May 18, 2021

Baftas 2021: Britain’s big film awards night – live!

All the action as Bafta goes virtual for its star-studded awards ceremony and the industry’s best-known names wait with bated breath

Now, before the show starts, I have a couple of updates. The first is that there has actually been a red carpet of sorts. Obviously it’s much smaller than usual – Tom Hiddleston appears to be the biggest name there – but it does present us with a chance to play a new red carpet game called Vaccinated, Thirsty, Or Unintimidated By Death.

This is how it works: you look at a picture of a real-life Bafta attendee and try to figure out whether they’re old enough to have realistically already been given a double dose of Covid vaccine (my money is on Jonathan Pryce for this), whether they’re so attention seeking that they’re willing to risk their own health for a photo opportunity (hello Tom Hiddleston), or whether they place a genuinely terrifying lack of value on their own life (best guess: Pedro Pascal). Fun game, right? Have fun in the comments.

Welcome, one and all, to the 2021 Guardian Bafta awards liveblog. As you might have already gathered, tonight’s Baftas will be slightly unusual. There will be two hosts instead of one, for example, and some of the awards were given out at a separate ceremony last night. Oh, and barely anyone will be in attendance, for fear that they’ll cough and accidentally wipe out the entire international film-making community.

That’s right, it’s going to be another semi-virtual awards show. In truth, we’ve had a year of these already, so we already know what to expect. This Bafta ceremony will be smaller in scale than usual. There’ll be no traditional red carpet to speak of, so everyone will just Instagram their dresses from their own living rooms. There won’t be an afterparty, so I won’t end the evening crammed into a hotel basement right next to the toilets, like last year. Plus, if you’ve watched any of the nominated films at all, you probably didn’t watch them in a cinema, what with the pandemic and all.

But let’s not get too downhearted, because tonight also comes with a great big plus. Like usual the Baftas took place earlier today, so like usual what we’re about to watch are just edited highlights. But this year there’s no crowd, so people won’t tweet the awards as soon as they’re announced. And this means that these are the first Baftas in living memory where the awards will actually be a surprise to television viewers.

That’s bad news for me, because it means I can’t just cut and paste the winners into the liveblog like I usually do. But, you know, good news for everyone else and stuff.

The Baftas will begin at 7pm. Be back here promptly, please.