The 76th BAFTAs take place on Sunday, February 19 at the Royal Festival Hall with Richard E. Grant hosting. Germany’s ‘”All Quiet on the Western Front” leads with 14 nominations, followed by 10 for “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and nine for “Elvis.”
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts was founded in April 1947 as the British Film Academy by luminaries including David Lean, Carol Reed, Charles Laughton, Laurence Olivier, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Lean was named chairman of the awards that would “recognize those which had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film.” Eleven years later, the British Film Academy merged with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors.
The first awards were handed out on May 29, 1949 at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square to honor films released in Britain in 1947-48. Best Picture went to William Wyler’s 1946 release “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which had won seven Oscars, Best British Film was Carol Reed’s 1947 ‘Odd Man Out” and Best Documentary was “The World is Rich” about food shortages after World War II.
In the first decade, many movies in languages other than English won the top prize including Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves,” Henri Clouzot’s “Wages of Fear,’ Max Ophul’s “La Ronde” Rene Clement’s “Forbidden Games” and “Gervaise.”
The awards were first telecast on the BBC in 1956 with Vivien Leigh hosting; she gave her husband Laurence Olivier the award for “Richard III.”
Olivier, Michael Caine and Dustin Hoffman reaped a leading eight bids apiece. Peter Finch won a record five — three for Best British Actor and two for Best Actor (1971’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and posthumously for 1976’s “Network”). Meryl Streep and Judi Dench have a whopping 15 nominations each; Dench and Maggie Smith have won a record five apiece.
Emmanuelle Riva was the oldest winner at 84 for 2012’s “Amour.” And Jodie Foster was the youngest at 13 to win for 1976’s “Taxi Driver” and “Bugsy Malone.”
The film with the most wins?
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” racked up nine wins in 1969 including Best Picture and for helmer George Roy Hill. Burt Bacharach took home the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music. (The Paul Newman–Robert Redford classic won just four Oscars.)
The 1982 Oscar-winning “Gandhi” reaped the most BAFTA bids with 16. The film won five BAFTAS including Best Picture, director for Richard Attenborough and two for Ben Kingsley (Best Actor and the newcomer award).
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