Joined July 2007

Bernd Talasch doesn’t remember being hatched in a research laboratory in Omaha in the late 1950s so maybe that never happened....

BAFTA Awards 2014 : Brad! Angelina! Leo! Fassbender! McQueen! Scorcese!

It was a dark and cold morning. I’d just come from my hotel, which was so cheap and nasty that my four hours sleep ended up being four hours spent UNABLE to sleep, in a room that smelled vaguely of Indian cuisine. The practical upshot of which was : it was just after 4am, I’d been awake for 20 hours, and by the time the BAFTAs started I’d have been up for 31 hours (and by the time I’m posting this journal it’s 39 hours).

Still, for now it’s enough to know that according to the official unofficial queue-manager, I was 148th in line for the BAFTAs, an event that typically holds somewhere north of 1000 people.

With apologies for the length, and rambling based on tiredness that I might edit tomorrow perhaps…. Here’s how it went down.

Dark and cold morning, as prophecied. At this point I was wearing 2/3 of the layers I’d put aside for the event. It had been a mere five hours since I’d been at the pre-BAFTAs party, whose photos I’m quite happy to supplement for people I missed at the BAFTAs themselves.

After about 4 hours in line, I got a snazzy pink wristband, and we were released upon the world until around noon. Half an hour after that, we were let in the pen for a final four hour stint of waiting and analysing the crowd in the vicinity (mostly for how likely they were to go psychopathic if Leonardo Di Caprio showed up. You never can tell.).

The view of the other direction. The hope was that the pylons would force the stars into a narrow ‘300’-Zack-Snyder-like Hot Gates where their numbers would count for nothing and I could photograph them one by one. In theory. It didn’t really work all that well for the Spartans either, as I recall.

This being a royal premiere, there were sniffer dogs. They were amazingly cheerful (though the ‘explosives detection’ sticker on the other side of their ‘Police’ collar was a bit aggressive, I felt. For a sticker).

Good news : when the robot uprising comes, it’s probably more likely to be ipad-faced segway bots rather than T800 exoskeleton Arnie terminators! Most of us were equal parts fascinated and freaked out by it.

“Are you sure you segway bots are part of the National Union of Journalists?” It’s hard to say without possibly finding out that they’re also armed and programmed to destroy.

A few hours more pass and the people in our area seem pleasant, if a little on the young (ie. excitable) side. And as the sun begins to set, we have our first (human) arrival of note : actress Ruth Wilson, who was also in The Lone Ranger and Saving Mister Banks . The Lone Ranger was not nominated for any of the acting awards, which fair enough. That movie was so bad I wanted to walk out on it but couldn’t as I was on a plane crossing the Atlantic when I watched it.

I’ve been spending far too much time at London Fashion week, so this overexposed shot of Ruth Wilson last night’s Asprey pre-BAFTA party might be acceptable as a high-key fashion/art (desperation) thing.

I don’t know who the girl in the red dress is but I’d like to. As for the guy to the right seemingly picking his nose, not so much.

Christoph Waltz won Dual Best supporting Oscars and BAFTAs for the Tarantino films Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained . He promised he’d be back to sign in our area but he never did. To be fair, that’s why they call it “Acting”.

Actres Gillian Anderson was possibly mildly miffed to not be nominated for any awards this year, nor for her prior roles in movies as diverse as X-Files I Want to Believe , Johnny English Reborn and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People .

This man excited the Chinese contingent of fans near us, who said he was a very famous Chinese Film Director. Although it’s 1am right now, I feel just enough motivation to check the BAFTA website to find out which Film Not In The English Language nominee was in Chinese. Apparently none of them, which bothers me because I don’t have enough motivation to pursue this further.

I’m often fairly unaware of what today’s youth, with their rap music and backwards facing baseball caps are up to. However, I am aware of Will Pouter who won the viewers choice Rising Star award on the night. He was a lot of fun in We’re the Millers and genuinely excellent in the little-regarded movie Wild Bill

“Eighteen down, six letters, ends with ‘W’? Sorry… crosswords aren’t really my thing. I can assist with sudokus though..”

Eddie Redmayne (most recently in Les Miserables )and I have a staredown. I’m tired enough that I might have given him the five dollars he owes me.

Gwendoline Christie is in Game of Thrones and was not nominated for any BAFTA film awards. That said, at 1.91meters in height, she could probably beat up Alfonso Cuoron for any of the ones he was holding by nights end.

At far left is director Steve McQueen, whose 12 Years a Slave won best Picture on the night. Well… when I say “Won” it makes it sound like there was a raffle. In this case, it was a pretty amazing movie and deserved it.

Best actor winner Chiwetel Ejiofor said that his Best Actor BAFTA award received on the night belonged to Steve McQueen (though Chiwetel added that he himself would be keeping it anyway). McQueen seemed happy enough.

When I last photographed the very beautiful Samantha Barks at the premiere of Les Miserables she was wearing what appeared to be a shark-damaged dress. This one possibly involved a lot less bloodshed. She appears to have a boyfriend, but then so does everybody.

Legendary director Martin Scorcese zipped up the BAFTAs red carpet with a speed and determination that would be impressive in a man one third his age. He didn’t win any awards on the night, but then again : he’s Martin Scorcese. At some point winning more awards just mean having to clear more space on yet more mantelpieces to show them.

Daniel Bruehl was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as race driver Niki Lauda in Ron Howard’s Rush

and Niki Lauda himself also attended, wearing the same cap he wore at the premiere of Rush That might have been the only instance of both the ‘real’ and ‘actor’ of the same character showing up at the awards (though George Clooney tends to play George Clooney in most movies he’s in – which is not a criticism,mind you)

“Of course I was insulted. I did a heap of driving in that movie, and they made me sit in the back of a limo to get here!”

Alfonso Cuaron directed (and won best Director) for Gravity which I watched and thought was excellent. So, well done (by a circuitous form of reasoning) me!

Lupita Nyong’o was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave and also the Rising Star Award. She lost the latter to the aforementioned Will Poulter, and the former to Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”. Sadly, Jennifer was unable to attend the ceremony… but that’s okay because she and I will always have that moment we shared at last year’s BAFTAs

Lupita Nyong’o was magnificent in “12 Years A Slave” – award or no, her performance was amazing. (I don’t really have anything amusing to say about that – I didn’t have anything amusing to say about ANYTHING for hours after watching that movie)

I’ve never photographed Luke Evans before – he has a role in the last two “Hobbit” movies and was the bad guy in “Fast and Furious 6” . But I’ve photographed bow ties like his before, though. They’re nice… I guess. My beanie for the Baftas was less formal and less shiny, but also black. I try to make an effort.

I last snapped Tom Hanks drinking coffee at the premiere of Saving Mister Banks at least year’s London Film Festival, but about a week before that I photographed him at the premiere of Captain Philips for which he received a BAFTA nomination. He lost to Chiwetel Ejiofor, but all that aside I doubt strongly that it sucks to be Tom Hanks.

Tragedy strikes as Cate Blanchett manages to glide past me while I was otherwise distracted by the seething throngs of people behind me. Her nomination for Best Actress (which she won) was for the movie Blue Jasmine which I can’t say I enjoyed as a movie, but playing an unpleasant character does tend to give one an edge at Awards season. Han Solo never won ANY Oscars.

Amazingly, a second runthrough of the photos showed Cate Blanchett in the background of a photo I’d assumed was just Tom Hanks! (I’ll take my excitement where I can get it. Photographically speaking, I mean)

Amy Adams almost slid past as well. I really like her, but taking a great shot of her continues to be difficult, though I’ve had attepts at last year’s BAFTAs and also the Man of Steel premiere . Stalking is an option at this point, but I hear it’s not condoned by her well-trained security detail.

Amy Adams was also at yesterday’s Asprey Party, where like all photographers not in the ‘pro’ section, I needed a combination of stepstool, lack of passing traffic, luck, and voodoo (and also ‘not an iphone’) along with the flashes of paparazzi across the road from me.

Fortunately Barkhad Abdi was at yesterday’s Asprey Party as well, as otherwise he would also have slipped by me on the Red Carpet. I’m pleased I seemed to get both him and his shadow casting separate poses in this shot, somehow!

I was also lucky to photograph both Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee at Asprey because they ALSO eluded me on the BAFTAs red carpet (either that or I had a ten minute microsleep or something because I seemed to have missed everyone for a while there) – they co-directed the BAFTA-winning animated feature “Frozen” and Jennifer Lee was also the screenwriter.

Back on the Red Carpet of the BAFTAs, Paul Greengrass takes a left-handed selfie on the red carpet in front of me. I feel kind of hurt that he didn’t ask me or anyone in the crowd to take the shot..

Once more, I got a better shot of him at Asprey (plus an autograph : he directed the Bourne Trilogy as well as Captain Philips )

Similarly, this was Ron Howard at Asprey, whose autograph I did not get. I also photographed him at the BAFTAs, but only in profile. He’s a good looking man in profile, sure.. but I like this jacket in this. It’s a nice jacket – functional rather than formal. I’m also very tired because apparently I’m spending more time thinking about Ron Howard’s jacket than anything else right now.

Not only do I feel I should know who this is, but I shouldn’t be nearly as distracted by that man in the background’s hat as I am, or that the woman he’s with appears to have another woman’s head growing out of the back of her head. I probably shouldn’t stare – it would make me and them (either or both) uncomfortable.

Maniacally Cool Insanity reigns as the Emma Thompson arrives. She was nominated for “Best Actress” for Saving Mister Banks where she was just as rubber-faced and cool and I’d also photographed her at Men in Black 3 where she danced and spoke in an alien language. Things are never, ever dull when Emma Thompson is around.

“Babe, we had youtube back in the 1960s. We just called it television” Bruce Dern was nominated for Best Actor for “Nebraska” (he’s also been nominated for an Oscar, plus two other nominations in the past).

Bruce Dern was also at yesterday’s Asprey Party, where I like to think he went crazy-nuts on the dancefloor and embarrassed people a quarter his age. (I can afford to assume this because there’s no evidence and I don’t think idle speculation counts as defamation).

Issuing banned gang signs on a BAFTA red carpet in that dress? I’m impressed.

Sally Hawkins was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award, but also lost to Jennfier Lawrence just like everybody else except the guy above from Captain Phillips. She was Cate Blanchett’s sister in Blue Jasmine

Stanley Tucci is very cool in all his roles, and is a personal hero of mine as I think that among all the bald male white action stars, he seems to be the one that offers a different paradigm to go with the lack of hair.

OMG It’s Leonardo DiCaprio, and although the girls behind us had proven themselves to be charming and dignified examples of humanity up til now, that was about to change somewhat.

To the distraught anguish of all the girls around me, I think Leo and I made a connection that they and he did not. I promise to watch Wolf of Wall Street eventually, and/but while I am flattered at the attention, I am sadly not interested.

Another shot of a calmer, more restrained Emma Thompson this time. Though the hair does retain a complexity that puts it at 7.2 on the 10.0-point Streep-Duchonvy scale

I’ve only photographed Maggie Gyllenhall once previously, and I wouldn’t have classed myself a fan of hers. But I recently watched “Crazy Heart” and I thought she was very good in that. (See? Already our troubled relationship is starting to mend!).

One of the few people who came out of the Twilight Saga of movies with acting credential not just unchanged but arguably elevated (?): Michael Sheen, who also played Tony Blair in ‘The Queen’ and football coach Brian Clough in the rather excellent The Damned United

I’ve done over 200 premieres and events, but until now I’d never photographed Uma Thurman before. I’m rather pleased by this. She was great in Gattaca. .. also Kill Bill.

Steve Coogan is better known as a comedian, but he was so moved by the book/story of “Philomena” that he optioned the rights and co-wrote the screenplay as well as starring in it. It got nominated for best film and best British film (and didn’t win) but it did win best Adapted Screenplay on the night. Sadly, when I read a book I like, I generally tweet about it… I don’t buy the movie rights.

His dress sense was also quite Dapper at the Asprey party the prior evening. I’ve currently got ‘Hamlet 2’ paused in the background while I’m typing this. I’ll let you know what I think later.

The host of the BAFTAs, Stephen Fry, hosted the event from 2001-2006 and also 2013. Frankly, I think he should be appointed the job for life… mostly to ensure he doesn’t step down ever again. You know all those cringe-worthy award hosts you get at these sorts of events? He’s not one of them.

Brad’n’Ange arrive and the girls around me start to swoon! (Ladies : his wife is RIGHT THERE. Try to be subtle about it at least) (also : I’M single… what’s the deal : Brad Pitt and I are still equal in number of Oscars won so we’re not too dissimilar)

Given the number of people I’ve missed photographing on the red carpet so far, I’m rather pleased right now. The crushing of the fans behind me might have made me light-headed as well. That or it’s Angelina Jolie.

And then the crowd cheered, surged and wailed as two the A+ listers walked over to us and then started signing autographs in our area. I’d photographed Angelina Jolie at a non-premiere non-event a while ago, and Brad Pitt at a prior BAFTA awards, but sadly missed photographing both at last year’s World War Z premiere debacle. But I was disinclined to stop taking photos on that narrow pretext.

I actually had a THIRD camera in play at this year’s BAFTAs – a little GoPro. Sadly I am not an extreme sports afficionado so my mad/radical skillz mistakenly set it to interval shooting rather than burst mode, meaning about 2/3 of all the photos it took on the night were of the inside of my jacket pocket. (I try so hard to be cool…)

When it wasn’t taking photos of the inside of my jacket pocket though, entirely unbeknownst to me it was snapping a shot every couple of seconds even when I was just holding it in preparation. So just in case you want to know what part of me looks like when I’m wielding a Pentax and a pink wristband.. here you go!

Rather incredibly, this isn’t so much a bad photo of Brad Pitt as it is a very fortunate and accidental photo of Oprah Winfrey in the background!

And I would either have missed the night’s Best Actor winner Chiwetel Ejiofor (from Twelve Years A Slave ) entirely if it wasn’t for Brad’n’Ange drawing my camer into their orbit. That, or I would have photographed him more easily without their giant combined starpower drawing everything into their orbit.

I would happily and deliberately wear an askew bowtie if Angelina Jolie (or nearest available equivalent) was available to straighten it with care.

Meanwhile, BAFTA Fellowship awardee Helen Mirren DID scuttle past me in the confusion…

Fortunately I’d photographed her at the Asprey party the prior night AND previously at the premieres of State of Play and The Debt . She has a tattoo, I can confirm. (It’s on her hand, before you start creating weird theories to explain how I know this).

Bradley Cooper also almost eluded me, though at least I’d previously photographed him at the GQ Awards in 2011 and The Hangover Part III . Assuming the ongoing rumours (and trailer) turn out to be true, he really IS going to be providing the voice of a RACCOON in an upcoming Marvel superhero movie.

Late reflexes allowed me to quickly snap a side-profile shot of actor Christian Bale, nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA but losing like so many before him to Chiwetel Ejiofor. His role was in American Hustle, which I don’t believe had a premiere, and that’s certainly my criteria for whether you should be allowed to win a BAFTA. (Jennifer Lawrence gets a pass on that rule)

“Pay me later – I gotta get to my seat or they’ll give it to a filler!” Michael Fassbender dispenses a quick autograph. I heard an autograph dealer say he preferrd ‘clean shaven’ Fassbender, but given the dealers’ general lack of hygiene I don’t consider the criticism valid.

Partially obscured Michael Fassbender to round out the evening?

Not quite…. as the carpet is cleared to allow the royal presence of Prince William to walk the red carpet unmolested and undisturbed.

… and after that, it really was time to head back to the office, pick up my crap, head home, cue leftovers and the BAFTAs ceremony and stay up til (checks clock) 2:40am doing editing for the journal. I’m pretty glad I booked a day off tomorrow. I’ll be sleeping in til noon.

So…. that makes it a FOURTH BAFTA to go with the other three:
Awards – Baftas 2013 – Clooney! Lawrence! Affleck! Cooper! etc!
Awards – Baftas 2012 – featuring Pitt, Clooney and Streep!
Awards – Baftas 2010 – featuring R-Patz and K-Stewz!

and a very large journal to add to the collection that is The Archive of Movie Premieres

Twitter : @berndt2_photo

… I’m going to get some sleep now.

And finally : how it was done. Medium/long range with the Pentax K5 and Tamron 70-200mm, Short Range with the Nikon D700 and 50mm f1.8 combo, a GoPro to prove that multitasking doesn’t work, spare batteries (because I’m not that cocky) and Bafta public pen wristband. You need that last one… along with a certain level of ‘Zen’ to deal with the fact that a lower number helps, but won’t really guarantee you anything.

Until next time (I guess!)

Journal Comments

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