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Barry Keoghan BAFTA Getty.jpg

The 2023 BAFTAs Ceremony Was an Insulting Mess But the Winners Were Solid

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | February 20, 2023 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | February 20, 2023 |


Barry Keoghan BAFTA Getty.jpg

The 2023 British Academy Film and Television Awards took place, with the delightful Richard E. Grant on hosting duties, aided by Britain’s national treasure, Allison Hammond. The BAFTAs are a tricky beast, ostensibly a celebration of our nation’s cinema but often more concerned with acting as an over-eager precursor to the Oscars. The show continues to not be broadcast live, so BBC viewers get a truncated version of the show that leaves tech winners stuck in a montage in order to make more room for comedic skits. On the bright side, Grant is a legitimate legend who should have been doing this gig for years. He was a bit shaky but he’s also ridiculously charming, and Allison Hammond is an absolute blessing who we do not deserve as a species. But I’m a traditionalist, I just wanted to see people win awards. I don’t need jokes, guys. I have movies!

I continue to be mad that the BBC seem more interested in awkward songs and comedy bits than, you know, the films. Hammond did behind-the-scenes celebrity interviews that they cut to DURING the ceremony?! If you were following along on Twitter, you knew the winners way before they were shown on the telly. Kind of takes the joy out of it and feels insulting to the nominees. Every year, I not-so-secretly wonder if the BAFTAs and BBC just hate film. Also, the tribute to the Queen? Sure, OK. I didn’t know she was a hardcore cinephile. Very little of the already-condensed two hours was dedicated to the films and nominees. Why?! By the time we got to a mid-show interview with Geri ‘Tory Spice’ Halliwell, who has absolutely nothing to do with any of the nominated films, I wondered if I was hallucinating. There’s something so weird about how much awards ceremonies for cinema seem to truly hate cinema, but even the Oscars doesn’t suck this badly.

At least the winners were a solid bunch, all things considered. I feel like that’s more reflective of the year in films than the BAFTA choices, which were relatively unsurprising. Again, this is a group very concerned with being part of the Oscars race, far more so than it was two decades ago. Everything that happened here doesn’t feel outside the realm of impossibility for the Academy. It was somewhat unexpected to see Barry Keoghan win Best Supporting Actor for The Banshees of Inisherin over Ke Huy Quan, who has dominated this category for months. Kerry Condon also won Supporting Actress for the same film (a moment ruined on the broadcast by sh*tty editing.) But even then, they won for a British production and a major frontrunner of the season. It’s a good pair of wins, and continues this strange trend of people who play the Joker having tons of awards on their shelves.

It was a big night for All Quiet on the Western Front, which went into the BAFTAs as the most nominated film of 2023. It took home awards for Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Film not in the English language, Score, and Film. Its win for Director for Edward Berger was a real surprise, a nice moment for BAFTA to celebrate someone without having to worry that it doesn’t line up with the Oscars (he’s not nominated there.) It wouldn’t be a total shock to see it do well with the Academy since it’s a sturdily made war film with an eternal message and impeccable technical prowess. But it would be sort of boring, given its competition.

The winners are a decent bunch (although they are white as hell), and I’m sad that their big night was hindered by a messy production that often felt utterly contemptible towards them. The BBC and BAFTA should totally overhaul this nonsense once and for all.

BEST FILM

All Quiet on the Western Front

BEST DIRECTOR

Edward Berger — All Quiet on the Western Front

BEST LEAD ACTOR

Austin Butler — Elvis

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett — Tar

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Barry Keoghan — The Banshees of Inisherin

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kerry Condon — The Banshees of Inisherin

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

The Banshees of Inisherin

OUTSTANDING BRITISH DEBUT

Aftersun — Directed by Charlotte Wells

BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

All Quiet on the Western Front

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

All Quiet on the Western Front — James Friend

BEST EDITING

Everything Everywhere All at Once — Paul Rogers

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Elvis — Catherine Martin

BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIR

Elvis — Jason Baird, Mark Coulier, Louise Coulston and Shane Thomas

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

All Quiet on the Western Front — Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Banshees of Inisherin — Martin McDonagh

BEST MUSIC

All Quiet on the Western Front — Volker Bertelmann

BEST SOUND

All Quiet on the Western Front — Lars Ginzsel, Frank Kruse, Viktor PráÅ¡il and Markus Stemler

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Babylon — Florencia Martin and Anthony Carlino

BEST CASTING

Elvis — Nikki Barrett and Denise Chamian

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Avatar: The Way of Water — Richard Baneham, Daniel Barrett, Joe Letteri and Eric Saindon

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Navalny — Daniel Roher, Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller and Odessa Rae

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT

An Irish Goodbye — Tom Berkeley and Ross White

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse — Peter Baynton, Charlie Mackesy, Cara Speller and Hannah Minghella

BAFTA RISING STAR AWARD (the only award voted for by the public)

Emma Mackie

BAFTA FELLOWSHIP

Sandy Powell, who became the first-ever costume designer to receive the Fellowship.