Snubs, pups and ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’: The best moments from BAFTAs 2024

The evening was brimming with emotional, humorous, and awe-inspiring moments on stage as the stars came together to honour the finest films of 2023.

The 77th annual British Academy Film Awards have confirmed what pundits already know: Oppenheimer is the film to beat this year at the Oscars. Christopher Nolan’s opus scored for best film and director during tonight’s ceremony, held for the second year at London’s Royal Festival Hall. But while many of the winners were well-predicted, not everything that took place was quite so expected. The BAFTAs satisfied with a loveable host, a pronounced focus on diversity and a celebration of British productions, including Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, which, oddly, won outstanding British film as well as picking up the award for film not in the English language (a first).

Below, catch a rundown of all the moments you might have missed from the 2024 ceremony at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, from David Tennant’s stint as host to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s infectious rendition of ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’.

Bring on the Anglophiles

 There wasn’t a single British male up for best actor or supporting actor this year and supporting actress nominee Rosamund Pike told The Independent on the red carpet: “I don’t have much faith in British people rallying round their own… so I was really delighted to be nominated.” Still, us Brits received a lot of love from across the pond courtesy of the likes of Emma Stone and Robert Downey Jr, two of Sunday night’s big winners. Stone started her acceptance speech for best actress in Poor Things by thanking her dialect coach. “He did not laugh at me when I had to say ‘water’ [in an English accent]. Backstage, she also learned a new bit of British slang when asked a question about “having a chinwag”.

Shout-out to the Oppenhomies

Best actor winner Cillian Murphy probably made his teenage sons cringe when he thanked his “Oppenhomies” in his acceptance speech. He’s the first Irish-born performer to win a best actor BAFTA and said, “I’m a really proud Irishman, it means a lot.” He added: “People have come up to me on the street and said they’ve seen the film [Oppenheimer] five, six, seven times… It’s very humbling… And it’s been a brilliant year for cinema.” At three hours long, six or seven times might be just a bit too much.

Barbie walked away empty-handed.

Despite copping four nominations, Barbie did not win a single award at the BAFTAs. This included nominations for stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, whose performances simply weren’t ‘Kenough’ for the voters. This doesn’t put Barbie in the best position for the Oscars, which typically reflects the people and films honours by Britain’s equivalent awards ceremony. Meanwhile, Killers of the Flower Moon also went home empty-handed with the emotionally-loaded Native American story missing out on all nine of its BAFTA nominations.

David Tennant and his dog

Host David Tennant was an all-round success this year, with his natural enthusiasm proving infectious and a genuinely funny script. However, at one point he appeared on stage holding fellow actor Michael Sheen’s dog, who admittedly stole the show.

Michael J Fox was a moment

Many online had hoped he would make an appearance despite not being on the confirmed guest list ahead of the awards on Sunday. So it was a thrill to see Back to the Future legend Michael J Fox presenting the award for best picture. There was a standing ovation for the star, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when he was just 29, and rarely makes public appearances. Since then, the 62-year-old has gone on to raise millions for research into the disease and also raises awareness through The Michael J Fox Foundation. Many on social media said his appearance brought them to tears.

Saltburn‘s night was bittersweet

While Emerald Fennell’s twisted thriller failed to convert any of its five nominations into awards, it still dominated the headlines as Sophie Ellis Bextor took to the stage to perform ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’. Her 2002 track has enjoyed something of a renaissance since being used during the infamous final scene of the film as Barry Keoghan’s character Oliver dances naked around his country pile. Keoghan, though, didn’t feel the need to re-enact his performance, staying safely clothed in his seat. 

Hugh Grant worked the ‘Oompa Loompa’ song into his speech.

Never one to miss an opportunity to get weird, Hugh Grant spent part of his presenter’s speech breaking into song. “Oompa loompa doompety dee, now the Best Director category,” he crooned. The actor is currently starring in Wonka as (you guessed it) an Oompa Loompa.

War in the spotlight

It wasn’t all frivolous fun, however. The Zone of Interest won three awards, including outstanding British film. It tells the chilling story of the head of Auschwitz, who lives next door to the death camp with his young family. Producer James Wilson said in his acceptance speech for best film not in the English language: “Walls aren’t new from before or since the Holocaust and it seems stark right now that we should care about innocent people being killed in Gaza or Yemen or Mariupol or Israel.”

20 Days in Mariupol also picked up the prize for best documentary. Director Mstyslav Chernov gave an emotional speech, saying that he hopes he will still be alive by the time the BAFTAs come around next year. His film documents a team of Ukrainian journalists trapped

WriterChris Saunders
Banner Image CreditBBC / The BAFTAs