Author: David Archer
Published: 14:45 11/02/2013
The seemingly endless awards season is coming to a close soon, phew, with the 70th Academy Awards Ceremony on 24 February. As actresses mentally prepare to eat solid food again in March, they still have a couple of weeks of intense dieting, skin peels and sumo squats to negotiate before the big night of Oscar excess.
How galling then for the young and beautiful Jennifer Lawrence, star of Silver Linings Playbook and Jessica Chastain, brilliant lead in Zero Dark Thirty, to see age coming before beauty at the Bafta award ceremony last night. 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva won the prestigious award of Best Actress for her stunning performance in French film, Amour. The veteran did not attend the Bafta awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House, saying "I cannot possibly come to London. How can I? I have to go to the Césars and the Oscars and already I am so, so tired and so, so harassed."
The reluctant star’s film, about the relationship between a French couple who are living with Riva’s character’s tragic physical and mental deterioration also won a Bafta award for Best Film Not In The English Language for its director, Michael Haneke (who again, unfortunately was not present to receive his Bafta – perhaps, he had seen the weather forecast?). Amour is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Screenplay, Best Director (both for Austrian Haneke) and Best Foreign Language Film.
However, despite the success of Amour in London, it is unlikely that the predominantly American voters in the Academy will be so generous with their voting for a foreign film. Jennifer Lawrence remains favourite to lift an Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook with betting odds of 8/13 from bookmaker BetVictor, whilst Jessica Chastain is a distinct second with odds of 3/1 from SportingBet. It would be fanciful indeed to think that Emmanuelle Riva will win the Oscar, despite it being her 86th birthday on 24 February, and the bookmakers confirm this, with BetVictor’s odds of 5/1 that she will win. But it would be a marvellous story!
There is little point in dwelling on the outcome of the Best Actor award. It’s going to be Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance as Lincoln in the eponymous film, directed by Steven Spielberg. He duly won his Bafta last night and, at odds of 1/20 from SkyBet, he is the strong favourite for the Oscar. His sincere and witty speech last night will undoubtedly bear repetition later this month.
The mounting momentum behind Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, has continued unabated with Affleck winning the Bafta for Best Director, and the film also taking the prestigious Best Picture Bafta. The film tells the story of a CIA operation to save six US diplomats during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis that involved faking production for a large scaled sci-fi film in order to smuggle the hostages out of Iran. Just a couple of weeks ago Argo was being touted as the big surprise Oscar winner with odds of 1/3 from BetFred that it would lift Best Picture. Now, following its success at the Bafta’s, those odds have been considerably shortened to 1/5.