Baftas 2020: Watch Rebel Wilson’s show-stealing speech

Comedian quips of her chance as a woman of being nominated: ‘I just don’t have the balls’

Rebel Wilson’s Baftas dress: ‘The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia, and the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats.’ Photograph: BBC

Rebel Wilson’s Baftas dress: ‘The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia, and the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats.’ Photograph: BBC

 

The Australian comedian and actor Rebel Wilson stole the show at the Bafta film awards last night with a gag-filled speech that touched on recent controversies in the British royal family, the coronavirus, the Baftas’ lack of diversity, and the failure of Cats, her latest film.

Introducing the best-director category, Wilson opened with a joke framed around the venue itself: the Royal Albert Hall. “It is really great to be here at the Royal Andrew – royal Harry, no, sorry – Royal Phil – ah, at this royal palace place,” she said, skirting over the names of members of the royal family before a savvy producer cut to the Bafta president, Prince William, looking very awkward in his seat.

At one point Wilson held the Baftas trophy – a bronze mask – up to her face, calling it “a great way to stop yourself from getting coronavirus”.

She also joked about the Baftas decision to forgo luxurious gift bags for guests this year, replacing them instead with “gifting wallets” made from recycled plastics and filled with gift cards. “Which is funny, because [gifting wallet] is also the nickname of my vagina,” Wilson said. “So maybe it is me who will win best original score at the afterparty tonight.”

The gifting wallets were part of the Baftas’ push towards sustainability, at an event that also banned single-use plastic and encouraged more mindful red-carpet attire. Wilson’s own dress, she said, was made from recycled material. “The red is from that one time I didn’t win Miss Australia, and the black is from a funeral I just went to for the feature film Cats.”

It wasn’t the only gag she made at the expense of the beleaguered musical, which was critically panned before flopping at the box office. “Cats. Strangely not nominated for any awards,” said Wilson, who played Jennyanydots.

“I’m not sure if everyone here is across the controversy, but this year there has been a distinct lack of nominations for felines. Yep, even in this best-director ‘cat’-egory, no felines have been nominated. It’s really shocking.”

The real controversy that dominated the lead-up to the awards was the lack of diversity among its nominations, with no actors of colour nominated in the main acting categories and – in a mirror to the Oscars, which are held next Sunday, no women up for best director.

Wilson listed the names shortlisted for the prize: Sam Mendes for 1917; Martin Scorsese for The Irishman; Todd Phillips for Joker; Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood; and Bong Joon-ho for Parasite.

“I look at the exceptional, daring talent nominated in this category and I don’t think I could do what they do,” Wilson quipped. “Honestly, I just don’t have the balls.”– Guardian