The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTAs) were marked by red carpet glamour, glitzy celebrations, ‘A-listers’ and the awards. What else stood out were the speeches given at the ceremony that was held at the Royal Opera House in London. Many took a jibe at the “Oscars diversity debate,” while others were simply heartfelt.
Sir Sidney Poitier accepted the BAFTA Fellowship with a moving speech. He was not well enough to travel to London to accept the award in person. Hence, he was presented with the award on video by actor Jamie Foxx. Huffington Post reveals that Poitier was apologetic about not being able to be in London, a city that holds a special place in his heart.
“To the wonderful courageous filmmakers of the world, I thank you for being part of bringing me to this moment and to my family, my life force, I am nothing without you, and to all of you, thank you for your warm embrace and this extraordinary moment and memory, I shall cherish always,” he said in the course of his speech. Many, including British director Noel Clarke, were touched by his speech, reveals Huffington Post. “Sidney’s importance to the industry should never be underestimated or overlooked,” he said.
Another celebrity who is in the news for her speech is none other than Australia’s Rebel Wilson. The spunky Australian ruffled a few feathers with her transgender joke. She was onstage to present the Best Supporting Actor award, when she said, “I have never been invited to the Oscars, because as you know they are racists, but the BAFTAs have diverse members and that’s what we all want to see in life. Diverse members,” reveals Independent. “One day, I hope to return here to win a BAFTA myself. I have already been practising my transgender face,” she continued.
That is not all. Sacha Baron Cohen hinted at the Oscars diversity debate when he went onstage to present the Best Actress award. “The main reason I agreed to present at this awards ceremony is that BAFTA has shown none of the discrimination and prejudice that is so shamefully on display at the Oscars,” he started, informs Digital Spy. “It gives me great pride that every single year BAFTA makes sure that at least one of the nominees for Best Actress is a dame. Dench, Smith, Jolie … and the nominations for Best White Actress goes to … ” said Cohen.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who received the Best Actor award, was “humbled and honoured” and praised the influence of British actors on his acting career. He dedicated the win to his Mum in a heartfelt acceptance speech. According to RadioTimes, the actor wished his mother “Happy Birthday” during his speech. “I would not be standing up here if it weren’t for this person. I did not grow up in a life of privilege. This woman drove me three hours a day to a different school to show me a different opportunity. Mum, happy birthday. I love you very much,” he said.
Another winner, Kate Winslet, dedicated her Best Supporting Actress award to all the teenage girls. Telegraph states that the actress spoke about her past. “When I was only 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do OK if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts. Well, look at me now,” said Winslet.
“So what I feel like saying is to any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher or a friend or even a parent, just don’t listen to any of it because that’s what I did. I didn’t listen and I kept on going to overcome a lot of my fears, get over my insecurity and keep doing it. Just keep doing it and believing in yourself,” she said.