BAFTA Awards Party Diary: Inside the Glitziest Post Show Events
THR is on the scene in London at the hottest BAFTA after-parties.
The parties after the BAFTAS broke into two distinct types: the official dinner where everyone sat down; was relatively quiet and went on for two hours; and Harvey Weinstein’s where everyone stood up; was very, very loud and went on until deep into the wee hours. Each fulfilled their mission, but you can imagine which was more fun.
After the British Academy of Film and Television Arts presented their awards Feb 8 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden 2,000 guests went by chartered bus for the ten minute ride to the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair. The dinner, held in the massive downstairs ballroom, is the biggest event the hotel hosts all year. Getting that many black-tie guests down the staircase was not easy. It was the kind of jam packed scene that would give an L.A. fire marshal a heart attack -- just before he shut the place down.
“It looks like a really, really big wedding,” said best actress winner Julianne Moore. “It was crazy getting in.”
The room itself was beautifully, almost psychedelically lit, with tables decorated with centrepieces according to each nominated film. As an example, for Boyhood there were hanging mobiles with photos of each of the film’s characters. Since there were so many guests, a major effort was made to get everyone seated quickly so dinner could be served. If there was one major difference between this and the Oscar’s after-dinner, it was that in London people actually sit down; talk with guests at their table and eat the food. It’s a stark cultural contrast.
Among those seated was Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette who felt the BAFTAs should be held on Super Bowl Sunday. “Actors don’t care and neither do the British,” said the best supporting actress winner. “It would have the day to itself.”
She added that the reason best director winner Richard Linklater didn’t come is the night before he’d attend the DGA awards (where he didn’t win) and the combination of the astronomical cost of a private jet (for an indie filmmaker) and the fact that he’d arrive with only an hour to spare made the trip untenable.
Best film winner Boyhood also came up in a conversation with BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry who cited star Ellar Coltrane’s speech as a high point. “He really made people stop and think about their lives,” she said.
Almost every nominee was at the dinner, including Michael Keaton who said the whole award season process “starts as work and then becomes fun. If you let it be work, then it becomes a pain in the ass.”
The nominees all stayed a solid two hours at Grosvenor House, which left many of them arriving at the The Weinstein Company party at the Rosewood Hotel near Covent Garden around 11pm. Greeting them at the door was a tuba player who had gas flames billowing from his instrument’s top. How he did that was left unexplained.
Inside was essentially a dance party for 1,500 that attracted stars from competing film and stars including Cuba Gooding Jr, who said it’s events like this that draw him to London. “As a former L.A. street kid,” said the Oscar winner, “I put my black ass on a plane and indulge in the sophistication of celebrating British cinema.”
Gallery owner Larry Gagosian said the reason London can have such interesting parties is “there’s more of a cross-section of society. In L.A. you’d just have film people; here you get fashion and art mixed in.”
And while Weinstein himself did not, to put it mildly, have a good night in terms of winning awards, there’s a place in heaven for anyone who throws a truly great party and stays with it until 4 a.m.