Movies

Killer Queens: Olivia Colman and Rami Malek crown regal Baftas

Exemplary – if slightly unexciting – choices defined this year’s ceremony, but I can’t help but grieve for Richard E Grant

So in the end, there were no great surprises at this year’s Baftas, and it was a great night for The Favourite, which in the most extraordinary way fuses trad Brit period theatricality with high auteur cinema. Olivia Colman’s Bafta as best actress is the most glorious achievement so far in this performer’s remarkable career. Her portrayal of Queen Anne was simultaneously hilarious, scary, eerie and poignant. She may have changed the course of history studies. It was only on rewatching The Favourite that I realised when I first encountered this monarch’s reputation: as a student, reading Pope’s The Rape of the Lock: “Great Anna, whom three realms obey, Dost sometimes counsel take – and sometimes tea!” When are we getting an Alexander Pope biopic with Toby Jones incidentally?

Rachel Weisz’s best supporting actress Bafta for her performance in The Favourite was richly deserved, and I am happy to concede I called this one wrong when making my own predictions, favouring Emma Stone’s performance as the aristocrat who faces off with Weisz in a duel for the monarch’s affections and patronage. It might have been nice to see them win it jointly, but this is a great win for Weisz and her portrayal of sly, feline realpolitik-meets-sexual-dysfunction.

But in a way, Roma ran The Favourite even by getting best film, along with best director for Alfonso Cuarón, best film not in the English language, and best cinematography – for Cuarón’s own very remarkable camerawork.

These awards, shared out as they were among Roma and The Favourite, seem to be a very just division of the spoils. Surely now Netflix will roll out a new theatrical distribution for Roma, so that people all over the UK and Ireland will have the chance to see this glorious film on the big screen and not just on their TVs, smartphones and tablets?

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