation speech without her wi-fi turning her into a gremlin, this is a proper achievement.
From a wood-clad conference room, Lee accepts the award. He says that Britain was the only country to get him at first. He says that Sense and Sensibility opened a number of doors for him, and that this award is a huge recognition. And that’s it. Short and sweet. I’m starting to enjoy these virtual awards shows.
Hugh Grant is here! He’s being deferent and charming about Ang Lee, the recipient of this year’s Bafta fellowship. He calls Lee a “hedge” and implies that he’s a fraud, he complains about the lack of an audience tonight, he outs himself as embittered and competitive. Is there any chance that Hugh Grant could present the whole Baftas next year?
Moving on, here’s the announcement of the Rising Star award. James McAvoy is presenting, and BUKKY BAKRAY WINS. It’s less a speech than just everyone Bakray knows screaming and hugging her. Once it all calms down, she settles into a terrific speech; thanking all the other nominees by name, most of the Rocks crew by name and everyone who died this year. Terrific.
Now for a devastatingly long in memoriam section. These are usually wrenching at the best of times, but this year it’s really driving home what a horrible time we’re all living through. The circumstances of tonight’s show mean that there isn’t a flashy performance to accompany the presentation; just name after name after name. Christ, this year.
Now for the second half of the outstanding British film category. And winner, too. PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN WINS! We’re back in the ballroom with Emerald Fennell, who must surely be hurtling towards an Oscar now.
Next up is best original score. SOUL WINS! And that’s a very good result. Atticus Ross accepts, and gets a hug from his kid in the process. A cheap move, but it worked. Hooray!
Morfydd Clark is the final EE Rising Star nominee to be introduced. Morfydd Clark was very scary in Saint Maud, so I don’t want her to win anything, even though she seems perfectly reasonable in real life.