One of my favourite parts of the BAFTAs is the Red Carpet arrivals – the way different on and off-screen talent chart their course into the venue would make a great subject for academic study.
Having enjoyed a carpet-side berth for a few years now I’ve largely broken attendees into three groups.
First there’s the dashers – this group speeds along the carpet as quickly as possible, ignoring the calls of both the fans who’ve queued for hours for a chance to see their favourite talent and most if not all of the assembled media.
Then there’s the snapper pleasers – like the dashers they tend to ignore the fans but happily pose in front of the professional photographers in the hope of making it into someone’s feature article. They might also stop and answer a few questions from broadcast media, before dashing inside.
And then there’s my favourite group – the selfie squad, true crowd-pleasing performers who appreciate that their success ultimately stems from the fans who pay to see their work and who stop, sign the array of magazines, DVD covers and photos shoved in their direction (some of which might not be headed for ebay) and pose for selfie after selfie.
This year British actor Nicholas Hoult set what must be a new BAFTA record for the number of fans he posed with – by my count he spent about 4-5 minutes (an eternity in Red Carpet time when minders and PRs and organisers are trying to rush attendees along the route) being snapped by a very vocal group of fans.
Only Hollywood legend Willem Dafoe seemed to come close to matching Hoult’s determination not to disappoint the crowds.
Having watched all the red carpet arrivals I was, for the first time ever, able to watch the ceremony live from inside the main auditorium, courtesy of headline sponsors EE.
As well as sponsoring the awards, EE also sponsors the Rising Star award recognising emerging young talent.
It’s long been one of my favourite awards of the night both because the winner is voted for by the public, giving it a connection to cinema-going audiences other gongs lack, but also because of the often very raw and impassioned acceptance speeches, a tradition this year’s winner Daniel Kaluuya kept up with an emotional dedication of his award to his mum.
Kaluuya takes his place in a line-up of past winners that includes Tom Holland, Jack O’Connell, Will Poulter, Tom Hardy, Kristen Stewart, Noel Clarke, Eva Green and James McAvoy.
Each has gone on to enjoy some incredible success proving, as award co-presenter Octavia Spencer remarked, that the British public would make great casting directors.
My other favourite award of the night was the recognition of Sir Ridley Scott – a genuine legend of modern cinema.
Scott’s acceptance speech included a honest appraisal of his own academic low achievement and credited much of his future success on the interest shown in him by teachers at the then West Hartlepool College of Art.
“It’s extraordinary what a teacher can do,” he said.
“Drawing the student out, igniting independence and encouraging them to design their own future, rather than waiting for something to happen.
“Teaching is the most important of all professions. Sort that out and social problems will get sorted out.”
It’s impossible to disagree with those sentiments.
If you missed the speech, the BBC have made the whole thing available on YouTube: