BAFTA: 5 Fun Facts Hollywood Should Know

5:37 PM PST 02/08/2012 by Bill Higgins, Stuart Kemp

This story first appeared in the Feb. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

From scandals to awesome gift bags, the need-to-know info about the U.K.’s biggest film event before Feb. 12.

PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of BAFTA 2011

1. William Won’t Be There

This year, the Feb. 12 BAFTAs have lost their biggest bold-face name — Prince William. He’s the president and royal patron of BAFTA, but he has been deployed to the Falkland Islands, where he will serve with a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter crew. Jokes about “the only tuxedos he’ll be seeing will be on penguins” will probably fall flat. No word yet on whether Kate Middleton will fly solo.

2. There is a Hot Scandal
This year sees the return of popular BAFTA host Stephen Fry, but the circumstances surrounding his comeback are less than ideal for ceremony organizers. Fry replaces Jonathan Ross, the U.K.’s highest-paid talk show host and entertainer, who failed to renew his longtime producing relationship with the BBC in 2010 following a 12-week suspension. His offense? He made obscene phone calls to the actor Andrew Sachs, including one in which Ross discussed performing a sex act on the 78-year-old. Ross now has his own chat show on commercial network ITV and is expected to be on the scene during BAFTA weekend. Bets are being placed as to whether he will show up at the ceremony.

STORY: BAFTA 2012 Nominations

3. Emma is the ‘IT’ GIRL

Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter films, will lend glamour to the run-up to this year’s BAFTAs. The actress, voted the most beautiful face of 2011 on T.C. Candler’s 22nd annual critics list, will host Lancome’s pre-BAFTA party Feb. 10. The party will be staged at the 121-year-old Savoy hotel, London’s landmark destination hostelry that reopened in 2010 after a £220 million ($350 million) refurbishment.

4. The Goodie Bag is Bulging

Win or lose, all nominees will get to drink from an exclusive gift-boxed BAFTA bottle of champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve NV, then celebrate or drown their sorrows with the help of a snifter poured from a bottle of Disaronno liqueur. For those who need to find a spot to write down any replacement agents’ details, this year’s goodie bag offers a taupe premium-leather Escada notebook with handmade pocket finish. Other gifts include a selection of beauty products from Lancome, Charles Worthington hair-care products and Hackett cuff links, all contained within a limited-edition Anya Hindmarch bag designed for BAFTA.

5. Harvey looms large

The BAFTAs offer Hollywood types an opportunity to experience some serious “big fish in a small pond” syndrome. British producers — who in Hollywood would be considered nice guys who make nice little movies — are at the top of the food chain in London. But when someone like Harvey Weinstein arrives, he ranks somewhere near David Beckham in terms of local awe. Indeed, Weinstein has made the BAFTAs his personal turf. His is the only U.S.-based studio that regularly brings in stars and throws a party. This year, however, he’ll share the spotlight with Hugo nominee Martin Scorsese as well as Fox Searchlight’s Steve Gilula and the cast of The Help.

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