The unofficial dress code Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards was black as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took the top award of the night.
Many female guests such as Lupita Nyong’o, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Margot Robbie eschewed colour on the red carpet at London’s Royal Albert Hall to show support for the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and gender inequality.
Kristin Scott Thomas, a supporting actress nominee for Darkest Hour, says she is pleased by the conversation the entertainment industry is having about misconduct, but thinks a tougher task will be “moving it from conversation to action.”
Inside, revenge comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was named best film of the year and outstanding British film. The movie — which has a U.S. cast but a British producer and director — took the trophy at a ceremony dominated by the movement against sexual misconduct and inequality in the entertainment industry.
Producer Graham Broadbent said the movie about a bereaved mother seeking justice is “the story of a woman taking on the establishment and status quo. It seems more timely now than we could ever have imagined.”
Frances McDormand won best actress for her role as a bereaved mother in the film and co-star Sam Rockwell won for supporting actor. Three Billboards also won for original screenplay (Martin McDonagh).
Almost 200 British female entertainment stars called for an international movement to end sexual misconduct across society in a letter published ahead of the awards.
Kate Winslet, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson and Gemma Arterton are among those saying that 2018 should be “the year that time was up on sexual harassment and abuse.”
Announcing a fund to support women and men battling workplace abuse — modelled on the Time’s Up movement in the U.S. — the stars said “with our collective power, we can galvanize others.”
Former Harry Potter star Watson has given the fund £1 million pounds ($1.8 million CDN), according to its page on the Go Fund Me website. Keira Knightley and Tom Hiddleston are each listed as having given 10,000 pounds ($17,600).
Feminist activists and anti-violence campaigners also attended the red carpet.
Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse have been levelled at scores of entertainment figures since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.
The issue has crossed the Atlantic, where the Old Vic Theatre has been rocked by allegations against former artistic director Kevin Spacey. London police are also investigating nine claims of sexual assault by Weinstein.
In a letter published in The Observer newspaper, 190 female stars called for an end to impunity for abusers and said “this movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone.”
“We believe we need to use our power as communicators and connectors to shift the way society sees and treats us,” they said. “We need to examine the kind of womanhood our industry promotes and sells to the world.”
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were also in attendance — and Kate wore a dark green dress with a black belt. Her choice found a middle way between making a political statement — something the Royal Family scrupulously avoids — and ignoring the gesture altogether.
Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley hosted the awards ceremony.
Gary Oldman took home the leading actor trophy for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. I, Tonya‘s Allison Janney won the award for supporting actress.
Guillermo del Toro won best director for The Shape of Water, which was filmed in Toronto. Blade Runner 2049, directed by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, won two awards: cinematography and visual effects.
Ridley Scott, whose films include Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma and Louise and Gladiator, received the academy’s highest honour, the BAFTA Fellowship.
The British trophies, known as BAFTAs, are considered a key indicator of likely success at Hollywood’s Oscars in two weeks’ time.