Baftas 2022: Seven highlights - from the jokes to the dresses

By Steven McIntosh
Entertainment reporter at the Baftas

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Lady Gaga (L) and last year's winner Bukky Bakray (R) present the rising star prize to Lashana LynchImage source, EPA
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Lady Gaga (L) and last year's winner Bukky Bakray (R) presented the rising star prize to Lashana Lynch

Dune might have won the most prizes, but The Power of the Dog proved too powerful when it came to the night's top categories at Sunday's Bafta Film Awards.

The Benedict Cumberbatch-starring western took home best film and best director for Jane Campion, standing it in good stead ahead of the Oscars at the end of this month.

Elsewhere, Rebel Wilson made an assured hosting debut while the likes of Will Smith, Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose cemented their status as Oscar frontrunners.

Here are seven highlights from this year's ceremony, which marked a return to a full-capacity in-person event at the Royal Albert Hall.

1. Rebel Wilson made an impressive debut

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Rebel Wilson has starred in films such as Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect and Hustle

The Baftas are a more serious and formal affair than a lot of other awards shows, and it can be pretty difficult to get a laugh from the audience.

As a result, a couple of host Rebel Wilson's jokes fell a little flat, but we thought on the whole the Australian comic actress did a fine job, delivering some solid one-liners in her opening monologue.

  • "You guys might be like 'why is Rebel Wilson hosting the Baftas, isn't she Australian?' Yeah I come from the bush, but if you think about it, don't we all?"
  • "Everyone's asking me me why did I lose weight, well clearly it was to get the attention of Robert Pattinson. Just joking, I did not lose weight for a guy, I did it to get more acting roles."
  • "Lady Gaga is nominated for House of Gucci. Apparently they all had Italian accents in that film, I didn't notice."
  • "Tom Hiddleston is here but he isn't nominated tonight, he's just here Loki."
  • "We wanted to open the show with a Bond number, because Bond is turning 60, and his girlfriends are turning 25."
  • "I'm proud to announce the new James Bond will be me. Bond goes to Australia and it'll be called Die Another G'Day."
  • "The next award is for best original score. Mine was actually the last time I was here at the Baftas, when I got Idris Elba's phone number."

2. Ariana DeBose was not ready for the British weather

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Ariana DeBose (right) said she and co-star Rachel Zegler were together wearing the colours of the Ukrainian flag

"Next time I think I'll consult the weather report, and perhaps wear a little less fabric?" the best supporting actress winner told press backstage following a slightly rainy red carpet.

But unknown to many, her stunning Oscar de la Renta dress actually doubled up as a political statement - when put together with that of her West Side Story co-star.

"Did anybody see what Rachel Zegler's wearing? Because the two of us together are standing with Ukraine, like seriously, we are reflecting it in colour," she said.

It wasn't the only reference to Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the ceremony. Woody Norman, the 13-year-old star of C'Mon C'Mon, and Boiling Point star Stephen Graham both wore ribbons on their suits in the colours of Ukrainian flag. Benedict Cumberbatch, meanwhile, wore a blue and yellow badge.

"It's horrific what we're seeing daily," he told BBC News on the red carpet. "We all have to continue to put pressure on the Putin regime, continue to help in any way we can, whether that's through donations or housing refugees, all of which I'm looking to do and have done."

3. There's no question about Questlove's love for bagels

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Questlove's group The Roots is the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in the US

The musician's film Summer of Soul picked up best documentary, but we were mostly just impressed he was awake enough for the Baftas given his gruelling schedule.

Questlove went from the DGA Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday night to the Baftas in London on Sunday afternoon. Oh, and he also has to be in New York for his regular job on Monday night - his group The Roots are the house band on a US chat show.

"I'm going to go straight to the airport [after the Baftas] and tomorrow I have to be at work at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," he explained, but added there was one last place he wanted to visit before leaving London.

"Actually, when she was with us, Amy Winehouse introduced me to a spot called Beigel Bake, it's a 24-hour bakery. When we first started our friendship, that's how she would always end my London trips, so I always go there and honour her."

If you happened to be in Brick Lane late on Sunday night, that really was Questlove you saw buying a rainbow bagel.

More from the Baftas 2022:

4. Troy Kotsur knows how to make the most of stage props

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Troy Kotsur is the firm favourite to win best supporting actor at the Oscars on 27 March

The Coda star has become an awards season favourite and stands a strong chance of winning the Oscar for best supporting actor following his Bafta victory.

"I feel like it's a big pay-off for the many years of an extremely tough journey," the deaf actor said backstage through an interpreter. "It was hellish at times, I feel like a survivor.

"At times I slept in the back of my car, I couch surfed, and on the set of A Streetcar Named Desire, I slept on the bed on set because it was just so hard for me to survive back then as a starving actor."

Kotsur is now getting the most recognition of his career thanks to Coda, which was directed and adapted by Sian Heder.

"It took a long time for Hollywood to accept actors who happen to be deaf. With Coda, it was really the right team, right director, right script," he said.

5. Joanna Scanlan scored a surprise win

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Joanna Scanlan took home best actress for her performance in After Love

The After Love star snared the best actress Bafta despite the film not being a major player at other awards ceremonies this season.

Scanlan is perhaps best known for her role in the excellent TV political satire The Thick Of It, so could her first Bafta for a movie role mean that she's more likely to concentrate on film projects in future?

"Well film and TV are changing, aren't they? So I guess I'll be changing with it," she said.

"Some of those boundaries are collapsing, and the way we tell stories is changing because of the platforms that we're receiving those stories through. So I'm just going to go with that flow, ride that wave."

6. The James Bond editors are slightly cross with the Oscars

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Elliot Graham (L) and Tom Cross won best editing for No Time To Die

You may have heard that the Oscars have controversially decided this year to pre-record eight of their 23 categories in an effort to save time during the telecast.

At the Baftas, best editing winners Elliot Graham and Tom Cross from No Time To Die were asked what they thought of the Academy's decision, which has been unpopular within the film industry.

"I'm glad you asked that. Speaking for myself, I'm not a fan," said Cross. "I think it taints the entire proceeding - it's not what the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences is about.

"I feel lucky to have attended before, and I just think every Academy Awards statue is gold - it's not silver, it's not bronze. All of those nominees deserve to stand up."

His co-winner Elliot Graham agreed: "I grew up wanting to be an Academy member, it's that dream come true, and I think it's [messed] up, they need to think about it."

7. Parasite has opened doors for foreign-language films

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Ryusuke Hamaguchi's three-hour film Drive My Car could repeat its Bafta success at the Oscars

After Drive My Car was named best film not in the English language, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi opened his acceptance speech by joking: "Well that got rid of my jet lag, thank you!"

Explaining more during the press conference backstage, he said: "I only arrived in this country yesterday, so it's about 5am Japan time right now."

Following in the footsteps of major recent awards players like Roma, Parasite and Minari, Hamaguchi acknowledged how attitudes towards films with subtitles have changed.

"The thing that makes us feel that is the change and acceptance of these films in the UK and the US," he said. "The influence of Parasite two years ago on this has been huge, and the next generation of Asian films is here ready to go."

With just a fortnight to go, all eyes will now turn to the Academy Awards on 27 March, which will mark the culmination of awards season.

Image source, Reuters
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This year marked the first full-capacity in-person Bafta Film Awards since the pandemic