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A Belfast film about two boys and their pet chickens took home a Bafta

There was also success for the ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ but the jury snubbed Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘The Imitation Game’.

Updated 4.33pm

Source: ShortsTV - The Short Movie Channel/YouTube

A NORTHERN IRISH film took home a Bafta last night at the awards ceremony in London.

Boogaloo and Graham won the British short film award.

The film, set in 1970s Belfast, is based around two young boys and their pet chickens.

However, in just a few weeks, the production could take home an even bigger accolade. It’s nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars next month.

At a separate awards ceremony – the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, one of the most prestigious for short films – Somewhere Down The Line received the Best Animation award.

The film was produced under the Frameworks short-film scheme, which is co-financed by the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and the Arts Council.

Source: BBC/YouTube

Back to the Baftas, and the American coming-of-age tale tale “Boyhood”, filmed over 12 years, took home the award for best film last night, but the British awards ceremony was dominated by the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything”.

Eddie Redmayne picked up the best actor gong for playing theoretical physicist and motor neurone disease sufferer Hawking, who himself attended the glitzy film event.

The biopic also won best British film and best screenplay adaptation.

British star Redmayne, who is hotly tipped for Oscar glory later this month after already winning a Golden Globe, thanked Hawking and his family “for reminding me of the great strength that comes from the will to live a full and passionate life”.

Our dream as actors is to tell interesting stories about interesting people and they don’t come more interesting than this.

On the red carpet, Redmayne said he had been “galvanised” by the hope that the film would raise awareness of Hawking’s condition and had been to a clinic for four months to prepare for the role.

The awards this year favoured sensitive portrayals of illness and simple emotions and gave a lifetime achievement prize to director Mike Leigh, who is famous for his down-to-earth portrayals of working class life.

“Boyhood” is a family drama that follows a six-year-old boy, Ellar Coltrane, as he grows up and also features Ethan Hawke as his father.

Coltrane said it showed “the simplicity of human interaction”, adding: “It was really scary to release something so close to us”.

Best actress went to US star Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” — a painstaking portrayal of a professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Moore broke down as she thanked her family in her acceptance speech.

BAFTA Film Awards 2015 - After Party - London Redmayne, pictured with Stephen Hawking. Source: Daniel Leal-Olivas

Cumberbatch snub 

Five nominees — Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Felicity Jones, Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike — are also Oscar hopefuls, part of  what has been described as a “British invasion” of Hollywood.

Jones, who is still waiting for her big break, was nominated for her role as Hawking’s wife Jane in a film that concentrates on their love story as students and the beginning of his disease.

Pike said her role in the thriller “Gone Girl” covered “all facets of being a woman, to be sort of sexy and fun-loving, to be manipulative, to be devious, to be challenging, to be angry.”

The awards were held in London’s Royal Opera House and Hollywood star Tom Cruise, ex-footballer David Beckham and Hawking himself were among the presenters.

Wes Anderson’s comedy “Grand Budapest Hotel” was the biggest winner of the night, taking home five awards.

But the jury snubbed “The Imitation Game” starring Cumberbatch, which had received nine nominations.

The documentary “Citizenfour” about US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden won a BAFTA but there was no-one to pick up the award as director Laura Poitras is afraid of being prosecuted in the UK.

The ceremony also paid tribute to former British Academy director Richard Attenborough, an award-winning director who died last year aged 90.

Prince William and Robert Downey Jr, who played Charlie Chaplin in Attenborough’s biopic, praised the late director in pre-recorded video messages.

Downey quoted from a Chaplin song saying: “Smile, though your heart is aching!”

Hawking presented an award for best special effects, joking that he was not only more intelligent but also “better-looking” than the night’s host, comedian Stephen Fry.

Source: BBC/YouTube

‘Real passion’ 

Cumberbatch, who plays World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, said the role of a man persecuted for his homosexuality had become a “cause” and a “real passion” for him in the course of filming.

The actor has signed a petition for the thousands of men who were prosecuted under anti-gay laws in Britain only repealed in 1967 to receive a pardon like the one given decades later to Turing.

At a pre-ceremony party in Kensington Palace, the London home of Prince William and his wife Kate, Cumberbatch praised the new wave of British cinema.

“Britain has had a great year across the board, across writers, producers, actors and directors. It’s a very, very good time,” Cumberbatch said.

The only cloud in the run-up to the BAFTAs was a controversy over the biopic “Selma” about Martin Luther King starring British actor David Oyelowo.

Oyelowo said the fact that the film had not been nominated sent “an odd message” but the British Academy said the movie was delivered too late.

- © AFP, 2015, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan. Originally published 10.02am

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