Why Ron Howard chose the Baftas over the Grammys

Director Ron Howard has said he chose to attend the Baftas rather than the Grammys because he was so gratified his nominated documentary about The Beatles has been received so well in the UK.

Howard has received nods for awards at both ceremonies – for best documentary at the Baftas and best music film at the Grammys – for his movie The Beatles: Eight Days A Week.

The awards shows happen within hours of each other and Howard opted to brave the cold in London rather than attend the music show in Los Angeles.

Ron Howard chose Baftas not Grammys (Ian West/PA)
Arriving at the Bafta nominees party at Kensington Palace, he told the Press Association: “I had to choose but I have a lot of fun here, I have worked in London a lot and have a lot of friends here and the Baftas know how to throw a hell of a party.”

He said he had not even been deterred by the snow and freezing temperatures, saying: “I came from New York where we had a huge blizzard so this ain’t nothing.”

However, he admitted making a film about the Fab Four was more intimidating than he first expected. He said: “It was scary as hell but I got into it because it was irresistible.

Howard directed The Beatles: Eight Days A Week (Yui Mok/PA)
“I thought there was a great story there and when else would you get to work with all that great music? Then as the word got out that I was making the movie, I realised how much this meant to people.

“They are beyond icons and the story is beyond mythic. The bar was very high, and I was nervous to say the least.

“It’s one of the reasons why I had to be here for this event, win or lose, because the fact that here in England my approach to the subject of the Beatles is gaining this kind of appreciation just thrills me beyond words.”

Howard worked with Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney on the film (Yui Mok/PA)
Howard was joined at the party by fellow nominees including La La Land star Emma Stone, Arrival actress Amy Adams and Hacksaw Ridge’s Andrew Garfield, as well as comedian Mel Brooks, who will be honoured with the Bafta Fellowship at Sunday’s ceremony.

La La Land director Damien Chazelle, whose film is nominated for 11 Baftas, said the journey to the awards show has been overwhelming.

He said: “It’s been amazing and surreal, I don’t think any of us expected this but I think the most heartening thing is to see the movie connect with people all around the world. That is really special to me and not something I could have dreamed of.

La La Land director Damien Chazelle with the film’s star Emma Stone (Ian West/PA)
“It’s a longer process than I thought it would be and more tiring but the thing that makes it amazing and that I didn’t expect is you don’t go on it alone, you go on it with the people you made the movie with but also a lot of other great film-makers and people you admire.”

The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy, who is shortlisted for the EE Rising Star Award, said she is mainly looking forward to being in the same room as her fellow nominees, who include Loving’s Ruth Negga and Spider-Man star Tom Holland.

She said: “I’m excited just to meet them and be with them because I’m such a fan of their work and they are all so talented and being in their company is truly humbling.

Anya Taylor-Joy stars in The Witch (Ian West/PA)
“I’ve just worked with James McAvoy and he was the first winner (of the Rising Star) so I’ve heard of his experience with it and it’s just exciting.

“I’m genuinely so appreciative that I’m even acting but to be recognised for your work is above and beyond anything I ever hoped for, it’s pretty overwhelming.”

The EE British Academy Film Awards will be presented at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday.

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