Baftas 2020: ‘1917’ marks an Indian connection at awards gala

BAFTA. (Photo: Twitter/@BAFTA)

Mumbai:  Reliance Entertainment and Amblin Partners war drama “1917”, a World War I masterpiece, continued its golden run in the awards circuit this year. The film has now emerged the big winner at the 2020 British Academy of Film and Television Film Awards (BAFTAs).

Sam Mendes’ film took home seven awards, which included the Best Film, Director and Outstanding British Film at the star-studded ceremony on Sunday night in London.

The World War 1 thriller, which was nominated in nine categories at BAFTA, also won awards for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Best Production Design (Dennis Gassner and Lee Sandales), Best Sound (Scott Millan, Oliver Tarney, Rachael Tate, Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson) and Special Visual Effects (Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron and Dominic Tuohy).

Elated with the win, Mendes said: “There’s the personal delight in seeing a story very close to me and my family be developed and enlarged but the massive thing has been audiences going in large numbers.”

“None of us knew if an audience would turn up, it wasn’t certain at all. It’s coincided with awards season and the fact this is still number one in the UK after four weeks, (the awards have) really alerted people to the fact the movie is on, it rarely happens like that,” he added.

Inspired by the stories that Oscar-winning director Mendes’ grandfather told him, “1917” has had a great run this awards season with 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for the forthcoming 92nd Academy Awards, which is scheduled to be held on February 9 in Los Angeles.

The film previously won three awards at the Critics’ Choice Awards 2020 for Best Director, Best Cinematographer and Best Editing. The film also won accolades at the 77th Golden Globes, with an award for Best Picture in the Drama category, and the Best Director’s award for Mendes.

The film also bagged an award for Best Feature Film at Directors Guild of America Awards and honoured with the Best Picture award at the Producers Guild of America Awards.

The film is about two young Lance Corporals, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) during the First World War, who are given an almost impossible mission. Racing against time, they must deliver a message deep inside enemy territory. The message is important to stop their own men — including Blake’s brother — from walking into a death trap.

Although the lead cast comprises greenhorn actors, “1917” also features feted actors as Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Mark Strong in pivotal roles.

DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment present, in association with New Republic Pictures, a Neal Street production, produced in association with Mogambo, “1917” was released in India by Reliance Entertainment last month.