x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

The Hurt Locker triumphs at the Baftas

The intimate war drama The Hurt Locker beat 3D spectacular Avatar to take six prizes, including best picture, at the British Academy Film Awards.

Britain's love of the underdog has triumphed as intimate war drama The Hurt Locker beat 3D spectacular Avatar to take six prizes, including best picture, at the British Academy Film Awards. Kathryn Bigelow won the best-director battle with Avatar's James Cameron, her ex-husband, for her intense depiction of a bomb-disposal squad in Iraq. "It means so much that this film seems to be touching people's hearts and minds," Bigelow said. Both films had eight nominations for the British awards, considered an indicator of possible success at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles next month.

Avatar and The Hurt Locker each has nine Oscar nominations. The Hurt Locker also took British prizes for original screenplay cinematography, editing and sound. Avatar won awards for production design and visual effects for its vivid vision of a distant moon populated by a blue-skinned species called the Na'vi. Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal dedicated the best-film prize to the hope of peace "and bringing the boys and girls back home". Bigelow also paid tribute to soldiers serving in Iraq, and said the goal of the film was "putting a bit of a spotlight on a very, very difficult situation".

"I hope that in some small way this film can begin a debate ... and bring closure to this conflict," she said. Rising star Carey Mulligan was named best actress for playing a precocious teenager in 1960s London in An Education. Colin Firth was named best actor for his performance as a bereaved Englishman in California in Tom Ford's A Single Man. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, already a hot Oscar favourite, won the supporting actor prize for his turn as a chilling, charming Nazi colonel in Inglourious Basterds. The supporting actress award went to Mo'nique for Precious. Director Duncan Jones took the award for best British debut for his lost-in-space drama Moon.

Earlier, Kate Winslet, Audrey Tautou, Quentin Tarantino, Vanessa Redgrave and Twilight stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart all walked the red carpet before the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House, with Prince William on hand to add real royalty to showbiz aristocracy. *AP