The BAFTA Awards weekend in London started early Thursday (Feb. 15) when the fourth annual Newport Beach U.K. Honours evening, which packed the ballroom of the Rosewood Hotel with celebrants, luminaries and awards season contenders. Industry leaders on hand to be feted in the celebration of U.K. film creative talent included Sir Patrick Stewart, Gurinder Chadha, Jason Isaacs, Mark Gatiss, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Celia Imrie, Andy Serkis, Eleanor Tomlinson and Simon Pegg.
Stewart drew laughs early with his topical observations about the Newport Beach enclave’s location inside California’s Orange County which he quipped, “was formerly a known bastion of conservative politics.” The “Star Trek” and “X-Men” star also made a plug for “X-Men” spinoff “Logan’s” contention in the Oscar best screenplay race.
“The voting is still open, so you still have a chance to recognize the film,” he said.
In his speech, Pegg waggishly made mention of his gratitude to his wife, who he explained, “I know truly loves me because she was with me when I was a fat stoner and has stood by me as I’ve become a pretentious twat.”
The Oscar best picture nominee “Darkest Hour” was given the Outstanding Achievement in Global Cinema award, with screenwriter Anthony McCarten among those on hand to receive the honor.
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Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos presented the global news org’s annual 10 Brits to Watch, with several of that new talent showcase’s brightest stars in attendance. Up and coming Scottish rock band Dancing on Tables joined Brit actors Anya Taylor-Joy (“Split”) and Edward Holcroft (“Kingsman”), Welsh thesp Annes Elwy, and writer-director Rungano Nyoni.
Other kudos presented included Arts Champion honorees Film 4, Equity UK and the Liverpool Film Office.