Eddie Redmayne was backstage "puking his guts out", reported Sally Field, with whom he'd been meant to present the best original screenplay award. Forced to go it alone, Field expressed fears he'd infected her, and that, moreover, it might be one of those bugs so contagious the whole opera house would shortly be awash in vomit. Anne Hathaway, herself under the weather, leaped to Les Mis's co-star's defence in her best supporting actress speech, saying it was merely food poisoning. We may never know.
Not only did Bafta dole out just one gong to the Academy Awards' clear frontrunner, they then proceeded to give the best director award to Ben Affleck, a man conspicuously snubbed in that same category at the Oscars.
Helen Mirren's was, suddenly, short and pink. Paloma Faith's toweringly strange. But it was the beards which really grabbed the chatter this year. Stephen Fry and George Clooney praised each others, Hugh Jackman twinkled beneath his magnificent specimen and Ben Affleck gave bristle a good name.
The red carpet was a sponge. During the ceremony, hem-lines were still visibly soggy, and an air of spritz and drizzle still clung to some of the stars.
Jeremy Renner's naive schtick didn't quite come off; similarly Sarah Silverman and John C Reilly's faux-diva double act. It was left to old-stager Billy Connolly to bring the laughs ("I'm overwhelmed to be here, presenting an unsuspecting stranger with a death mask on a stick.") The acceptance speeches, on the other hand, were largely stellar and weirdly tearless. Pick of the bunch: Daniel Day-Lewis's extended riff on staying in character as himself for 55 years.
Pas d'armour de Amour
There were no shows from both Michael Haneke and Emmanuelle Riva. Saving their energies for the Oscars? Or just fed up with all the winning, just can't take it any Amour …? Compare their bailing to Jessica Chastain, whose play on Broadway ended at 4am GMT, when she hopped on a plane and then a helicopter to sit in a chair and lose. A shout out, too, for Joaquin Phoenix, a notorious awards sceptic, who showed up, and even showed the start of a smile.
Continuing Clooney love
He may have only been there in his capacity as a producer, but George was still the star attraction of the night. And, at 51, he still justifies Fry's gag about the TV audience being "as welcome as George Clooney at a hen night".
Tom was definitely in town. But there was no sign of him, only an oblique reference in a bit of Fry patter.
The Americans didn't get the horsemeat joke. Nor the Boris Johnson/Batman reference. Nor the equation of Tessa Ross and Paul Scholes. To be fair, that last one is quite niche.
'What's your name? What's your name? What's your name? Shoot him, he's an American spy'
Out of context, few clips stand up well, and Argo's similarities to Team America seemed all the more glaring in snippet form. Likewise, Life of Pi eats itself when presented in soundbites, and even Jessica Chastain's 'You don't know Al Qaeda' speech has tinges of the teen rant, ripped from the rest of the movie.
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