Rebel Wilson receives mixed reception as BAFTAs host as The Power of the Dog and Dune dominate

Wilson explained the middle finger was the international sign language for ‘Putin’. Source: BAFTA

Rebel Wilson has received mixed reviews for her turn as host of the UK’s British Academy Film Awards, which saw her raise a middle finger to Vladimir Putin and cause some starts to squirm at her mock-James Bond revelation.

In a post-pandemic return to a glitzy presentation in London, the Jane Campion-directed The Power of the Dog and the latest take on sci-fi classic Dune, dominated the awards.

Slimmed-down Australian actress Wilson opened the awards by announcing she will be taking over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.

“I don’t want people going crazy because there will be a female James Bond, it’s not going to change things that much,” said the Pitch Perfect star, who was dressed in a Bond-appropriate sparkly red gown.

“Here’s my pitch for the new Bond film – Bond goes to Australia and it can be called Die And G’day,” she added.


Wilson also made a political statement while introducing a performance inspired by the film CODA about a teenager coming of age in a deaf family.

“In this performance there are two different interpreters,” she said.

“One is signing ASL, which is American sign language, and one of them is signing BSL which is British Sign Language,” Wilson explained.

“Luckily, though, in all sign languages, this is the gesture for Putin,” she said, raising her middle finger to the camera the audience laughed and clapped.

Wilson made reference to her dramatic weight loss, joking: “I might look a bit different from the last time you saw me here. That was me two years ago and since then I’ve done quite a transformation – I hope JK Rowling still approves.

“Everyone is asking me, why did you lose weight? Clearly it was to get the attention of Robert Pattinson,” she said.

She continued: “I didn’t lose weight just to get a guy, I did it to get more acting roles,

“Now I can play the non-funny love interest in an Adam Sandler film.”

While some BAFTA viewers were supportive of Wilson’s humorous hosting, others took to social media describing it variously as a “car crash” and “crude“.

Award winners

Dark western The Power Of The Dog scooped the top two honours at the BAFTAs, winning best film and director for Campion.

New Zealand filmmaker Campion wrapped up a successful weekend for her comeback feature film, after winning the top honours at the Directors Guild of America awards in Beverly Hills the day before.

Based on the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage, the critically-acclaimed movie set on a 1920s Montana ranch marks the return of Oscar winner Campion to feature films since 2009’s Bright Star.

“Jane … you are a visionary whose trail blazed through the last 30 years of cinema with stories about the silenced, the under-represented and the misunderstood,” producer Tanya Seghatchian said as she accepted the award on behalf of Campion, who was absent.

“You’ve inspired legions of women to find their voices. We’re here because of you.”

There were references to the war in Ukraine, with some nominees wearing ribbons and badges in the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag or speaking about the crisis on the red carpet and on stage.

Dune, a mammoth adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, had lead nominations with 11 nods, mainly in the creative and technical categories. It won five awards.

Belfast, Kenneth Brannagh’s semi-autobiographical black and white comedy drama set at the onset of Northern Ireland’s three decades of conflict, won outstanding British film.

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake won two awards, including best supporting actress for Ariana DeBose.

Fresh from his win at the Screen Actors Guild awards, Troy Katsur, who is deaf, won supporting actor for CODA, a coming-of-age story about the only hearing member of a deaf family.

An absent Will Smith won the leading actor award for playing the father of tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, while Joanna Scanlan won leading actress for portraying a widow who discovers her late husband’s devastating secret in After Love.

-with AAP

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