In Depth

The Baftas get political as Three Billboards wins big

Stars show their support for #MeToo movement but the Duchess of Cambridge stays neutral

Politics and entertainment collided again at The Baftas last night, as guests wore black to protest against sexual harassment and a demonstration broke out on the red carpet.

The big winners also came with a political bent: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - the story of a woman seeking justice for her murdered daughter - scooped most of the big prizes, including best film and best actress for Frances McDormand. The best actor was Gary Oldman, recognised for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

The awards are seen as a bellwether for the Oscars, which will be handed out next month.

Attendees at last night’s ceremony showed their support for the #MeToo campaign by wearing black or Time's Up badges, demanding greater respect and equality in film following scandals involving some of the industry’s biggest names.

Taking their cue from the Golden Globes in January, some stars were accompanied by rights and equality campaigners. Angelina Jolie, for example, was joined by Cambodian-born US writer and producer Loung Ung.

Earlier in the day, an open letter to  The Observer co-signed by 190 British and Irish actors including Carey Mulligan, Kate Winslet, Claire Foy, Noma Dumezweni, Emma Thompson, Jodie Whittaker, Sophie Okonedo, Emma Watson and Saoirse Ronan called for change.

“This movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone,” it read. “This movement is intersectional, with conversations across race, class, community, ability and work environment, to talk about the imbalance of power.”

In a separate demonstration, feminist group Sisters Uncut staged a sit-in on the red carpet to protest against the Government’s record on domestic violence.

One person who remained apolitical, however, was the Duchess of Cambridge. She stepped out on the red carpet wearing a dark green dress.

Protocol prohibits members of the royal family from supporting political protests or movements, but there had been speculation the Duchess might break with tradition and endorse Time’s Up by wearing black.

The Daily Telegraph says the dress choice proved “mildly controversial, with a few criticising the Duchess of Cambridge for not wearing black in support of the #TimesUp movement - but, overall, most people have reacted to the royal's green Jenny Packham dress with relative calm”.

While the Duchess did not follow the masses, says The Daily Mirror, “the bespoke dress features a subtle black sash and she may have chosen green as a nod to Suffragette flag colours, which stands for hope”.

The ceremony was hosted by Joanna Lumley, the first woman to take charge of it in more than 15 years.

The big Bafta winners

Best filmThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding British filmThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Leading actressWinner: Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Leading actorGary Oldman - Darkest Hour

Supporting actressAllison Janney - I, Tonya

Supporting actorSam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

DirectorThe Shape Of Water - Guillermo Del Toro

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