Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq war movie “The Hurt Locker” swept the board at the BAFTA awards Sunday, winning the best film and director awards and leaving ex-husband James Cameron almost empty-handed.
Bigelow picked up six gongs out of eight she was nominated for, and was the first woman to win the best director award for her movie portraying elite soldiers tasked with defusing bombs in the heat of combat.
Collecting her best film award from US actor Dustin Hoffman, she said the prize was “beyond our wildest imagination.”
“This is so unbelievable, we’re just so deeply honoured and humbled,” said the director at the London awards ceremony.
“The Hurt Locker” also picked up gongs for original screenplay, cinematography, editing and sound at the glittering event, which attracted stars including Uma Thurman, Robert Pattinson and Colin Firth.
The war film beat Cameron’s 3D, computer-animated blockbuster “Avatar” to the major prizes — both had been nominated for best film and best director.
“Avatar”, the world’s biggest-ever grossing movie, picked up just two awards from eight nods for special visual effects and production design.
The BAFTAs come two weeks before the Oscars where “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” are also locked in a dead heat, leading the field with nine nods each.
A glittery event, the BAFTAs is one of the most hotly anticipated in the film world’s calendar and thousands of fans packed out London’s Covent Garden to catch a glimpse of the A-listers as they arrived.
Colin Firth won the best actor award for his role in “A Single Man”, in which he plays a gay academic fighting with grief.
“What (director) Tom Ford doesn’t know is I have the email in my outbox telling him I could not possibly do this,” he said.
“I was about to send this when a man came to repair my fridge… I don’t know what’s best for me so I would like to thank the fridge guy.”
Carey Mulligan scooped the prize for best actress for her part in “An Education”, a coming-of-age drama set in 1960s London, whose screenplay was written by British novelist Nick Hornby.
His books “High Fidelity” and “About A Boy” have been made into successful films.
Best supporting actor went to Austrian Christoph Waltz, for his part as a Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Inglourious Basterds”, and best supporting actress went to Mo’Nique for her role in “Precious.”
It was also revealed at Sunday’s ceremony that Prince William will become the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ (BAFTA’s) fifth president, following in his grandfather’s footsteps.
The 27-year-old, who succeeds legendary director Richard Attenborough, was greeted with huge cheers from crowds lining the red carpet on his arrival.
British actress Vanessa Redgrave received a standing ovation when she received the Academy fellowship, the highest accolade from the British Academy for contribution to film.
She follows industry heavyweights who have previously received the award, including Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcok and Steven Spielberg.