“Joker,” meanwhile, which went into the BAFTAs with the most nominations, 11, won three awards including best actor for Joaquin Phoenix. “Parasite” picked up two awards, for original screenplay and film not in the English language.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” which had 10 noms in total, emerged empty handed. Among other awards favorites, “Marriage Story,” “Bombshell,” “JoJo Rabbit,” “Little Women” and “Ford v Ferrari” won one prize each.
“1917,” with nine nominations in all, took the first award of the evening, the outstanding British film award, where it was the clear favorite in the category against fellow nominees “Bait,” “For Sama,” “Rocketman,” “Sorry We Missed You,” and “The Two Popes.”
“1917,” which has has struck a resounding chord at the box office, taking over $207 million worldwide to date, went on to scoop key craft prizes: sound, production design, special visual effects, and cinematography.
As widely expected, “1917” triumphed in the cinematography category for DoP Roger Deakins, who boasts 10 previous BAFTA nominations and has won before for “Blade Runner 2049,” “True Grit,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” taking the prize.
Mendes then won the prestigious director award, the first time he has won the prize. He previously won a BAFTA for best British film in 2013 for “Skyfall.”
The only British contender in the best film lineup, “1917” triumphed in the final category of the evening against “The Irishman,” “Joker,” “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” and “Parasite.”
Speaking in the winners’ room, Mendes thanked the awards season for helping to bring “1917” to audiences as the film continues its reign on the top of the UK box office.
“There has been wonderful timing with all these awards that has really alerted people to the movie and they see it in cinemas. We’re enjoying every moment.”
A running theme of the evening was diversity, or the lack of it in the BAFTA awards, with the British Academy incurring heavy criticism on the issue. Among the 20 major acting nominations there were no actors of color. Referring to the criticism in his opening speech, host Graham Norton joked that 2019 was the year “when white men finally broke through” in cinema.
The best director category was once again female free, featuring Sam Mendes, Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Quentin Tarantino and Bong Joon Ho. Rebel Wilson brought attention to this fact when presenting the best director category. “I don’t think I could do what they do, honestly. I just don’t have the balls,” she said, to widespread laughter.
Joaquin Phoenix, who won the leading actor prize for his role in “Joker,” used his time on the podium to deliver a powerful speech, accusing the industry of sending out “a clear message to people of color that you are not welcome here.”
“I think it is the obligation of the people who created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to dismantle it, so that is on us,” said Phoenix.
Prince William, who presented this year’s BAFTA Fellowship to Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy, also addressed the issue.
“We find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to address diversity in the sector. That cannot be right in this day and age.”
Todd Phillips’ “Joker” won another two prizes in the evening, original score for Hildur Guanadottir, and the inaugural casting BAFTA award for Shayana Markowitz.
“Parasite,” writer-director Bong Joon Ho’s black comedy about a poor family’s attempts to insinuate itself into the lives of its rich employers, won the original screenplay award. The South Korean director expressed his surprise at winning, thanking BAFTA for recognizing a script that is written in a foreign language.
“Parasite” also won the film not in the English language category award, where it had widely been seen as the favorite.
Renée Zellweger won the leading actress award for Judy Garland biopic “Judy.” It’s third time lucky for Zellweger in the best actress category, following noms for “Chicago” and “Bridget Jones.” She previously won a BAFTA for best supporting actress for “Cold Mountain.”
In the supporting acting categories, Brad Pitt won the supporting actor award for “Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.” Pitt, who has six previous BAFTA noms to his name and one win for “12 Years a Slave,” was not able to make the ceremony, with Margot Robbie picking up the prize on his behalf. In a reference to the U.K. leaving the European union on Friday night, Pitt said — in a written note read by Robbie — “Hey Brits, heard you just got single. Welcome to the club!”
Laura Dern converted her debut BAFTA nomination into a win, picking up the best supporting actress prize for “Marriage Story.” Backstage, Dern paid tribute to director Noah Baumbach: “Noah’s screenplay was truly perfection, every line and stage direction perfectly laid out for the cast and his direction is magnificent.”
“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi’s dark comedy about a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany, picked up the adapted screenplay award.
“Little Women,” director Greta Gerwig’s version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic book, won the costume design award. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran has previous BAFTAs for her work on “Anna Karenina” and “Vera Drake.”
“Klaus,” Sergio Pablos’s animated Santa story, took the animated film prize, the second award of the evening.
“Bombshell,” Jay Roach’s based-on-a-true-story dramatization of sexual harassment at Fox News, won the make up and hair category.
“Le Mans 66″ (“Ford v Ferrari”) James Mangold’s motor-racing movie, triumphed in the editing category, with the prize going to Andrew Buckland and Michael McCusker.
“Bait,” Cornish writer/director Mark Jenkins’s black and white film about the tensions between locals and tourists in a once-thriving fishing village, won the outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer, for Jenkins and producers Kate Byers and Linn Waite.
“For Sama,” the acclaimed and harrowing story of young mother Waad al-Kateab’s life through five years of the Syrian uprising in Aleppo, was the victor in the documentary category. Al-Kateab, who took to the stage with her daughter Sam and her doctor husband who appear in the documentary, dedicated the film “to the great Syrian people who are still suffering,” singling out the doctors, medics and volunteers helping civilians trapped in Civil War.
Iranian-British director Maryam Mohajer’s “Grandad Was A Romantic” triumphed in the British short animation section. Mohajer dedicated the prize to the people of Iran, saying “they deserve better.”
The 15th EE Rising Star Award, which is voted for by the public, went to Micheal Ward, whose credits include “Top Boy” and “Blue Story.” The prestigious award has previously been won by Eva Green, Tom Hardy and John Boyega. Accepting the award, an emotional Ward said: “You have to seek the opportunities and see a vision.”
Backstage, Ward was asked about diversity in the industry. “We are going in the right direction, I feel a lot of people don’t realize there are opportunities,” he said. “That’s what I want to show, show there are opportunities.”
The British short film award went to Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva’s “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl).”
Lucasfilm president Kennedy was honored this year with the BAFTA Fellowship and actor, director and motion capture pioneer Andy Serkis received the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award.
The ceremony, which took place at London’s Royal Albert Hall, was hosted by Graham Norton for the first time. Best known as the host of the U.K.’s leading late-night chatshow, broadcast on Friday nights, Norton took over from Joanna Lumley, who hosted for two years following the departure of longtime emcee Stephen Fry.
Last year “The Favourite” dominated with seven awards, while Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” won four including best film.
Rebecca Lewis contributed to this report.
FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
1917 Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Sam Mendes, Jayne-Ann Tenggren
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
1917 Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Callum McDougall, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
BAIT Mark Jenkin (Writer/Director), Kate Byers, Linn Waite (Producers)
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
PARASITE Bong Joon-ho
FOR SAMA Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts
KLAUS Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh
1917 Sam Mendes
PARASITE Han Jin Won, Bong Joon-ho
JOJO RABBIT Taika Waititi
RENÉE ZELLWEGER Judy
JOAQUIN PHOENIX Joker
LAURA DERN Marriage Story
BRAD PITT Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
JOKER Hildur Guđnadóttir
JOKER Shayna Markowitz
1917 Roger Deakins
FORD V FERRARI Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker
1917 Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales
LITTLE WOMEN Jacqueline Durran
MAKE UP & HAIR
BOMBSHELL Vivian Baker, Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan
1917 Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor, Stuart Wilson
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
1917 Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
GRANDAD WAS A ROMANTIC. Maryam Mohajer
BRITISH SHORT FILM
LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) Carol Dysinger, Elena Andreicheva
EE RISING STAR AWARD