Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” stormed the BAFTAs on Sunday, winning six awards, including best film and director.
Bigelow is the first woman to be awarded the BAFTA director nod, and the night was a triumph for her movie, which portrays elite soldiers tasked with defusing bombs in the heat of combat.
Collecting her best film award from Dustin Hoffman, the helmer said it was “beyond our wildest imagination.”
“This is so unbelievable, we’re just so deeply honored and humbled,” she said.
In a night of surprises that saw James Cameron’s “Avatar” shut out of the main categories (it drew just two awards, both in technical categories), Colin Firth took the actor nod for Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” while fellow Brit thesp Carey Mulligan took home actress kudos for Lone Scherfig’s “An Education.”
Pixar-Disney’s “Up” won for animated film and music, Jacques Audiard’s “Un Prophete” for foreign film.
U.K. distrib Optimum Releasing was the big winner of the night, representing both “The Hurt Locker” and “Un Prophete.”
The three-hour ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House saw a plethora of celebs and film execs walk the red carpet, including Disney Studios topper Rich Ross, “Inglourious Basterds” helmer Quentin Tarantino and thesp Kate Winslet.
Expectations of a close race between former husband and wife Cameron and Bigelow were overturned as Bigelow’s Iraq drama scored a clutch of early wins that set the night up for the big wins in the top two categories.
Besides pic and director, “Hurt Locker” scored BAFTAs for original screenplay for Mark Boal, cinematography (Barry Ackroyd), editing (Bob Murawski, Chris Innis) and sound (Ray Beckett, Paul N.J. Ottosson).
Firth scored laughs from the glitzy audience, which included new BAFTA prexy Prince William, by revealing that he’d been seconds away from emailing designer-turned-helmer Ford to reject the lead role in “A Single Man” before being interrupted by a refrigerator repairman.
British film kudos went to Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” and the Brit directing nod went to Duncan Jones for “Moon.”
Following their win Saturday at the WGA Awards in the same category, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner picked up the adapted screenplay award for “Up in the Air.”
Supporting actor and actress kudos went to the usual suspects: Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds” and Mo’Nique for “Precious.”
Vanessa Redgrave received the lifetime BAFTA Fellowship award, making an emotional speech that recalled her family’s long history on stage and screen. “You’ve done me in,” said a visibly emotional Redgrave.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
And the winners are:
“The Hurt Locker” – Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
“Fish Tank” – Kees Kasander, Nick Laws, Andrea Arnold
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
Duncan Jones Director – “Moon”
“The Hurt Locker” – Kathryn Bigelow
“The Hurt Locker” – Mark Boal
“Up In The Air” – Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
“A Prophet” – Pascal Caucheteux, Marco Cherqui, Alix Raynaud, Jacques Audiard
Up” – Pete Docter
Colin Firth – “A Single Man”
Carey Mulligan – “An Education”
Christoph Waltz – “Inglourious Basterds”
Mo’Nique – “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”
“Up” – Michael Giacchino
“The Hurt Locker” – Barry Ackroyd
“The Hurt Locker” – Bob Murawski, Chris Innis
“Avatar” – Rick Carter, Robert Stromberg, Kim Sinclair
“The Young Victoria” – Sandy Powell
“The Hurt Locker” – Ray Beckett, Paul N. J. Ottosson
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
“Avatar” – Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones
MAKE UP & HAIR
“The Young Victoria” – Jenny Shircore
“Mother Of Many” – Sally Arthur, Emma Lazenby
“I Do Air” – James Bolton, Martina Amati
THE ORANGE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA