LONDON — Survival drama “The Revenant” was the top winner at Britain’s biggest movie awards on Sunday, taking the best film prize and honors for leading actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Alejandro G. Inarritu.
The movie earned five British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, including for cinematography and sound, at a ceremony in London, two weeks before it vies for Hollywood’s top honors, the Oscars.
In the film, which has already picked up several trophies in this awards season and leads Oscar nominations, DiCaprio portrays fur-trapper Hugh Glass, who after being attacked by a bear, is left for dead by his companions during an 1820s expedition. He survives in harsh winter conditions and sets out for revenge.
DiCaprio is heavily favored to win the best actor Academy Award on Feb. 28, which would be his first in five Oscar acting nominations. In collecting his first BAFTA, he paid tribute to his mother and listed actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman and Peter O’Toole among his inspirations.
“All of this was not expected tonight … Often we have talked about how difficult this movie was to make, and it was, but we are so proud,” he told reporters.
Inarritu, the Mexican director whose film “Birdman” won last year’s best picture Oscar, said the prizes were “overwhelming.”
Continuing a winning streak for the portrayal of a young mother held captive with her son in “Room,” Brie Larson prevailed in the leading actress category and is also favored to win the Oscar.
Kate Winslet won the supporting actress category for her portrayal in “Steve Jobs” of the late Apple co-founder’s colleague Joanna Hoffman, while Mark Rylance was named best supporting actor for his Soviet spy role in “Bridge of Spies.”
Action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road” was the second biggest winner on the night with four prizes in editing, makeup and hair, costume design and production design.
Financial misdeeds movie “The Big Short” won for adapted screenplay and “Spotlight”, a film about a newspaper investigation into Catholic Church sex abuse, won best original screenplay. Irish immigrant story “Brooklyn” won outstanding British film.
Lesbian romance drama “Carol” went home empty-handed after leading BAFTA nominations with “Bridge of Spies” with nine nods each.
The industry did not shy away from the big theme of the awards season: the outcry over the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees in the four acting categories for the second straight year, which revived the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Several guests poked fun at the controversy and the Oscar organizers, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“I have never been invited to the Oscars because, as you know, they are racist,” Australian comedienne Rebel Wilson said as she introduced a BAFTA award.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” won the BAFTA for best special visual effects while cast member John Boyega was named the EE Rising Star, the only award voted for by the public. “I haven’t been doing (this) for a long time,” he said. “It’s a fluke.”