Our Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film went to Quentin Tarantino (above left), who finished up the evening with a lively and surprisingly brief speech. His Inglourious Basterds leading man Christoph Waltz (above centre) took the Actor of the Year award.
Acting honours included (above left to right), Carey Mulligan as British Actress of the Year for An Education, Colin Firth as British Actor of the Year for A Single Man and Anne-Marie Duff as supporting actress for Nowhere Boy. Special videotaped acceptance speeches were sent in by Mo'Nique as Actress of the Year for Precious and Duncan Jones as British breakthrough film-maker for Moon. And there was a third taped thank you from Francis Ford Coppola for the 30th Anniversary Award, which was given to Apocalypse Now. The award was accepted on stage by the film's cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. The only other winner who wasn't present was Kathryn Bigelow, Director of the Year for The Hurt Locker; her award was accepted by the film's sound designer.
And finally (above left to right), here's the surprise winner of Film of the Year, Jacques Audiard for A Prophet; Tomas Alfredson, who won Foreign Film of the Year for Let the Right One In; the most glamorous nominated couple, Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson, who were up for British director, breakthrough film-maker and young performer for Nowhere Boy; and the night's best outfit, Olivia Williams, who was nominated for her role in An Education.
Personally, I had a great night. After months working in the background to help make things come together for the event, it was fun to sit back and enjoy it. The celebrities on our table were George MacKay, nominated for The Boys Are Back, and Riz Ahmed of the acclaimed British indie Shifty, who presented the Young Performer award. This year's surreal conversations included a chat with Colin Firth and Jason Isaacs, during which Colin confessed that he, not Tom Ford, actually chose those heavy vintage specs for his A Single Man character and Jason said he'd never host another event like this, even though we told him what a great job he'd done.
I also had an enjoyable lively chat with Olivia Williams and Andy Serkis, who of course starred together in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (for which Andy was nominated). I couldn't help but gush a little over Olivia's amazing performance in Roman Polanski's The Ghost, which I'd just seen two nights before. And of course I had to talk with Andy about getting back into Gollum's skin for The Hobbit - he said he's appearing in both films but won't be spending as many months in New Zealand this time: "I have kids now!"