BAFTA Film Awards 2020: The Biggest and Best moments

Cats jokes! Graham Norton jibes! Long, political speeches! This year's BAFTAs had it all - and we were there to catch all the best moments

Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi and Rebel Wilson at the 2020 BAFTAs (Getty)

Just a week out from the Oscars, the 2020 BAFTAs were probably being watched closer than ever – but in a night full of pointed jokes, political speeches and (let’s be honest) some pretty awkward presentations it was far from just the winners and losers making waves at this year’s ceremony.

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Whether it was the regular nods to the #BAFTASoWhite scandal, digs at Todd Philips’ Joker or some… slightly misjudged sex jokes, there were plenty of stand-out moments before and during the star-studded ceremony, and RadioTimes.com was backstage to see it all.

These were just a few of our favourite moments – some of which you might not have seen make it to air…

Cuffs Out

While we don’t normally delve too far into red carpet fashion here on RadioTimes.com, we couldn’t help but direct your attention to Knives Out director Rian Johnson’s appropriately blade-themed choice of cufflinks ahead of the awards ceremony.

Lookin’ sharp, Rian… literally.

BAFTAs just do nothing

In a riff on a similar British Airways video, People Just Do Nothing’s Asim Chaudry opened the night by auditioning people to do the introductory voiceover for the evening’s festivities – and also offering some wry commentary on the #BAFTASoWhite controversy.

“If you do need any more brown guys for your films, just contact my agent. It’s Laurence Fox,” he told 1917 director Sam Mendes, before telling Jojo Rabbit’s Roman Griffin Davis “Tell Adolf I said hello.”

“#BAFTAsSoWhite,” he concluded.

Golden Graham

EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 - VIP Arrivals

This year saw the Film Awards welcomed a new host in the form of comedian Graham Norton, who followed in the footsteps of Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry to deliver an opening speech full of one-liners.

“I’m a chatshow host, which means I have never seen a film I didn’t really enjoy,” he quipped, adding that “There’s more than one Irishman here tonight who’s used to going on and on.”

However, not everyone was a fan of Norton’s bon mots, with Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix looking less than impressed when the chat show host turned his fire on his film Joker.

“What a year in film – I think it’ll be remembered as the year white men in film finally broke through. We did it!” Norton said, adding that Joker in particular was “the story of a white man who makes himself even whiter”

Cut to Joaquin Phoenix looking pretty unhappy… oh dear. No wonder that was cut from the TV broadcast.

Cue Aisling Bea and Asim Chaudry

EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 - Winners Room

While some of the award presenters’ comedy “buts” were more toe-curling than rib-tickling, comedians Aisling Bea and Asim Chaudry found a pretty novel way of undercutting the awkwardness – intentionally messing up their reading of the autocue, talking over each other and finishing each other’s sentences.

“Together at the same time… the winner is” …well, we’d give it to these two.

Take two 

And of course this wasn’t the only meta moment during the ceremony, with 1917 stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman forced into a long, sweeping single take as they approached the podium to present an award.

“So are we still doing this one continuous take thing from the film?” MacKay asked, before entreating director Sam Mendes to give them a break.

“Sam, can we cut?”

Taika Waititi cuts loose

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While there weren’t too many Brexit references during the ceremony, Jojo Rabbit writer/director Taika Waititi couldn’t help adding a little dig when he accepted his Best Adapted screenplay award, noting that he knew Britain had faced a difficult week and could empathise coming from former British colony New Zealand.

Picking up his award, he added: “It’s very nice to take a little bit of your gold back home, where it belongs.”

Backstage, though, Waititi said he wouldn’t bring up Britain’s colonial past with Prince William if he ran into him later. “It wasn’t him!” he pointed out.

A quick Pitt stop

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star in ONCE UPON TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt star in ONCE UPON TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

Despite not actually turning up, Best Supporting Actor winner Brad Pitt had one of the funnier speeches of the night, which was read out by Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood co-star Margot Robbie).

“Hey Britain, heard you just became single – welcome to the club!” he wrote, before taking another little dig at the locals.

“He’s gonna name this Harry, because he’s really excited about bringing this back to the States with him,” Robbie said.

First Brexit, now Megxit! Wonder what guests of honour Prince William and Kate Middleton thought about it all…

The perfect presenters?

Bilingual actress Zazie Beetz was the perfect presenter for Best Film Not in the English Language – but why pair her up with Line of Duty and The Irishman’s Stephen Graham? Well, the man himself had an explanation.

“Being from Liverpool, I understand how hard it is for people to understand what you’re saying even when you’re speaking English,” he said to wide laughter.

“I am a Scouser!”

An emotional acceptance

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Accepting his public-voted EE Rising Star award, a visibly emotional Michael Ward (Top Boy, Blue Story) had a message for those watching at home.

“I want to say thank you to Top Boy, which changed my life forever,” he said, adding that he “wouldn’t be here” without recent release Blue Story.

“For people who are sitting at home, watching me, honestly life didn’t have to be this way – you have to see an opportunity and see a vision,” he told them.

And backstage, Ward had another loaded confession – despite desperately wanting to chat to The Irishman‘s Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, but ended up being too nervous. See, even BAFTA-winners can still get starstruck. They’re just like us!

Rebel Rebel

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-AWARDS-BAFTA

While not every presenter won the crowd round, Cats star Rebel Wilson soon had them eating out of the palm of her hand in a barnstorming speech that poked fun at her own critically-derided movie.

“This year you’re all getting a gifting wallet – which is coincidentally the nickname for my vagina,” she said, after bemoaning this year’s “sustainable” BAFTAs. “So maybe I will win Best Original Score at the afterparty tonight.”

Adding that she’d sustainably made her dress from two old ones, Wilson explained that the red half was when she didn’t win Miss Australia.

Meanwhile, “The black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats,” she joked.

“Cats. Strangely not nominated for any awards. I’m not sure if everyone here is across the controversy, but this year there has been a distinct lack of nominations for felines.

“But at least I get to hold this BAFTA for a moment, and wow – what a great way to stop yourself getting coronavirus,” she continued, holding it in front of her face.

Listing the best director nominees, Wilson then hinted at the controversy over female directors like Greta Gerwig getting shut out of the category.

“I don’t think I could do what they do – honestly, I don’t have the balls,” she said.

Rebel by name, rebel by nature…


Joaquin the Line

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-AWARDS-BAFTA

After (unsurprisingly) winning the Best Actor award, Joker’s Joaquin Phoenix made a powerful statement about the lack of diversity in the nominees (this year, no non-white actors were nominated).

“I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors who are deserving don’t have that same privilege,” adding that he felt they were “sending a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here.”

“I’m part of the problem,” he continued. “I’ve not done everything in my power to make sure the sets that I work on are inclusive.

“We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism,” he concluded.

“It is the obligation of the people who have created and benefit from the system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it. So that’s on us.”

Cue rapturous applause.

Bridget Jones reunited

Hugh Grant and Renée Zellweger at the 2020 film BAFTAs (Getty)
Hugh Grant and Renée Zellweger at the 2020 film BAFTAs (Getty)

After some pretty heavy speeches, we all needed some light relief. Luckily, Hugh Grant was in attendance – and at the end of the night, Renée Zellweger’s win for Best Actress only got better when Best Picture presenter Grant arrived for the next segment.

“First of all, well done Jones,” he said. “That was a very very silly little dress I thought.”

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Sounds like Bridget Jones 4 is officially a go! You heard it here first – and tune in for the 2022 BAFTAs to see it completely sweep the board.