BAFTA Awards: Trumpian Politics Take Center Stage Across Speeches

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Donald Trump

The activities of the new U.S. president were — unsurprisingly — a common theme across many of the acceptance speeches.

Given that Donald Trump's proposed state visit to the U.K. has seen a million-plus signature petition and major street protests, it was perhaps unsurprising that the new U.S. president — or, more accurately, Trumpian politics — was widely referenced in Britain's biggest award ceremony. 

The BAFTAs, which took place Sunday night at London's Royal Albert Hall, witnessed a cacophony of dissent against the politics of Trump, although few mentioned the man by name. 

In her opening comments, BAFTA chair Jane Lush kicked things off with a reference to upcoming immigration control efforts. "Such is the amount of British talent in Hollywood, I worry that someone will stick a wall across the Atlantic in a bid to keep us out," she said. 

Host Stephen Fry predictably offered a few suitable gags aimed at Trump. "If you didn’t win, I’m sure you will take it with grace and honor and not reject the result by an individual judiciary," he joked.

Double BAFTA-winner Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan said that after the U.S. election in November his daughter woke up in tears. "She turned 15 two weeks ago and she has been on five protest demonstrations in that time," he added. "I’m very proud of her."

Viola Davis, winner of the best supporting actress award, hit out at Trump's post-Golden Globes attack on Meryl Streep. "Anyone who labels Meryl Streep an overrated actress doesn’t know anything about acting," she said. "That’s not even just directed towards Donald Trump, that’s directed to anyone. This is someone who’s a master of her skill … On top of one of all those things, she is the most honorable, the most accessible human being you could possibly want to meet."

On accepting the best actress award for La La Land, Emma Stone said that "this country, and the U.S. and the world, seems to be going through a bit of a time ... just a bit. And a time that’s so divisive I think it’s really special that we're able to come together, thanks to BAFTA, to celebrate the positive gift of creativity ... to help people feel less alone."

But it wasn't only the U.S. where attention was focused, with Ken Loach — winner of best British film honors for I, Daniel Blake — using his opportunity onstage to attack the U.K. government.

"Thank you to the Academy for endorsing the truth," he said. "And that is that the most vulnerable and poorest people are treated by this government with the most callous brutality ... and it’s a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children."

Loach concluded by saying that the "difference between the film world and the real world is that in the real world it's getting darker."