Rebel Wilson, one of the BAFTA Awards’ most memorable presenters in past years, did not disappoint as its host.
The “Pitch Perfect” actor stole the show on Sunday during the first BAFTA Awards to take place in-person since the organizations’s groundbreaking 2020 diversity review.
Wilson presented the best director award at the ceremony in 2020 and brought the house down with a gag-filled speech that in one fell swoop managed to burn Prince Harry, Prince Andrew, COVID-19 (then still but a conceptual threat for Brits), the lack of swag bags, “Cats” (in which she starred) and the lack of women nominated for best director.
No one was spared from Wilson’s numerous barbs during the 2022 ceremony either.
While not every joke landed with the British crowd — and were further challenged by the cavernous acoustics of the Royal Albert Hall — one attendee remarked that Wilson deserved a standing ovation for her hosting duties.
The absence of Prince William — who is president of BAFTA — and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, likely allowed Wilson to let rip, and the actor-comedian certainly didn’t hold back in taking the Royal family to task. At one point, while talking about the inherent drama and horror of all the best picture nominees, Wilson quipped that “Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah had it all. But unfortunately it wasn’t nominated in this category.”
Later, in the same breath, she joked about a Prince Andrew musical set at the Pizza Express and auditioning for the “Cats” sequel.
While the BAFTA awards rarely see hosts relinquish the stage for skits with audience members, Wilson was out there throwing out her old bras as consolation prizes and rolling out a cake of Benedict Cumberbatch’s face to the “Power of the Dog” actor.
In what was a surprisingly apolitical ceremony, Wilson also made one of the few references to the full-fledged war going on elsewhere in Ukraine, giving her middle finger to the camera and saying “this is the same gesture in all languages” in a “fuck you” to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Elsewhere, Wilson highlighted the continued challenges for women in the industry. At times, it was hard to tell whether she was joking or not, and just how much was based on personal experiences. “My next movie just fell through because the studio said it was a female-driven film. But females are terrible drivers. Fuck you, Lionsgate,” she said to chuckles from the audience.
And who could forget this line: “Whenever I want to make myself cry, I think how much The Rock was paid for ‘Jungle Cruise.'”