On the night Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri cleaned up at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, the red carpet played host to a parade of stars wearing black.
The sparkling ceremony – Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars – was notable for the monochromatic black dress code of the majority of its attendees, along with Time’s Up badges, in solidarity with victims of abuse.
While it was the actors and directors taking home the awards, it was the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment and bullying and #MeToo campaign that dominated the night.
Actress Joanna Lumley opened the awards, praising the “determination to eradicate the abuse of women the world over”.
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Even the Duchess of Cambridge eschewed bright colour, wearing a black ribbon belt with a dark green dress in a nod to the movement, despite the Royal family’s usual protocol of avoiding any political statements.
A minor protest by a group called Sisters Uncut, which was protesting over the Government’s upcoming Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, also briefly disturbed the red carpet.
British writer-director Martin McDonagh, whose film Three Billboards took home five awards, said he felt the film’s theme – an angry woman deciding to act – was appropriate to the mood of the time.
As the winner of best film, he said: “As we’ve seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change.”
Gary Oldman took home the best actor award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, making him a favourite to bag an Oscar in March.
Many of Britain’s female stars – including Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, Emma Watson and Gemma Arterton – also signed an open letter ahead of the awards demanding an end to sexual harassment.
More than 190 entertainers, academics and activists have added their signatures, giving their voice to the protests over sexual harassment which have been growing since allegations against American film producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced last October.
What did the Bafta stars tell Sky News about Times Up and #MeToo:
Frances McDormand, best actress
Mcdormand, who wore a red and black dress, said: “I have a little trouble with compliance but I stand in full solidarity with my sisters wearing black.
“I appreciate a well organised act of disobedience… Let it (this film) be a part of the positive public discourse that is happening…
“Not only are they entertaining they encourage a longer and broader conversation… when I was a young actor in drama School I was told that I was not gifted and I’d have to work for it, so I did… Power to the people.”
Hayek, who told Sky News she was abused psychologically as well as physically, said: “I’ve been an activist for women’s rights for 20 years.”
Saoirse Ronan, best actress nominee
“It feels like an important time.”
Sam Rockwell, best supporting actor
“I stood on the shoulders of ‘strong, intelligent, righteous women’.”
Kristin Scott Thomas, supporting actress nominee
Scott Thomas said she is pleased by the conversation the entertainment industry is having about misconduct, but thinks a tougher task will be “moving it from conversation to action”.
Riseborough said the film industry sorely needs greater diversity, adding: “It’s more likely we’ll see an alien onscreen than we’ll see an Asian woman at the moment, which is disgraceful.”