Margot Robbie missed out on a best supporting actress BAFTA – she was nominated for Bombshell and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – but stole the show anyway.
The Gold Coast star was bested by Marriage Story’s Laura Dern in her category but stepped onstage to an accept an award on behalf of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cast mate Brad Pitt.
Best supporting actor Pitt was a late withdrawal from the BAFTAs at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday morning (Australian time) because of “family obligations.”
This awards season, the 56-year-old has made headlines for his funny, self-deprecating acceptance speeches.
At the SAG Awards he sent up his own romantic life (“I’m gonna add this to my Tinder profile”) and at the BAFTAs took aim at Brexit and ‘Megxit’ via Robbie.
“Hey Britain, heard you just became single. Welcome to the club,” Robbie read from a speech provided by Pitt.
Holding the statue, she said “he says he is going to name this Harry because he is really excited about bringing it back to the States with him.
“His words, not mine,” added Robbie.
Another Australian star, Rebel Wilson, also reeled off some zingers at the awards, which saw lack of diversity as a hot-button topic.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts itself admitted to “disappointment” and “frustration” after no actors of colour were nominated in the main acting categories, and no women were up for best director.
Overlooked for her lauded turn in Harriet, Cynthia Erivo refused to perform her song Stand Up at the ceremony, citing the lack of representation.
Wilson tackled the subject head on, getting the biggest laugh of the night when listing the best director nominees.
“Looking at this category – Sam Mendes, Martin Scorsese, Todd Philips, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon Ho, I don’t think I could do what they do.
“I just don’t have the balls.”
— R a c h a e l 🌹 (@RachWoods97) February 2, 2020
Wilson also dissed her own last disastrous film outing when referring to her red and black Prabal Gurung dress: “The black is from the funeral I went to for the film Cats.”
She even went there about the current global health crisis, holding the mask-shaped BAFTA up to her face: “What a great way to stop yourself from getting coronavirus.”
BAFTA president Prince William broke royal protocol and addressed the diversity controversy in his closing remarks.
“We find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and the awards process. That simply cannot be right in this day and age,” William said.
The Duke of Cambridge was accompanied by wife Kate Middleton, who honoured the request to dress ‘sustainably’ by wearing a white and gold Alexander McQueen gown first seen on a Malaysian tour in 2012.
The diversity discussion wasn’t the only thing adding a sombre tone to the occasion.
After two people were stabbed and a third injured in a terrorism-related attack in South London, the BBC cancelled its plans to broadcast red-carpet interviews.
The big winner of the night was Sam Mendes’ World War I drama 1917, which won seven BAFTAs including best film, best director, special visual effects and best cinematography for Roger Deakins.
Joker won three gongs, Renée Zellweger took home her third BAFTA for Judy, and New Zealand director Taika Waititi won best adapted screenplay for Jojo Rabbit.
“Coming from the colonies,” it was good, Waititi said, to “take a little bit of your gold back home where it belongs.”
Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman was nominated in 10 categories and won none.
For a full list of BAFTA 2020 winners click here.