On more than one occasion last night at Baftas 2022 in London, the Australian actress received more grimaces than giggles.
Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune stole the show last night at Baftas 2022, sweeping the technical categories of Cinematography, Production Design, Sound, Special Effects, and Best Original Score from Hans Zimmer.
Amazingly, this was Zimmer’s first-ever Bafta – hard to believe as the veteran composer and producer already has four Grammys, three Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and several other prizes under his belt.
Alongside Dune at the top of the Baftas bill was CODA, the Apple film that depicts the tumultuous life of 17-year-old Ruby Rossi, the only hearing member of a deaf family. Troy Kotsur made history by becoming the first deaf actor to win a Bafta in one of the main categories, taking home Best Supporting Actor for his role as Ruby’s father.
It’s proving to be a big awards season for Kotsur, who now has a Screen Actors Guild award and a Bafta in the run-up to the Oscars later this month where he is pipped to win big again. The 53-year-old’s humorous acceptance speech saw him stake a claim for a deaf actor to be considered for the next James Bond, then thank his CODA co-stars Emilia Jones, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant and others who played their part in winning the film’s second award of the night for Best Screenplay.
A successful evening on the whole then for Dune, CODA, and several other worthy winners like The Power of the Dog and After Love, whose teams had worked extremely hard behind the scenes to create critically acclaimed, sincere pieces of art. It was unfortunate though, that the grandeur of such an occasion was marred by cheap jokes and, at times, train-wreck hosting from Rebel Wilson.
The Australian actress looked awkward throughout and received a mixed reception from the audience whilst ostensibly trying to emulate the kind of shock factor Ricky Gervais mastered so well at the Golden Globes, just with more sexual innuendos and far fewer genuinely funny jokes.
Sure, sometimes award shows will throw a slightly risqué host into the mix to provide some light relief between often heartfelt, and perhaps increasingly mundane as the evening wears on, acceptance speeches. You need someone with some charisma and humour to steer the evening in the right direction.
And Wilson has proved herself more than capable of this in the past. Her acceptance speech at the Baftas 2022 had the audience in stitches when she tore into the 2019 film Cats and identified the Bafta trophy’s unintentional resemblance to a Covid-19 face mask.
But her jokes last night failed to achieve the same result. A gag that involved flipping off Vladimir Putin in sign language, the punch line being that it’s the same in every language, has been labelled as offensive and a reduction of the importance and significance of signing. Later on in the show, Wilson actually drew groans from the audience when she said winner of Best Leading Actor Will Smith’s best performance was “appearing to not care about his wife’s boyfriends”.
Elsewhere there were just too many gags that fell painfully flat, perhaps rousing the odd pity chuckle here and there from the audience. It all seemed a little haphazard and ill-prepared from Wilson – in absolute stark contrast to some of the brilliant pieces of work that were being honoured.
Twitter was alive with opinions last night as films, actors and actresses were revered and hosts were jeered: