The BAFTAs 2014 – I declare the winner is cinema.

As Stephen Fry stepped onto the stage, I knew we were in for a treat last night. From Cate Blanchett’s touching dedication of her Best Actress statuette to the late, great Philip Seymour-Hoffman, to Helen Mirren’s stirring tribute to teachers worldwide, prizes aside, the speeches this year really seemed to strike a chord with me, and remind me, not just of the power of cinema, but of its importance. The last year has been an utter delight for film fans, but I think it has particularly seemed to me a real triumph for filmic diversity, and movies that make a difference.

Through the shiny veil of celebrity and stardom, and the glitz and showbiz of these occasions, you can sometimes lose sight of what this prize-giving is actually about. Between, Steve McQueen’s poignant and sobering reference to modern-day slavery: “I hope that 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film.”; and Gravity’s glory as a tale of adversity when there is little left to live for, real filmmaking won last night; captivating filmmaking that inspires and entertains, and I for one am grateful.

Although, I will forever deny it if asked in person, I was hoping for a little more oomph and sparkle from Stephen this year, there were a few sour jokes here and there, and the edge was lacking; maybe I was just rotten after watching a rather sordid edition of Top Gear though. However, his final speech (YouTube link lacking) truly encapsulated what the awards were about – stories. His words, encouraging all of us story-lovers to tell the tales we have to tell truly inspired me, and reminded me why I love film. Due to the lack of a video, here are his special words:

“There are stories being enacted in the world every day, and there are stories that always need telling in new ways. Everyone in the film world starts out somewhere; and contrary to what you may think, it’s not a closed world. Everyone is welcome. So to the established masters of the form: good luck with your next story; and to anyone out there who knows they can tell a story in film too: go for it. I mean it.”

 

Here are a few of my highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqCdfoLAFdM – Helen Mirren, the epitome of class and true talent reminds us of the importance of teachers as inspirational forces, with an enchanting snippet of The Tempest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0afBLkV79bE  – Cate Blanchett’s graceful acceptance and tribute to a master “in absence”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx4p92h5o_w – 12 Years A Slave reminding us what is truly important.

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