As the last awards stopover for two weeks before the Oscars, the Orange British Academy Film Awards could have made things fun by rejecting Slumdog Millionaire just for the hell of it. Oh well.
Instead, Fox Searchlight's critical/commercial darling hoarded seven more trophies, including that for Best Picture and honors for director Danny Boyle, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle and composer A.R. Rahman. All continue to be favored for Oscar night, as does Kate Winslet, who won Best Actress for The Reader. Mickey Rourke broke further away from Sean Penn, winning for The Wrestler and continuing his Sort-Of-Humble Comeback Tour '08-'09 by thanking director Darren Aronofsky for casting him despite "fucking up my career for 15 years."
The evening continued (mostly) predictably elsewhere as well: Benjamin Button went 3-for-11, winning only for production design, make-up and visual effects. Heath Ledger, Penelope Cruz and WALL-E each topped their respective categories, while In Bruges's unlikely awards-season resurgence continued with a Best Original Screenplay prize for Martin McDonagh. He'll again face off against Milk's Dustin Lance Black — without the European home-field advantage — at the Oscars. Enjoy that rare competitive category; the rest, as they say, is written.