Women to hog limelight at Baftas

Actress Joanna Lumley was revealed as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony's new host, replacing actor and 12-time host Stephen Fry.
Actress Joanna Lumley was revealed as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony's new host, replacing actor and 12-time host Stephen Fry. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The Shape Of Water, Guillermo del Toro's strange and thrilling fantasy epic about a woman who falls in love with a sea monster, will lead the charge at this year's Bafta Awards with 12 nominations.

It is followed by the Martin McDonagh black comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and the Gary Oldman-starring Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, which each received nine nominations.

The nominations were announced at the central London headquarters of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), where actress Joanna Lumley was also revealed as the ceremony's new host, replacing actor and 12-time host Stephen Fry.

Lumley said she was thrilled, but acknowledged that getting the tone of the ceremony right, as the sexual harassment scandal continues, could be tricky.

"My job will be to let other people set the tone. If they want to wear black, they will wear black. If they want to speak about abuse within the film industry, they can. If they want to celebrate film or talk about a particular role... how thrilling, how marvellous."

She said she has no personal stories to tell, "but I can't tell you the admiration I have for the people who have stood up and the heartbreak for people who felt there was nobody to turn to".

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry said she is expecting the ceremony on Feb 18 at the Royal Albert Hall, London, to follow the lines of Sunday's Golden Globes, an evening of powerful speeches and attendees wearing black.

She said: "Everyone wearing black started as a rumour a couple of weeks ago. What was particularly moving for me (at the Globes) was how thoughtful the statements were... this is about making change and all working together to ensure that change happens."

GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'Women to hog limelight at Baftas'. Print Edition | Subscribe