Page last updated at 00:39 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Baftas 2010: A peculiarly British awards

By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Rain, Prince William and best actress Carey Mulligan. PA/AP pics
Inclement weather, a Prince and a homegrown winner - the British Baftas

For all its glamour, glitz and famous faces, the Bafta film awards turned out to be a very British occasion.

Before the cream of the cinema world made their way inside London's Royal Opera House, the red carpet throng shivered in winter temperatures under a leaden sky and the odd rain shower.

While Hollywood acting hopefuls George Clooney and Meryl Streep stayed away, some of the Tinseltown talent who made the trip noticed the chill.

Precious star Gabourey Sidibe, who was wearing a shimmering short-sleeve gown, put it simply.

"It's colder than the Golden Globes! They happen in Los Angeles, and the Baftas happen in London in winter."

But the American was suitably impressed that her film about a downtrodden teenager from Harlem had made it across the Atlantic.

"It's a double honour to be nominated because it's not my country. You guys don't have to care!" she giggled.

Armando Ianucci, no stranger to a homespun awards ceremony, said it certainly isn't the Oscars - and should not attempt to be.

Colin Firth's acceptance speech made his fridge repair man famous

"I think they should feel different - and British - and celebrate our own films," said the In The Loop creator, bound for a balmier Academy Awards next month.

While US film The Hurt Locker walked away triumphant with six Baftas, there was a sense of the academy stating that British is best.

Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan came away with the main acting prizes, which the elfin star of An Education branded "completely insane".

"I never thought I'd get one," she said after her triumph, appearing to be weighed down by her bronze mask statuette.

"You can never get used to being nominated against Meryl Streep - it's just too bizarre," she had revealed on the red carpet, before going one better and beating the Hollywood legend.

Red carpet frenzy

But she dismissed suggestions that following up her Bafta moment with an Oscar will be at all possible.

Firth landed his first Bafta by revealing how only a fridge repair man saved him from sending an e-mail to turn down his winning role.

"I don't know what's best for me," admitted the star.

While Firth attracted a whoop of delight from fans braving the star-studded stretch of upholstery, their baying screams were reserved for a man not even in contention for acting honours.

Twilight star Robert Pattinson was the object of their frenzied adoration, while it was left to girlfriend Kristen Stewart to give them a nod after winning the Rising Star award.

"They are the most devoted and attentive fans," said the American actress, who may well have their votes to thank for her success.

Robert Pattinson
Robert Pattinson drew the biggest screams

Pattinson outdid another young man who gave this year's Baftas a special touch that only the Oscars could dream about.

Prince William, the new president of Bafta, stopped to have pictures taken with fans.

Inside the auditorium he performed his first duty by presenting Vanessa Redgrave with her academy fellowship.

The veteran actress honoured him with a deep curtsey, while Andrea Arnold - director of best British film Fish Tank - rounded off her acceptance speech by saying "God Save The Queen".

But Royal patronage aside, this was The Hurt Locker's night at the expense of blockbuster Avatar, producing the first woman to win best director at the Baftas.

Kathryn Bigelow will be hoping that she can repeat the success at the forthcoming Oscars, where the weather will be brighter and the Brits can expect a much harder fight to take home the prizes.

But even the magic of Hollywood will be unable to rustle up a future King to grace their red carpet.

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