The 2021 British Academy Film Awards were held across two nights on 10 and 11 April at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The first night was hosted by Clara Amfo, while the second was hosted by Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all nominees attended the ceremony virtually alongside a virtual crowd, as has been the case with other major award shows this year.
The ceremony began with a tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who served as the first president of BAFTA from 1959 - 1966. Edith Bowman said the Duke ‘occupies a very special place in BAFTA’s history, and our thoughts are with the Royal Family’.
The critically acclaimed Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao and starring Frances McDormand, claimed top honours at the ceremony as it won for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Cinematography. McDormand stars as Fern, a woman who decides to leave her hometown after her husband’s death to travel around the USA. Zhao’s accolade of Best Director marks only the second instance in the history of the BAFTAs that a female director has won the award after Kathryn Bigelow did so in 2010 for The Hurt Locker. Zhao also became the first woman of colour to pick up the award. Nomadland will be released in the UK on Disney+ under its Star content banner on 30 April 2021.
Anthony Hopkins won the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Anthony in Florian Zeller’s The Father, a drama that follows Hopkins’s character as he struggles with progressive memory loss. Based on Zeller’s 2012 play, Le Père, the film also won the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hopkins is now the oldest actor to receive the award.
For his portrayal of Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya won the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The film focuses on the betrayal of Hampton, who was the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, by William O’Neal, an FBI informant. Youn Yuh-Jong won the BAFTA for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Soon-ja in Minari, which chronicles the experiences of a family of South Korean immigrants who move to the United States in the 1980s.
Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman also received praise on the night as it won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film and Best Original Screenplay. The black comedy thriller stars Carey Mulligan as a woman who sets out to avenge the death of her friend, who was a victim of rape.
For the full list of winners at the 2021 British Academy Film Awards, click here!
To watch both nights of the BAFTA ceremonies on BBC iPlayer, click here!