Los Angeles was looking decidedly British on Saturday afternoon, with an uncharacteristic downpour serving as the chilly backdrop for BAFTA/LA’s annual awards season Tea Party. No strangers to drizzle, U.K. thesps were out in full force along with a host of Golden Globe and BAFTA nominees, who filled the expansive ballroom at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills to sup on a spread of scones, sandwiches, roast beef and Yorkshire Puddings, along with champagne, cocktails and the titular beverage of choice (as well as the prerequisite coffee for those with less refined palates).
“The Theory of Everything” star Eddie Redmayne — up for lead actor at both the Globes and BAFTAs — admitted that the awards circuit is “pretty new and overwhelming, but fun,” confiding that mingling with his cohorts is a highlight of the season. “With acting, you work quite intensely with people and then you don’t see them for a while. What’s been lovely is seeing friends that I haven’t seen for a wee while and getting to catch up, albeit under fairly extreme circumstances… When we all came over to LA, when you start trying to get work over here, it’s a difficult city to get a handle on, so there’s a band of Brits that tend to stick together, and a lot of us still remember those first days and now we’re pinching ourselves that we’re lucky enough to be here.”
Inside the soiree, Redmayne — cutting a dapper figure in a bright blue suit — was spotted blowing a kiss to fellow lead actor nominee Steve Carell, pausing to giddily shake his hand before being accosted by numerous well-wishers.
Danielle Alexandra, who serves as U.K. Business Ambassador for the Prime Minster for Film and Television, noted that “this is a very British year” in the awards race, since three of the five best actor contenders at the Golden Globes (Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo) and BAFTAs (Redmayne, Cumberbatch and Ralph Fiennes) originate from across the pond. “It’s extremely exciting what’s happening right now… [with] the growth of U.K. business and the amount of U.K. talent that’s crossing between the U.S. and the U.K.; we’ve increased by 1.8 billion dollars of production [with] U.S. companies shooting in the U.K., and we’re likewise donating half of our British talent to live and work in the U.S.,” she enthused.
The influx of British talent to these shores hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Alfred Enoch — star of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” — jokingly confided, “Sometimes I worry if that’s going to make people a bit suspicious, all these British people coming over… I try and fly under the radar because I talk in my American [accent] all the time.”
Enoch’s co-star, Viola Davis, is nominated for lead actress in a TV drama, and he took the opportunity to stump for her in the star’s absence. “I think [Davis’ nomination is] rather important because she’s done some very, very good work, and I feel very proud to have been a part of that and to be working with her, because of the quality of her work and her ability as an actress in general, but also specifically what she’s been doing week in, week out on the show. It’s difficult to do the volume of work we do and keep working to that level.”
The highest-rated new drama of the season, “HTGAWM” left viewers on a killer cliffhanger before its midseason break, and Enoch teased that there are plenty more twists to come when the show returns on Jan. 29: “It’s a really, really interesting position — it’s called ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ and now they have to get away with murder, so it feels to me like a beginning, in a sense. We found out how it all happened and how it came to pass, but now they have to live with this, have to try and move past this, and try and sweep it under the rug. I think the tensions that brings in all of the characters’ lives, with their individual relationships outside of the work group and inside, are really exciting, we’re being given really interesting things to play.”
“Boyhood” star Patricia Arquette — who scored supporting actress nominations at both the Globes and the BAFTAs — observed that she and the rest of the film’s cast have been promoting the pic for over a year now, and admitted that “next year when this is all over, it’s gonna be hard and strange” not to see her co-stars after spending more than twelve years of their lives together over the course of the film’s unprecedented production.
Arquette said that she considers the film both “life-changing and illuminating,” and revealed that the response “Boyhood” has received from audiences and fellow creatives has been especially gratifying: “It’s an incredible thing because I know there’s value in this movie, just as a human being — I’ve never had a movie before where people said ‘we decided not to get divorced after your movie,’ ‘we decided we were going to change our marriage after we saw your movie.’ I’ve had couples say to me, ‘we decided to become parents after we saw your movie,’ or, many, many people, ‘I called my mom and apologized for taking her for granted.’ Yes, there are the awards but there’s also that, and that is incredible. And to be getting awards for a movie that has that content is also incredible … ‘Boyhood’ has broken all the rules of the messaging of what audiences wanna see, and now when [independent filmmakers] talk about more intimate films, producers are actually listening.”
Another star who feels that her life has been changed by her role is “Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez, nominated for lead actress in a TV comedy at Sunday’s Golden Globes. “It feels really good, and now I want to — with my production company — open doors for others and I just want to create more opportunities. And to me what’s beautiful is to start talking about the positives: how great it is that this show has happened, because it just means more people are gonna realize that it’s not that big of a risk. We wanna see ourselves, all ethnicities: Asian-American, Indian-American, we all wanna see ourselves on screen, so it’s empowering.”
One of the first projects on tap for Rodriguez’s production company is another female-driven project — a film she’s creating with “my baby-daddy on the show,” aka “Jane” co-star Justin Baldoni. “It’s a boxing film where I’ll be able to play the lead, because I box — my father was a professional referee for boxing and I grew up boxing — so we’re gonna do a really beautiful story,” she said. “It’s a true story, an amazing boxer that’s currently boxing, one of the champions, and we’ll be doing her biography.”
“Jane the Virgin” scored Globes nominations for Rodriguez and for best TV comedy, earning the first above-the-line awards recognition for The CW in the network’s 10-year history. “It makes you wanna work harder,” the star said of the nod. “I work on Monday, I worked yesterday, always remembering the reason why we’re here is because of the work and how lucky I am to do that. The nomination is awesome; to make history for The CW is awesome; so now we’ve just gotta work really hard to prove that we deserved it.”
While “The Lego Movie” is already a winner in terms of box office haul, writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller aren’t taking anything for granted ahead of Sunday’s Globes ceremony, where their film is up for best animated feature. “I think it’s anybody’s game — there’s only 80-some of those Hollywood Foreign Press people; if you get two or three people going to dinner going ‘I think I’m gonna vote this way,’ it could change the whole thing,” Lord quipped. “We’re very excited, it’s great to be part of that group of movies, it’s great to be back at the Beverly Hilton, because we went there a long time ago to research ’21 Jump Street’ — that’s where the Santa Monica High School Prom was held.”
The duo have plenty of projects in production (including “17 more Lego movies,” Miller joked) but first up to the plate on March 1 is “Last Man on Earth,” a Fox comedy starring Will Forte which is, according to Miller, “like nothing else you’ve seen on television before.”
“Will Forte, our old dear friend, plays the last man on earth, he grows a very big beard… and it’s kind of a wish fulfillment show,” Lord teased. “He gets to move into a really nice house, and do all the depraved things that you would do when no one else is watching.”
As for the much-anticipated sequel to “The Lego Movie,” Lord admitted that their ambition is to “make something that scares all the studios just as much as the first one did, so we’re basically looking to get more ambitious in what the movie’s trying to say and just trying to use it as an opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t get to do without the cover of a big sequel that you have a feeling people are going to see anyway.”
“Fargo’s” Allison Tolman — up for a lead actress Globe in the TV Miniseries or Movie category — gamely showed off the party’s must-have accessory: a leather Mulberry bracelet that could be stamped with letters of a guest’s choosing; naturally, Tolman’s was proudly emblazoned with “Fargo,” which also earned nominations for best TV miniseries or movie; best actor for co-stars Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, and best supporting actor for Colin Hanks.
Among the other revelers were “Into the Woods” stars Anna Kendrick and James Corden, who were spotted talking to “Agent Carter’s” Dominic Cooper; supporting actress nominee Keira Knightley, who was animatedly catching up with “Anna Karenina” co-star Cara Delevingne early in the afternoon; and “Gone Girl” contender Rosamund Pike, who was deep in discussion with Kendrick and Edgar Wright as the party wore on.