Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won big last night at the BAFTAs at the famous Royal Albert Hall. The dark comedy led the awards with five awards, including Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Frances McDormand also won Best Actress for her portrayal of an embattled mother bent on vengeance. Sam Rockwell picked up unlikely recognition, winning Best Supporting Actor for his role as a tortured, conflicted cop with a dubious past who evolves through the film through the pressure of his conscience and acknowledgement of his potential. The success of Three Billboards, a film based on a strong female character standing up for justice after the rape and murder of her daughter, stands out in an industry reeling from sexual harassment and abuse allegations against some of its most powerful figures.
Gary Oldman, as anticipated, won Best Actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, strengthening the odds of him picking up his first Oscar. Daniel Kaluuya broke out with the Rising Star Award for his role in Get Out, and thanked the public arts funding within the United Kingdom which allowed him to develop in his speech.
Guillermo Del Toro came out with the awards for Best Director, Best Original Music, and Best Production Design for his fantastical The Shape of Water. While the accolades indicate Del Toro’s mastery of concept and the creation of a beautiful end product, the film was tipped to win further honors, and its underperformance at the BAFTAs may indicate a slow showing at the Oscars as well.
In accordance with entertainment industry trends, almost all the stars in attendance wore black in solidarity for victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood. Some chose to bring activists for issues ranging from racism to women’s rights, using the platform for the opportunity to promote social awareness. Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, drew ire from some for breaking with the palette, appearing in a dark green dress. However, the Royal Family usually stays away from strong political statements, and her choice of color did not take away from the strength of the message sent out by the uniformity of the rest of the attendees.