Baftas 2017: La La Land wins best film on night of surprises

Hollywood musical scoops most gongs on occasion coloured by celebrity and politics

As expected, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, a sunny Hollywood musical, won best film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) movie awards on Sunday night.

Equally predictably, the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall was peppered with commentary on current politics. La La Land took the most gongs, converting five of its 11 nominations into wins. Chazelle won best director. Emma Stone, who stars opposite Ryan Gosling, won best actress.

Even before the first award had been handed out, Stephen Fry, hosting for the 12th time, got a dig in at US president Donald Trump. Welcoming Meryl Streep, he said she was "one of the greatest actresses of all-time. Only a blithering idiot would think otherwise". Mr Trump famously called Streep "overrated" after her denunciation of him at the Golden Globes.

Struggle looms

Ken Loach, who won best British film for I, Daniel Blake, was characteristically searing about the Conservative government. "In the real world it's getting darker," he said. "And in the struggle that's coming between the rich and the powerful, the corporations and the politicians that speak for them, and the rest of us on the other side, the film-makers know which side they're on."


Surprisingly, this was the first competitive Bafta that Loach, now 80, has won.

The Irish contenders were to be disappointed. Ruth Negga, Oscar nominated for Loving, lost out in the EE Rising Star Award to incoming Spider-Man Tom Holland. Consolata Boyle, nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins, was beaten to best costume design by Madeline Fontaine for her work on Jackie. Armaghian Seamus McGarvey, up for Nocturnal Animals, saw the cinematography Bafta go to Linus Sandgren for La La Land.

Away from La La Land’s minor sweep, the gongs were spread unusually evenly this year. It was not until the 18th presentation of the night that any film took a second Bafta mask.

That award was an upset: Dev Patel beat Mahershala Ali, much fancied in Barry Jenkins's African-American drama Moonlight, to best supporting actor for the moving true story Lion.

As a Londoner, Patel did have home advantage. Ali still looks like a favourite to take the Oscar. The folk behind Moonlight, best-reviewed film of 2016, will, nonetheless, be disappointed to go home with nothing.

Skinny odds

There were no gasps of astonishment when the veteran Viola Davis – who has already won everywhere for Denzel Washington's Fences – took home the best supporting actress Bafta. Meaner bookmakers are offering odds as short as 1/33 on Ms Davis triumphing at the Academy.

It is reckoned that about 10 per cent of the Oscar electorate vote at Bafta. So the British awards are usually reasonable pointers to the gongs that really matter. Casey Affleck, who won best actor for Manchester by the Sea, will not, however, read too much into his win here. Denzel Washington, favourite for the Oscar, was inexplicably not nominated at Bafta.

We will know all when the Academy Awards are handed out on February 26th.

Winners & nominations

Best actress

Amy Adams (Arrival)

Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)

Winner: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Best actor

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Winner: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Best director

Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake)

Winner: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)

Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)

Best film


I, Daniel Blake

Winner: La La Land

Manchester by the Sea


Outstanding British film

American Honey


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Winner: I, Daniel Blake

Notes on Blindness

Under the Shadow

Best supporting actress

Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)

Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

Nicole Kidman (Lion)

Winner: Viola Davis (Fences)

Best supporting actor

Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Winner: Dev Patel (Lion)

Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Rising Star award

Anya Taylor-Joy

Laia Costa

Lucas Hedges

Ruth Negga

Winner: Tom Holland

Best make up & hair

Doctor Strange

Winner: Florence Foster Jenkins

Hacksaw Ridge

Nocturnal Animals

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best original music



Winner: La La Land


Nocturnal Animals

Best costume design


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Florence Foster Jenkins

Winner: Jackie

La La Land

Best sound

Winner: Arrival

Deepwater Horizon

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Best British short animation

The Alan Dimension

Winner: A Love Story


Best British short film


Winner: Home

Mouth of Hell

The Party


Best editing


Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

Nocturnal Animals

Best production design

Doctor Strange

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Nocturnal Animals

Best documentary

Winner: 13th

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years

The Eagle Huntress

Notes on Blindness


Best film not in the English language




Winner: Son of Saul

Toni Erdmann

Best adapted screenplay


Hacksaw Ridge

Hidden Figures

Winner: Lion

Nocturnal Animals

Best animated film

Finding Dory

Winner: Kubo and the Two Strings



Best special visual effects


Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Winner: The Jungle Book

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best debut by a British writer, director or producer

The Girl With All the Gifts – Mike Carey (writer), Camille Gatin (producer)

The Hard Stop – George Amponsah (writer/director/producer), Dionne Walker (writer/producer)

Notes on Blindness - Peter Middleton (writer/director/producer), James Spinney (writer/director), Jo-Jo Ellison (producer)

The Pass – John Donnelly (writer), Ben A Williams (director)

Winner: Under the Shadow – Babak Anvari (writer/director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (producers)

Best original screenplay

Hell or High Water

I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

Winner: Manchester By the Sea


Best cinematography


Hell or High Water

Winner: La La Land


Nocturnal Animals

Bafta fellowship

Mel Brooks

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist