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Two American presidents light up BAFTA Britannia awards

November 08, 2012|By Matt Donnelly
  • Daniel Craig arrives at the BAFTA Britannia Awards 2012, where he accepted British artist of the year from presenter Harrison Ford.
Daniel Craig arrives at the BAFTA Britannia Awards 2012, where he accepted… (Frazer Harrison / Getty…)

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts celebrated its annual Britannia awards Wednesday, but the vibe was distinctly American -- no one was escaping the post-election glow.

Filmed for BBC America at the Beverly Hilton, host Alan Cumming welcomed 2012's crop of honorees including Daniel Craig, Daniel Day-Lewis, Quentin Tarantino, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 

Decked out in a gaudy red suit, Cumming cracked that his look was "recycled from Ann Romney's dress at the concession speech," as he wanted to prove that "even in defeat, there is beauty."

Day-Lewis was a looming figure in the room, not just for the endless cracks about his intense acting preparation but for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln and its subsequent ubiquitous ad campaign.

PHOTOS: Winners and presenters at the 2012 BAFTA Britannia Awards

Day-Lewis gave a thoughtful speech about working with Steven Spielberg (who presented him with his prize, the Stanley Kubrick Britannia award for excellence) but couldn't resist a joke: He pulled an empty Hilton banquet chair on stage and mimicked Clint Eastwood's RNC spectacle in August.

"I know as an Englishman it's none of my business, but I'm so glad it's you," Day-Lewis said to the chair, intimating President Obama's presence for his big night. He also added he meant no ill will to Eastwood, but couldn't resist. 

Another stirring moment (Bond pun!) was Harrison Ford taking stage to present Daniel Craig with British Artist of the Year, but Ford warned he had nothing funny to say -- "or wear," he directed at Cumming.

Craig left his table and wife Rachel Weisz and took to the podium telling Ford he "probably didn't remember, because we were drunk" but Harrison was the first to inspire him to become an actor. 

Tarantino was fast and loose in an acceptance speech that exalted Roger Corman, the B-movie king who handed him the John Schlesinger award for excellence in directing, Harvey Weinstein and, in a touching moment, late editor Sally Menke.

"South Park" creators Parker and Stone nabbed the Charlie Chaplin comedy award and saw video tributes from the likes of Jimmy Fallon, while "The Sims" video game creator Will Wright took the Albert R. Broccoli award for contribution to entertainment. 

And while American presidents dominated the conversation, the evening had one distinct British note in a taped video message for Craig from Dame Judi Dench.

"Good evening 007," she cooed from monitors, "I'm sending you a big kiss. On the mouth."

ALSO:

'Lincoln' was a tall order for Spielberg, Day-Lewis

Maggie Smith grabs BAFTA nomination for 'Downton Abbey'

Working Title founders to be honored at Hollywood Film Awards

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