To get you in the mood for the 65th Bafta Film Awards this evening on BBC1, here are ten vital statistics from the ceremony’s history…
1…red carpet ceremony hosted by a Muppet.
Miss Piggy, who’s fronting the prelude to tonight’s gala event, will be the first red carpet host from Jim Henson’s workshop in the history of the Awards. Mind you, it’s not the first show she’s guest-hosted, the porcine puppet having previously overseen the Halloween Special edition of WWE Raw in 2011.
Bafta used to reward the best screenplay and, patriotically, the best British screenplay. However, both gongs have long since ceased to exist (Bafta dispensed with the former in 1983 and the latter as far back as 1968), though best original screenplay and adapted screenplay are rewarded today in their place.
5…presidents in the history of the organisation.
Far from being the concern of obscure film industry wonks, Bafta has been presided over by this country’s highest nobility since the early days of its existence. Prince Philip was its head from 1959-1965 before being succeeded by The Earl Mountbatten of Burma in 1966. Following these illustrious leaders came the Princess Royal in 1973, whose reign lasted 28 years. The organisation’s only non-royal president, Baron Attenborough, took over in 2001 and was succeeded by Prince William in 2010.
7…days in UK cinemas.
In order to qualify for nomination, a film must have played for a full week in British theatres.
8…Bafta masks on Woody Allen’s mantelpiece.
The acclaimed director has won more film Baftas than any other individual, picking up gongs for Husbands and Wives, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Manhattan and Annie Hall. In fact, so dear to Bafta is Allen that he was made an Academy Fellow in 1997.
For Meryl Streep, making her the most nominated individual in Bafta history. But despite being shortlisted for so many awards Streep has, alas, only received one Bafta mask, for her role in The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981.
The Awards have been held in no fewer than 15 glamorous locales in Bafta’s history, the most recent venue being the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.
The first Bafta Film Awards, held in 1948, only rewarded best film but the Awards have expanded now to encompass everything from best short animation to make-up & hair.
57…years of the mask.
It’s been more than half a century since the Bafta mask as we know it today was first commissioned from American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe. Interestingly, the Bafta mask has more to it than its polished front face, concealing an electricity symbol around one eye and a screen around the other on its reverse (which you can see here)
A record audience tuned in to watch the ceremony in 2011. Will this year’s festivities capture the public’s imagination in the same way? Only time, and BARB, will tell…