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Baffled by the BAFTAs

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The ratings for award shows this season are up. Entertainment Weekly reports that Emmy viewership was up 9% and the Golden Globes were up 14%. Why? Simple. My recaps of them here. People are watching them solely to better appreciate my gags about them.

So the British Film & Television Academy begged me to recap their movie award show, as they are desperate to up their profile in America. I foolishly agreed because I love visiting London. Who knew they expected me to stay home and watch them on BBC AMERICA? Cheap bastards. So here we aren't, at the London Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, for the British Academy of Film & Television Awards, although only for movies.

Okay, if they're going for an international audience, then why choose for the host Jonathon Ross, or "Wossy" as he's unaffectionately known in Britain, where his BBC contract just ended forever? He was relentlessly not-funny, and delivered one lie-there-and-die bomb "joke" after another. Carrottop would have been better. I realize that the best possible choice, Dame Edna, wasn't available, as she begins preview performances of her new Broadway show, unfortunately with Michael Feinstein, whom Edna needs like a snake needs a shoehorn, on Monday, but really, couldn't they have gotten Graham Norton, who is actually funny? It was like having Elmer Fudd delivering jokes written by suicidal tweens. Wossy's inability to get a laugh from this easy audience all night long was really very impressive. Next year, look for the BAFTAs to get hosted by Jay Leno, because next to Wossy's work on this show, The Jay Leno Show was Monty Python's Flying Circus.

You say you don't believe that Wossy was as terrible as I've said? Here are three of his top jokes:

"There's Wobet Pattinson, the star of the ewotically-charged Twiwight. It was owiginally titled Twansylvania Hills 90210."

"[Avatar] was such an unstoppable juggernaut I assumed it was made by Toyota."

"Clive Owen is slicker than a waxed otter." (Did he mean to say "raxed otter"? Because that makes no sense.)

He got paid for telling these "jokes," and someone probably got paid for writing them.

Duncan Jones won Best Debut Movie Director for Moon. I have an award-winning moon myself, and mine gets closer to earth every year. Jones cried like an overweight tween girl meeting Robert Pattinson. Butch up, Dunc. Did you ever see Alfred Hitchcock weep over winning an award?

A Best Special Effects winner for Avatar said they had a great story to work with. What was it? And why didn't they film that instead of Avatar? And at the BAFTAs, unlike at American award shows, when 27 people win an award, all 27 get to speak. We learned why they don't allow this in America. I realize that they all have wives, and that if they don't thank their wives, who did nothing for the film, they won't get laid when they get home, but couldn't just one of them say: "And we thank all our wives"? Or does that make them all sound like Mormons?

"This is not an animated film" said James Cameron in a clip package about Avatar, lying his butt off. "Neither is mine!" shouted Snow White.

Oh dear. That Inglourious Nazi Waltzed off with the Best Supporting Actor award again. If they're just going to duplicate American awards, what's the point of going to Europe? Aren't they aware that they make better movies than we do? In fact, given that almost everyone who was at the last two Hollywood award shows was there in London, do they get a group rate on a mass elite flight?

One of the nominees for Best Costumes was the excellent drama A Single Man which recreated the outfits of the 1960s. Really, all they had to do was go through Little Dougie's closets. The award went to The Young Victoria, about the youth of actress Victoria Principal. For that, they just went through Windsor Castle's old closets, those not occupied by various members of The Royal Family.

The clip package for An Education makes this dull-sounding title look like a really interesting film: Carey Mulligan is an fascinating actress, and Peter Skarsgaard has his shirt off. Who could ask for anything more?

Make-up and hair styling awards (This is Great Britain. They're not afraid to be dull) also went to The Young Victoria, although the make up and costumes still left Emily Blunt looking twice as tall as Queen Victoria. Couldn't they CGI a foot out of her?

Matt Dillon presented an award. He can't get work in America, but there he is in London, still looking most-highly shaggable. He was giving Best Supporting Actress to, oh no, Mo'Nique again. But the gods smiled on me. She wasn't there. Whether she was busy crying at some American event, had been barred from flying to England for being a male Kevin Smith, or she just didn't think that the god she believes personally arranges for all her awards has any influence with Church of England award-voters, I don't know. I was just glad not to have to listen to her blubber again.

Rupert Everett, who is such a copycat, he even has my birthday, presented the David Lean Award, although instead of being for Best Oversized Epic, it turned out to be for Best British Film. One nominee was Nowhere Boy, a film about the youth of John Lennon. We were told that Yoko Ono said it was an excellent movie, but apparently it's a good film anyway. The award went to something called Fish Tank Look for it to sweep The Oscars. It's about - ah - a fish tank? One of the Fish Tank winners closed her speech with "God Save the Queen," although I don't think she meant Rupert. But if she meant that grumpy old German lady in Buckingham Palace watching Desperate Housewives, in the words of Eddie Izzard, that is already one seriously-saved Queen.

Okay, I looked up Fish Tank online during a commercial. It's apparently a white version of Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. I think I'd rather look at a fish tank.

Best Passes-For-Original Screenplay was given out by Robert Pattinson, whom I'm not convinced can read, to The Hurt Locker, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, and the extremely cute screenwriter, Mark Boal, who won it, didn't even thank John Hurt for letting him look in his locker.

Rebecca Hall's shoulders on her presenter's gown looked to have been made by oragami. I thought Jonathon Rhys-Meyers was going to lose an eye. They gave the production design award to Avatar, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. Okay, I suppose.

Darling Noel Clarke from Doctor Who presented Best Newcomer to the girl who stars in those Godawful Twilight movies. Yes I know her name, but it's bad enough I had to mention Wossy. This was the one award voted on by the public, which demonstrates why I don't bother to watch The People's Choice Awards. The "people" who vote are always the ones with the worst taste. I mean honestly, this girl over Carey Mulligan? Absurd.

Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire was nominated for for Best Adapted screenplay. Apparently Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire was adapted from a book, although I don't know the book's title or who wrote it. Who knew? In any event, it went to Up in the Air, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

They took an unusual approach to the Dead People Montage. Instead of the camera wandering all over the place, while the faces of the dead were projected onto the surface of the moon where you couldn't see them without the Hubble telescope, they just ran the montage on our screens where we could clearly see it. This will never catch on stateside. They didn't even have Queen Latifah singing Whistle a Happy Tune.

In the dead people montage, they had a shot of the late Charles H. Schneer standing next to his career-long partner, Ray Harryhausen. Let me be clear. Ray Harryhausen is not dead. I was shocked however to learn from the montage that Ian Carmichael had died, and I was very saddened to learn that wonderful comic character actor Lionel Jeffries had passed away. He was always a favorite of mine. I met him only once, after seeing him on play Pickering on Broadway opposite Peter O'Toole as Henry Higgins in Pygmalion. Jeffries was always a delight, whether trading quips with Peter Sellers in early Ealing comedies, or getting murdered by Peter Cushing in Hammer's The Revenge of Frankenstein. (Lionel always liked working with Peters, and who doesn't?) He was even sent to the moon in Charles Schneer's & Ray Harryhausen's The First Men in the Moon. Farewell my lovely Lionel.

A Prophet (I haven't heard of it either), won Best Unintelligible Film, although, being British, they gave the award a more polite title: "Best Film Not in the English Language." I think The Hangover was also nominated.

The clip package for Precious, based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (which, I don't know if you are aware or not, is adapted from a book called Push which was written by Sapphire. I Googled it. The Kingfish is very proud.) further cemented my resistence to seeing it. Along with all the shots of people crying in the film, it also featured a behind-the-scenes interview clip with Mo'Nique blubbering as she talked about her role, so while she wasn't present to blubber in person, we still got her being awash in tears pre-recorded. It was almost a relief to go back to clips from Avatar.

At the Oscars, as soon as a winner is announced in a category, they take the losers' faces off the screen. But when Kathryn Bigelow won Best Directatrix for The Hurt Locker, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, they cut to the grim visage of loser Quentin Taratino, followed by a teeth-gitted James Cameron. Those two shots alone were worth tuning in for.

Prince William, possibly the best-looking member of the Royal Family (admittedly, a title for which there is not much competition) came on solely to introduce Uma Thurman. Now she'll be insufferable when they ask her to be introduced by Pauly Shore at The Oscars. Uma was giving out the Fellowship Award, a sort of snootier Life Achievement Award, to Vanessa Redgrave who is, make no mistake, and without any irony, one of the greatest actresses in the world.

Vanessa, taking the stage, knelt before Prince William, and for a moment I hoped it was going to get seriously inappropriate, but she got up again, and gave a weepy speech. She didn't seem to completely understand what the "Fellowship" award meant, since she said "Now you've made me a fellow." I wish they'd make me a fellow. I have the pattern and the yarn. Vanessa my darling, you are many wonderful things, but you are not a fellow. I was actually a bit moved by Vanessa's speech, but then, I'm a lifelong sucker for her.

Kate Winslett, who, let's face it, seems a bit drab following Vanessa, gave out Best Actor to Colin Firth for playing a closeted gay man in the 1960s in the superb film A Single Man, based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, an odd title given that it's actually based on a wonderful book I have read titled A Single Man by the late literary genius Christopher Isherwood, in his full I-Am-a-Camera mode. I guess Jeff Bridges can kiss off That Oscar he was clearing room for on his mantle. As go the BAFTAs, so go The Oscars. Though on the other hand, how much of a stretch is it for an Englishman to play a gay man?

So now we know that, in addition to not knowing how to dress, cleanse himself, or behave in public, Mickey Roarke also can not read. I knew his comeback was a bad idea. For no sane reason, he decided to wear his hair in a style clearly inspired by Woody Woodpecker, I guess he was hoping for the cachet of Woody's triple-phallic name.

The award went to Carey Mulligan for her role in An Education, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. I was delighted by this, even if Meryl Streep wasn't. Let's hope Carey's streak continues at The Oscars, although she's not half the actress Gabourey Sidibie, at least by volume.

That distinguished British Actor Sir Dustin Hoffman presented Best Picture to The Hurt Locker, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. Eat that, Avatar, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire! They actually went for quality over box office.

How Un-American!

Cheers darlings. See you Friday with more of Survivor

To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to The Morehead, the Merrier, or buy her book, My Lush Life.