You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trophy gets classical makeover

Tribe's new design features a seated Lady Britannia

The British Academy of Film & Television Arts/LA’s Britannia Award trophies sport a new design this year. It’s a transformation that did not come easily.

Originally, the Britannia was a crystal plaque that was redesigned by BAFTA/LA governor Arnold Schwartzman into a bowl featuring a mirror image of Lady Britannia facing herself. The early bowls were made from slate, which proved too delicate, so Schwartzman revamped them in titanium.

That change presented its own problems. When Prince Andrew presented a titanium Britannia to Steven Spielberg, Spielberg made headlines by reportedly saying, “This must be the heaviest award any member of the British royal family has ever had to present.” Schwartzman quickly ditched titanium for English oak and bronze.

Next, the bowl’s mirror image was reconsidered. “It was great if you understood what you were looking at, but it wasn’t really appreciated by an American audience,” says BAFTA/LA executive director Donald Haber. “It was a lovely design, but just a bit too esoteric.”

So Schwartzman, a designer himself, had two artists submit proposals and with the board’s approval chose British sculptor John Tribe’s design of a seated classical Lady Britannia.

The statuette is made from Britannia silver, which Schwartzman says is “the purest and most expensive type of silver,” making the award more expensive to produce than the Oscar, whose design hasn’t changed since its base was remodeled in 1945. “It’s still sort of heavy,” Schwartzman admits, “but probably not as heavy as my original titanium award.”

More Film

  • Boots Riley arrives at the 34th

    Boots Riley: Spike Lee Yelled at Me After 'BlacKkKlansman' Criticism, But We're Good Now

    “Sorry to Bother You” director and musician Boots Riley, who wrote a scathing criticism of Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” for its positive representation of law enforcement, said that he and the “Do the Right Thing” auteur are good now. But it took some time (and drama) to get there. Last year, Riley called Lee’s Oscar-nominated “BlacKkKlansman” [...]

  • Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right)

    Read Variety's 1957 Review of 'Green Book' Pianist Don Shirley

    “Green Book” viewers who are not totally versed in the ways of ’50s and ’60s jazz may come away from the heavily Oscar-nominated movie wondering just how well known and respected the film’s central musical figure, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), really was in his heyday. The answer: revered enough to have picked up [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Takes Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content