Bafta victories set DiCaprio on journey to first Oscar

American idol pips Eddie Redmayne, Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston

Leonardo DiCaprio is one step closer to an Academy Award as 'The Revenant' is the toast of the BAFTA awards in London. Video: Reuters

 

The Revenant dominated this year’s Baftas, winning three of the biggest awards, including best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio.

The outdoor epic was also named best film, while Alejandro González Iñárritu received the best director award.

DiCaprio (41) beat last year’s winner Eddie Redmayne, who was nominated for The Danish Girl, as well as Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston.

Mexican director Iñárritu, who won the best director Oscar in 2015 for Birdman, said he was “overwhelmed” and described his Bafta win as “a true honour”.

Brie Larson was named best actress for her leading role in claustrophobic drama Room.

The American, who was the overwhelming favourite for the award, was unable to attend the event because she was filming elsewhere.

Collecting the award on her behalf, director Lenny Abrahamson said she was on the shoot for Kong: Skull Island. “Brie, looking for a little bit of something light and nice to do after Room, is wrestling a large gorilla in Australia, ” he said.

She was“incredibly honoured” to receive the award and he described her as “one of the best actors of her generation”.

Mark Rylance won best supporting actor for his turn as a Russian spy in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies while Kate Winslet took best supporting actress for her role in Steve Jobs.

‘Extraordinary year’

Financial misdeeds movie The Big Short won for adapted screenplay while Spotlight, a film about a newspaper investigation into Catholic Church sex abuse, was named best original screenplay.

Race and gender

“I also think that it’s a societal problem,” Abrahamson said. “The entertainment industry just reflects what are major problems of both race and gender diversity.”

Room and Brooklyn are both nominated for best picture at the Oscars, which take place on February 28th, but the wind is back in The Revenant’s sails.

DiCaprio is the favourite to win his first best actor Oscar.

At last night’s ceremony, he paid tribute to co-star Tom Hardy.

“I want to thank you for your fierce loyalty, not only as a collaborator but as a friend. I could not have done this journey without you,” he said.

DiCaprio added: “There’s one person I have to thank. I would not be standing up here if it weren’t for this person.

“I didn’t grow up in a life of privilege. I grew up in a very rough neighbourhood in East Los Angeles.

“And this woman drove me three hours a day to a different school to show me a different opportunity. It’s her birthday today – Mom, happy birthday, I love you very much.”

– (PA/Additional reporting by Donald Clarke)