The British film industry’s most glamorous night is nearly upon us.
After the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, Hollywood’s biggest names will be jetting across the Atlantic for the Baftas.
Honouring outstanding achievement in film over the past 12 months, the ceremony is an important pit stop on any awards season campaign – as well as a good excuse for a party… and some acerbic one-liners from new host Graham Norton.
With their uniquely British sensibility – and equally British weather conditions – the awards have had their fair share of iconic celebrity moments, from awkward gaffes to headline-grabbing protests.
Ahead of the 2020 event, we’ve looked back on ceremonies past to bring you some of the best Bafta talking points of all time…
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s heartwarming reunion (2016)
Since meeting on the set of Titanic, Jack and Rose, sorry, DiCaprio and Winslet have forged one of Hollywood’s most enduring friendships In 2016, the stars aligned to give us an awards season filled with charming Kate-and-Leo photo opps, with DiCaprio nominated for The Revenant and Winslet for Steve Jobs.
This year’s awards circuit was eventually more successful for DiCaprio, who went on to land his first ever Oscar, but both pals picked up awards at the Baftas – cue another heartwarming reunion backstage, complete with trophies, where DiCaprio described Winslet as his “homegirl.”
Our hearts will go on and on.
Meryl Streep loses her shoe (2011)
In a moment straight out of a Richard Curtis ensemble dramedy, Streep lost her high heel as she made her way up the stairs to accept her second Best Actress Bafta.
Putting decades of experience playing romantic leads to good use, presenter Colin Firth immediately dashed across stage to collect the errant sandal and helped her back into her shoe.
Babe the pig heads to the Baftas (1996)
The MVP of the 1996 Bafta ceremony was undoubtedly Babe the pig. The porcine star had their very own seat (and handler) at the show, although sadly they didn’t prove a good luck charm for the film, which was nominated for four awards (including Best Film) but failed to land a single win.
That’ll do pig, indeed.
Leonardo DiCaprio kisses Dame Maggie Smith (2016)
2016 saw the Baftas fall on February 14 and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, host Stephen Fry decided to embrace a great American tradition, the kiss cam, which is more commonly seen at sports games than awards dos.
The camera first landed on Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander – who refused to take part, prompting the BBC to cut the awkward footage when the ceremony was broadcast that evening. Stanley Tucci and Cuba Gooding Jr, however, were game – but the best moment came when Fry’s kiss cam picked out Dame Maggie and DiCaprio, who kissed not once but twice.
“Well that’s a marriage made in heaven if ever there were one,” Fry concluded, presumably fighting the urge to crack the obvious joke about DiCaprio and age gaps.
Tinie Tempah high fives Prince William (2014)
As Prince William is Bafta’s President, the annual ceremony is one of those rare occasions where we get to see celebrities and royals interact in the wild. In 2014, Tinie Tempah kicked off the event by duetting with Laura Mvula – but it was his decision to greet the future King with a protocol-flouting high five during the performance that dominated headlines.
The Duke of Cambridge didn’t respond too awkwardly to Tinie’s greeting and the rapper later explained that he felt “safe” pulling the stunt as he’d met the royal “a couple of times” before.
Stephen Fry’s controversial ‘bag lady’ joke (2016)
Host Stephen Fry was criticised when he likened costume designer Jenny Beavan – who was dressed in trousers, a leather jacket and a scarf – to a “bag lady” after she received an award for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road.
Twitter users branded the quip offensive – and failed to note that the remark was intended as more of an in-joke between friends than a personal attack.
Before briefly leaving the social media platform over the criticism, Fry noted that Beavan (who he worked with on Gosford Park and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows) is a “dear friend” who “got” the tone of the remark.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s his-and-hers tuxedos (2014)
Pitt and first wife Jennifer Aniston’s SAGs reunion has been the pinnacle of this year’s awards season, but rewind a few years and it was Brangelina’s his-and-hers Bafta look that we couldn’t stop thinking about.
Attending to support eventual Best Film winner 12 Years A Slave, which was produced by Pitt’s company Plan B, the couple twinned in tuxedos, with Jolie in androgynous Saint Laurent and her then-fiance in Valentino. Are we allowed to say we miss them? Because we do.
John Boyega receives the Rising Star award (2016)
Fresh from the all-out charm offensive that was the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press tour, it wasn’t exactly a surprise when John Boyega was announced as 2016’s Rising Star – but that didn’t make his ensuing acceptance speech any less powerful.
Thanking God “first and foremost,” Boyega went on to dedicate his win to “all the young dreamers who are determined, who are hard working and who are, quite frankly amazing.”
It’s fair to say that he’s lived up to the award’s promise since – and it’s surely only a matter of time before he’s nominated for a second Bafta.
Actresses stage first UK Time’s Up protest (2018)
In the autumn of 2017, scores of stars came forward with stories of sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood, sending shockwaves through the industry – and eventually prompting actresses to band together in the Time’s Up movement.
Mirroring a similar protest at the Golden Globes earlier that awards season, women dressed all in black for the 2018 Baftas, with some bringing activists as their plus ones.
Gemma Arterton attended with Ellen Pullen and Gwen Davis, who were among the women who fought for equal pay while working at Ford’s Dagenham plant in the ’60s, while Naomie Harris attended with author Afua Hirsch.
Prince William presents an honour to ‘Granny’ Helen Mirren (2014)
Again proving himself to be a good sport, the Duke of Cambridge introduced Dame Helen Mirren as “an extremely talented British actress I should probably call Granny” when presenting her with the Bafta Fellowship in a nod to her (Bafta-winning) performance as the Queen in Peter Morgan’s 2006 film.
What are the chances he recycles the same joke when he next bumps into Claire Foy or Olivia Colman?
Audrey Hepburn receives Bafta’s Special Award
Three-time Best Actress winner Hepburn became one of the few recipients of Bafta’s special award in 1992. Ever gracious and self-deprecating, the then-62-year-old used her charming acceptance speech to emphasise all the help she had throughout her film career from “the greatest directors, the best writers, the most marvellous stars, glorious photography, terrific scores, super clothes and the finest technicians in the business.”
Timothee Chalamet helps James Ivory on stage (2018)
One of the sweetest moments of the 2018 ceremony came when James Ivory, the then-89-year-old screenwriter of Call Me By Your Name, started to make his way onto the stage to receive his Best Adapted Screenplay trophy. Before he tackled the stairs, the film’s breakout star (and Best Actor nominee) Chalamet leapt up to help support him.
Ivory later wore his appreciation for Chalamet (almost literally) on his sleeve at the Oscars, when he donned a shirt with the actor’s face painted on it.