BAFTA: And the winner is…

Clooney, Cumberbatch honoured at BAFTA LA Britannia awards.

Reuters November 11, 2013
George Clooney, 52, picked up the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film for his prolific body of work. PHOTO: FILE

LOS ANGELES: George Clooney, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Ben Kingsley led the honorees at the annual Britannia Awards, held on Saturday the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) to highlight the achievements of those making an impact in Hollywood. BAFTA nominated Welsh comedian Rob Brydon hosted the evening, keeping the audience entertained with impressions of veteran British actor Michael Caine and barbs about NSA spying.

Winners of the Britannia Awards are chosen by members of the Los Angeles arm of the British film and TV academy (BAFTA). Past winners include Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Kate Winslet.

Clooney, 52, was awarded the Britannia Award for Excellence in Film for his illustrious Hollywood career. Not one to shy away from self deprecating humour, he took a jab at his heavily scrutinised personal life in his acceptance speech.

“I rather famously don’t have children — that I know of — but I do have a family of writers, actors and directors,” he said when accepting his award, named for legendary Hollywood director Stanley Kubrick.

Actor and recent TIME Magazine cover star Cumberbatch was given a rousing introduction by his 12 Years a Slave co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who said of the actor: “Whether I’ve seen him on stage, TV or film, he is completely mesmerising.”

Cumberbatch, who stars in three films this fall, The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave and August: Osage County, was humble and gracious on stage, and used his acceptance speech to praise people he has worked with.

Hollywood heavyweights including Jake Gyllenhaal, Caine, Spielberg, Bruce Willis and Robert Downey Jr. paid tribute to Kingsley in a video clip. After an introduction by Sigourney Weaver, Kingsley dedicated his Britannia Award to young hopefuls in the industry.

“My dear young actors, I know how difficult it can be being you ... may your craft remain undiminished, untarnished, bright and hard like a diamond,” said the Gandhi star.

Other winners of the night included Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and Idris Elba, TV star of The Wire and Luther. Elba received the Humanitarian Award for his work with The Prince’s Trust, a youth charity that helped him pursue his love of acting while growing up in a poor part of East London.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2013.

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