Ben Affleck and ‘Argo’ look unbeatable with triple win at the BAFTA’s

BAFTA winning 'Argo' producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Ben AffleckBAFTA winning 'Argo' producers George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Ben Affleck (Photo:Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

It’s all systems go for Ben Affleck’s “Argo” following another victory -- Best Film at the 66th Annual British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. That puts his humor-laced, fact-based drama about the daring rescue of six American foreign-service workers during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-80 one baby step away from best picture honors at the Oscars.

The British Academy Awards, bestowed at the Royal Opera House in London tonight at a star-drenched ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry, also honored Affleck for best director. It was a repeat of his win last week at the DGA Awards, following his PGA sweep. Our Ben’s out of the running for best director at the Academy Awards in two weeks – because he wasn’t even nominated. Talk about an oversight! Meanwhile, “Argo” also took best editing tonight for a three-win total.

[Photos: BAFTA red carpet arrivals]

“Skyfall,” the brilliant Bond film, finally got its due, even if it’s in the stepchild category of Best British Film. It’s some compensation for those of us who believed it should have been among the ten nominees for best picture in the Academy Awards, and had the audacity to believe that Dame Judi Dench deserved a best supporting actress nomination in honor of her long-running role as “M.”

Meanwhile, the only love that “Lincoln” saw was for best actor frontrunner Daniel Day-Lewis. In London, Steven Spielberg wasn’t even among the BAFTA nominated directors: Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Haneke.

“Django Unchained” star Christoph Waltz appears to be making his move late in the game – he took the best supporting actor award. It’s now very possible that Waltz could win a second Oscar under Quentin Tarantino’s direction, displacing frontrunner Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”)? Similarly, Tarantino won the BAFTA for best original screenplay and could swagger off with that honor for a second time at the Oscars (he shared the first award with Roger Avary for “Pulp Fiction” in 1994).

In another upset, French octogenarian Emmanuelle Riva took best actress for her tragically terminal teacher in Michael Haneke’s “Amour.” This could signal an upset at the Oscars where it’s considered a close race between Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” (which won best adapted screenplay tonight) and Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty.” Note: “ZD30” got no BAFTA love whatsoever.

[Related: Pick the Winners at the Oscars]

No surprises in the best supporting actress race with Anne Hathaway singing, and then dying, her way to an award as the, yes, tragic Fantine in “Les Miserables.” The Tom Hooper-directed musical also won best sound, best make-up and hair, and best production design. The brilliant British production of “Anna Karenina” had to make do with best costumes, an award that it will likely repeat at the Oscars.

It’s possible that the BAFTA’s also anticipate the foreign language, documentary and animation pictures having honored, in order, “Amour,” “Searching for Sugar Man,” and “Brave.” The first two are sure-things to win at the Oscars. My vote is for “Brave,” although “Wreck-it Ralph” (not nominated in London) has been coming on strong with its kudos from the Producers Guild of America.

Here’s the list of the BAFTA Winners

  • Best Film: “Argo
  • Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo”
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
  • Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, ”Django Unchained”
  • Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
  • Best British Film: “Skyfall”
  • Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: “The Imposter”
  • Best Original Screenplay: “Django Unchained”
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: “Silver Linings Playbook”
  • Best Film Not In The English Language: “Amour”
  • Best Documentary: “Searching For Sugar Man”
  • Best Original Film Score: “Skyfall”
  • Best Cinematography: “Life of Pi”
  • Best Editing: “Argo”
  • Best Sound: “Les Miserables”
  • Best Animated Film: “Brave”
  • Best Visual Effects Effects: “Life of Pi”
  • Best Makeup and Hair: “Les Miserables”
  • Best Production Design: “Les Miserables”
  • Best Costumes: “Anna Karenina”
  • Best Short Film: “Swimmer”
  • Best Animated Short: “The Making of Longbird”

Watch the exclusive half-hour special "Argo: Declassified":