Tonight, as I’m sure most of you are aware, it’s the annual British Academy Film Awards, or the BAFTAs, as everyone commonly refers to them. It’s a night of slightly less glitz and glamour than the Oscars, one where you get the sense that people are turning up more out of duty than because they particularly care.
I do wonder sometimes whether the awards specifically geared towards British talent aren’t a bit parochial, for want of a better word. Though obviously there’s a natural bias towards US-made films at the Oscars and Golden Globes, they don’t go so far as to have awards for Best American Debut, or Best American Film. Perhaps BAFTA adds these categories because they’re the only real chance for the Brits to win something, but then we invariably scoop more gongs than at any other awards ceremony anyway.
Conventional wisdom suggests that awards ceremonies are tedious, self-congratulatory and pointless, but then I don’t really have an issue with talented people being celebrated for their work, particularly if it’s for films I enjoyed. Hence, I usually tune into the BAFTAs with great interest, especially this year as I’ve seen the majority of the nominated movies.
Annoyingly, however, I’ve had some of the early awards spoiled for me because I follow BAFTA Online on Twitter. Because, for some baffling reason, the ceremony is taking place as I type this, despite it not being televised until 9pm. This perhaps contributes to the BAFTAs feeling somehow less important than the other major film awards dos – if it’s not significant enough to show on telly until a couple of hours after it’s started, why should we really care? Can you imagine if the Oscars were announced on the internet before anyone had seen the show?
Hopefully someone can have a quiet word with BAFTA and the Beeb next year and they can sort this mess out. BAFTA might still feel a little quaint, but at least it won’t seem irrelevant.