Netflix black-and-white production "Roma" triumphed at the Bafta film awards on Sunday, boosting Oscar hopes for the US streaming giant despite concerns its business model undermines the film industry.
The cinematic love letter to director Alfonso Cuaron's childhood in Mexico City in the 1970s edged out black comedy "The Favourite" for best film and best director.
"I'm seriously touched this film has been received the way it's been received," Cuaron said at a star-studded ceremony in London's Royal Albert Hall that was also attended by Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Cuaron thanked Netflix for "having the courage" to get behind "Roma" as he picked up the gong on stage.Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron poses with the awards for a Director and for Best Film for 'Roma' at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 10, 2019. Photo: AFP
The success of the film "in an age where fear and anger are proposed to divide us means the world to me", he said.
Netflix UK tweeted its congratulations, saying it was a "deeply moving film and deserves all the love it's getting".
The film portrays domestic strife and social hierarchy amid political turmoil and focuses on a housekeeper and nanny called Cleo, played by indigenous actress Yalitza Aparicio.
"Roma" dented expectations of a clean sweep by "The Favourite" which picked up best actress for Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and best supporting actress for Rachel Weisz playing her confidante and lover.Olivia Colman holds the award for leading actress for her performance in 'The Favourite' at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 10, 2019.Photo: Reuters
The film, about a cantankerous 18th-century British queen and her scheming court, had been nominated for 12 awards and picked up seven on the night.
"She doesn't take herself too seriously and she enjoys what she's doing," Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos said of Colman.
Colman, 45, was up against Glenn Close ("The Wife") and Lady Gaga ("A Star is Born") -- the same power duo she will face at the Oscars on February 24.
Weisz won out against co-star Emma Stone who was nominated in the same category.British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding.Photo: AFP
Weisz and Stone are also in the running for Oscars in a proud year for the British film industry.
RED CARPET FOR NETFLIX?
"Roma" is also nominated for best picture at the Oscars later this month, the first-ever nomination for Netflix which has propelled it into the Hollywood club of elite filmmakers.
While it has progressively been welcomed at most major film festivals, Netflix still finds that Tinseltown's red carpet is not fully rolled out -- with theatres up in arms about its position as a distribution king and A-list content provider.Salma Hayek arrives at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain, February 10, 2019. Photo: Reuters
After the Oscar nominations came out, mega-theatre chains AMC and Regal -- by far the top two in the business in America -- announced that "Roma" would not be screened in their annual best-picture showcases.
In all, "Roma" was shown in roughly 900 theatres around the world -- more than any other Netflix film, but far short of the norm for a usual wide release. Netflix never released any box office data.
While Netflix has made some good-faith efforts to gain Hollywood's acceptance, it did so while only making minor concessions -- and no changes to its business model.
It only waited three weeks after the release of "Roma" in theatres to put it up on its platform, far less than the 90 days that cinema owners ask studios to hold back.US actor Rami Malek poses with the award for a Leading Actor for his work on the film 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 10, 2019.Photo: AFP
Last year's ceremony saw Hollywood stars paint the red carpet black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement.
The 2019 edition has also been tinged by scandal.
Bafta removed "Bohemian Rhapsody" director Bryan Singer from the Queen biopic's citation in the outstanding British film nomination "in light of recent very serious allegations".
This referred to an article in the US magazine The Atlantic detailing sexual misconduct allegations that included underage sex.Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for the BAFTABritish Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 10, 2019.Photo: AFP
Singer denies the story and the film itself was still up for the award, although it failed to win it.
Rami Malek's portrayal of the late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury -- a victim of the AIDS epidemic in the days when homosexuality was taboo in rock-and-roll -- earned him the best actor award, however.
After winning the Bafta, he paid tribute to Mercury as "the greatest outsider of them all".
Malek won against Christian Bale's transformation into the humourless but powerful former US vice president Dick Cheney in "Vice".
Best supporting actor went to Mahershala Ali for "Green Book", a comedy-drama in which he plays a jazz pianist on a tour of America's Deep South in 1962.
"Free Solo" -- a film about the first person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes -- won the award for best documentary.
Check out more photos from the red carpet here:Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh. Photo: AFPBritish-Guyanese actress Letitia Wright. Photo: AFPBritish-US actress Lily Collins. Photo: AFPUS director Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee. Photo: AFPAustralian actress Margot Robbie. Photo: AFPAustralian actress Cate Blanchett. Photo: AFPRussian model Irina Shayk. Photo: AFPUS actor Bradley Cooper. Photo: AFPUS actor Mahershala Ali. Photo: AFPFrench-US actor Timothee Chalamet. Photo: AFPBritish actress Rachel Weisz. Photo: AFPBritish musician Brian May and wife Anita Dobson. Photo: AFPBritish actress Millie Mackintosh. Photo: AFPBritish actor Richard Madden. Photo: AFP