'1917' wins best film and best director at BAFTA awards

Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Jayne-Ann Tenggren pose with their award for Best Film for ‘1917’ alongside Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Mark Strong, Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Andrew Scott at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 2, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – First World War drama “1917” was the big winner at the BAFTAs on Sunday, picking up seven awards including best picture and director for Sam Mendes, the first time he has been honored for direction by the British academy.

The immersive drama was also honored in the outstanding British film, sound, production design, cinematography and special visual effects categories.

Joaquin Phoenix was voted best actor for his critically acclaimed transformation from vulnerable loner into confident villain in “Joker”, one of three wins for the dark comic book origins story.

The actor addressed head on the lack of diversity at Britain’s top movie awards, which had all-white shortlists in the acting categories and an all-male shortlist in direction.

Phoenix said in his acceptance speech the industry was sending a “a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here”, adding it “was on us” to dismantle a system of oppression.

It was a disappointing evening for Netflix’s “The Irishman”, Martin Scorsese’s star-studded gangster drama, which was nominated in 10 categories but left empty handed.

The streaming giant fared better, however, with divorce drama “Marriage Story”, which saw Laura Dern win best supporting actress.

Brad Pitt picked up best supporting actor for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”, the only success for a movie nominated for 10 awards.

Bong Joon Ho’s darkly comic film “Parasite” triumphed for original screenplay and film not in the English language at the ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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