'Roma' takes Bafta glory in coup for Netflix
LONDON - AFP
Netflix black-and-white production "Roma" triumphed at the Bafta film awards, boosting Oscar hopes for the U.S. streaming giant whose rise poses a serious challenge to the conventional Hollywood business model.
The cinematic love letter to director Alfonso Cuaron's 1970s childhood in Mexico City beat black comedy "The Favourite" to win best film and best director.
"I'm seriously touched this film has been received the way it's been received," Cuaron said at a star-studded ceremony on Feb. 10 in London's Royal Albert Hall, also attended by Prince William and his wife Kate.
Netflix UK tweeted its congratulations, saying it was a "deeply moving film and deserves all the love it's getting".
It dented expectations of a clean sweep by "The Favourite" which picked up best actress for Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and best supporting actress for Rachel Weisz playing her confidante and lover.
The film, about a cantankerous 18th-century British queen and her scheming court, had been nominated for 12 awards and picked up seven in what Colman described as an "amazing night" for the cast.
"This is for all three of us. It's got my name on it but we can scratch on some other ones," she said on stage, also referring to co-star Emma Stone who was nominated in the same category as Weisz.
While the online service has gradually been welcomed at most major film festivals, Tinseltown's red carpet is not fully rolled out, with cinemas up in arms about its position as a distribution king attracting A-list stars.
In all, "Roma" was shown in around 900 theaters worldwide -- more than any other Netflix film, but far short of a usual big release. Netflix never released any box office data.
Last year's Bafta ceremony saw Hollywood stars paint the red carpet black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement.
The 2019 edition has also been tinged by scandal.
Bafta removed "Bohemian Rhapsody" director Bryan Singer from the Queen biopic's citation in the outstanding British film nomination "in light of recent very serious allegations".
That referred to an article in US magazine The Atlantic detailing sexual misconduct allegations that included underage sex.
Singer denies the story and the film itself was still up for the award, although it failed to win.
Rami Malek's portrayal of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, a victim of the AIDS epidemic in the days when homosexuality was taboo in rock-and-roll, earned him the best actor award, however.
Best supporting actor at the Baftas went to Mahershala Ali for "Green Book," a comedy-drama in which he plays a jazz pianist on a tour of America's Deep South in 1962.
"Free Solo," a film about the first person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes, won the award for best documentary.
Among the glitzy crowd there was one star missing -- Lady Gaga, who won the best original music award for "A Star is Born", was instead performing at the Grammys in Los Angeles, where she picked up three gongs.