Magical musical sees off bleak dramas at glittering Baftas

Upbeat musical La La Land has triumphed over gritty dramas at the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards.

The film picked up five of the 11 prizes for which it was nominated – including best film, top director for Damien Chazelle and leading actress for Emma Stone – at the annual ceremony hosted for the 12th year in a row by Stephen Fry at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were special guests among the stars of the big screen braving a chilly London evening to celebrate the great and good of the film industry.

Critically-acclaimed La La Land, the frontrunner for the Oscars later this month, added awards for cinematography and original music to its collection.

Ken Loach’s hard-edged film about the benefits system in the UK, I, Daniel Blake was the first winner of the night, for outstanding British film award.

Britain’s Dev Patel scooped the supporting actor prize for Lion, while US star Viola Davis won the supporting actress title for her role in Fences.

Leading actor went to Casey Affleck for Manchester By The Sea, which also won original screenplay for its writer and director Kenneth Lonergan.

EE’s Rising Star award, the only one to be voted for by the public, was given to Spider-Man: Homecoming actor Tom Holland.

Prince William took to the stage at the end of the evening to award to US filmmaker, actor and comedian Mel Brooks the prestigious Bafta fellowship.

Introduced as “Prince Bill” by host Stephen, the royal joked that Bafta had “run out of actors” to present awards.

Mel kept the audience laughing during his typical joke-laced acceptance speech, as he promised he would not be selling his Bafta online.

Referencing his “idols”, previous fellowship winners such as Laurence Olivier and Alfred Hitchcock, he said: “This is a singular and august honour.”

Mel, 90, added: “I am very grateful. This is one of the awards that you will not see on eBay, I promise you. eBay has all the others, but not this one.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart, it has been wonderful to be here.”

Much of the evening, from host Stephen’s rolling dialogue to the winner’s speeches, had a political overtone, with plenty of references to global unrest, from Brexit to the US political landscape.

Stephen made a reference to Donald Trump, who recently described actress Meryl Streep as “over-rated”.

He said: “I look at row after row of the most over-rated people in the audience.”

Another high point of the night saw Fry ask for a kiss from Meryl, a request to which she gladly obliged with gusto.

Other winners included US prison system film 13th for best documentary, and Lion’s screenwriter Luke Davies for adapted screenplay.

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