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The EE BAFTA’S – Winners Round-Up & Usual Diversity Issues!

Written By Graeme Wood
09.02.15

 

BAFTA_Winners

Champagne and back slapping at the ready, it’s another year and another awards ceremony! This years BAFTA film awards held no surprises for anyone who had even a cursory glance through the nominations or looked at award winners so far this year. While there was some worthy winners amongst the technical nominees the big awards could all have been safely predicted ahead of the ceremony.

JK Simmons was a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actor following his mesmerising and powerful performance in Whiplash, as was the critically acclaimed Eddie Redmayne picking up ‘Best Actor’, BAFT_JK-Simmonsfor his touching portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Julianne Moore picked up ‘Best Actress’ but has already received several nominations and prizes for her role in the yet to be seen in the UK movie Still Alice and similarly Patricia Arquette, picking up ‘Best Supporting Actress’, has received several nominations and awards for her turn in Boyhood.

The clear winners of the evening were Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, winning Best Director and Best Film, and James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, picking up ‘Outstanding British Film’ and Adapted Screenplay. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel were left running just behind with Birdman’s Emmanuel Lubezki picking up the much deserved Cinematography BAFTA. While Wes Anderson’s quirky The Grand Budapest Hotel picked up awards for ‘Costume Design, Make-Up, Music, Production and Best Screenplay’. Damian Chazelle’s Whiplash deservedly picked up the awards for its Editing and Sound the two combined in the film to provide a mesmerising back-drop to JK Simmons and Miles Teller’s powerful performances.

The popular Pride was granted some recognition and picked up the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The EE ‘Rising Star’ Award had strong competition but the public vote went to ‘71s charismatic Jack O’Connell a choice which also seemed popular with the BAFTA audience.
BAFTA_JOConnell&McAvoy

Surprisingly The Imitation Game which has already had many awards and nominations elsewhere failed to pick up anything despite being nominated in several categories. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ which failed to light up the box office or critics also missed out on any of the big nominations.

The biggest disappointment from the awards however surely came from the nominations themselves and the films that failed to pick up even a cursory nod from the judging panel. It truly astounds that critically acclaimed and popular films such as Amma Asante’s ‘Belle’ failed to receive a nomination, even for its outstanding costume design, or that the powerful and relevant ‘Selma’ failed to be recognised by the panel. Surely when you have a British talent like David Oyelowo giving a strong performance that is critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic it deserves to be recognised? There is also a strong argument that Timothy Spall’s outstanding performance in Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner deserved a place in the Best Actor category.

All eyes are now on the 87th Academy Awards which take place on the 22nd of February, will Boyhood continue its run of wins as Best Picture or will the inclusion of Selma see an Academy turnaround? Can Richard Linklater nab the Best Director Oscar or will Wes Anderson see recognition for The Grand Budapest Hotel. David Oyelowo is missing again from the Best Actor nominations so we might see Eddie Redmayne continue his winning streak although the inclusion of Bradley Cooper and American Sniper’s strong box-office performance may be a surprise winner. Julianne MooreBAFTA_JulianneMoore seems likely at this point to walk away with Best Actress and I’d be very surprised, and a little disappointed, if JK Simmons doesn’t come away with Best Supporting Actor. Patricia Arquette seems likely to continue her winning streak as Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, though Emma Stone is also a hot contender for her performance in Birdman. While the wonderful Lego Movie managed to pick up Best Animated Feature at this year’s BAFTA it’s bizarrely been missed out of the Oscar nominations so don’t be surprised if Big Hero 6 walks away as this year’s winner.

John Stephen’s and Lonnie Lynn’s ‘Glory’ from Selma has been nominated and is expected to win this year’s ‘Best Song’ Oscar but wouldn’t it be fun if ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego Movie won instead?

It all depends of course on how much relevance you place on the nominations, awards and industry panels against your own preferences and views. Away from the plaudits, box office and competition a bigger issue lay in the representation of our culture and the industry itself. Looking at the BAFTA audience, nominees and winners all many viewers could see were row after row of Caucasian faces and surely this can not be an accurate representation of the diverse body of filmmakers or challenging films that have been produced throughout the last year.

Not so long ago the nominees and audience were full of fresh new hopefuls like Adam Deacon, Noel Clarke, Chiwetel Ejifor, Sophie Okonedo, David Harewood, Idris Elba and some of these have adam_deaconsubsequently found more prominent opportunities and work abroad rather than in the UK. The broadsheets have been quick to point out the lack of diversity from the BAFTA ceremony, particularly Chris Bryant in his column for the Independent. New initiatives (especially from the BFI & TV sector) have become meaningless, which are not worth their weight in hope.

So the debate meanwhile continues but none the less as we have seen over the years there is no significant change. However, it is evident that more work and career opportunities leading to prestige international exposure for minority film industry personnel would certainly bring a higher diversified profile to the UK film industry and so the question must be asked of BAFTA why no recognition for films like; Selma, Belle, Honeytrap, Second Coming and the many other diverse cinema offerings produced from a home-grown pool of black, Asian and minority ethnic talent. A recent Taking Part survey concluded that black and minority ethnic participation in the arts lags nearly 10 per cent behind white participation. It’s a disturbing under-representation for a community that consists of 12 per cent of the total population.

If this year’s BAFTA’s failed to totally represent the cinema audience or the UK talent pool it did however signal a growing strength and confidence in British film making which can only be for the good of the industry as whole (we hope?).

Read Chris Bryant MP Independent Newspaper article here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/baftas-2015-britain-is-diverse-so-why-is-our-tv-and-film-so-overwhelmingly-white-10034762.html

Star profile – Kyla Frye

written by Lee Pinkerton
02/06/14

 

 

It’s an exciting time to be a Black British actor.  Just ask 27 year old actress Kyla Frye.  She’s  justkyla frye won a role in the new Tom Cruise movie.  But Kyla is not joining the flight of Black Brit talent and moving to the States  – no Ms Frye is determined to make it work over here.

Kyla has showbusiness in her DNA – her dad was part of vocal group and her mum was a model, and she herself made her small screen debut aged just two years old.

“I’ve always seen myself on stage,” says Frye when she recently spoke to Kush. “I instantly felt comfortable with it – I never considered doing anything else.”

But before she got seriously into acting she also tried her hand at dance and modelling, joining street dance troupes Boy Blue Entertainment and Estate of the Arts while still in her teens, and was part of the UK Urban Fashion Awards catwalk team.

I enjoyed modelling, but its not my passion,” admits Kyla. “ I love film, I love theatre, I love acting.”

After joining Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Youth Theatre and Identity Drama School and Agency, Kyla won roles in in a series of productions at Soho Theatre including Noel Clarke’s, The Play and also featured in comedian Angie Le Mar’s play, Younger Brothers.

“Working with Angie was something I’d wanted to do since I was at Stratford Theatre Royal and I saw Funny Black Women on The Edge.  I was so inspired.  Working with her was a dream come true.”

Screen roles followed, landing the supporting lead role of Tawanda in Noel Clarke’s BBC Three drama West 10 LDN, Sheila Nortley’s Zion and her first feature film, The Naked Poet. But her biggest break has come this year in the shape of the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow.

kyle in edge of tomorrowThe epic action unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world.  Filmed at the Warner Brothers studio in Neasden, Kyla plays a British United Defence Force soldier and though she doesn’t appear with Mr Cruise on screen, she did get to meet him between takes.

“He was so lovely. The first time I heard his voice I almost cried.”

But after her little taste of Hollywood, Ms Frye is not planning to up sticks and move to the States just yet.  In 2013, Kyla set up her own production company, Fryeday Entertainment LTD. and released her filmmaking debut, The Key – one of the most watched of all the British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) shows on BBC iPlayer.

“What it takes to make it in the entertainment industry isn’t written down,” Kyla explains of her motivation for making the short documentary.  “No-one knows how to get to the top, there is no guidebook. Often we find ourselves just sitting and waiting for our agent to call. I was frustrated being in that position.  I thought if I wanted to see myself on the screen I would have to write and direct myself – I had to be the change that I wanted to see.”

“Here in the UK for such a long time Black British talent has been overlooked and under-rated.  But with the way that the US celebrates talent regardless where it comes from, we’re starting to realise that we have talent here.  Both the US and the UK are starting to recognise.  If we continue to see Black faces on our TVs, regardless if it’s on a US show, it will make ripples over here.  It’s such an exciting time right now. I’ve auditioned for several films this year with a multi-ethnic cast.  But it’s time to stop talking about it and start doing it for ourselves.”

And Ms Frye is doing just that, with two Fryeday projects in the pipeline, one which she is writing and producing, and one which she is writing, producing and starring in.

“One thing I want to do is to inspire the next generation – if you work hard there are no limitations.  Work hard and never give up.”

Lee Pinkerton

watch the trailer for Edge of Tomorrow here