Colman maintained her perfect record of winning at BIFA every time she has been nominated, making this her fourth trophy in a row.
Her prize was awarded to her by actor Josh O’Connor, who will play Prince Charles opposite her Queen Elizabeth in the next series of The Crown.
Colman later joked that you simply cannot compare the two Queens, and also accepted Weisz’s statue on her behalf, taking a cardboard cut-out of the actress’s face up on stage with her.
The stunt mirrored Weisz’s acceptance speech at last week’s Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York, where she took masks of her two female co-stars to collect the award for best ensemble performance.
Speaking about the timely nature of a film with all-female leads, Colman said it was just chance that it followed the Me Too movement, as it had been in development for years. As to whether Me Too still has work to do, she told Sky News: “Are we all equal yet? Is pay equal yet? So, of course, it’s all still in the running. Until all the things are the same, it’s still in the running.”
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Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos won best director for the film, which also won best screenplay and the best independent film at the glittering ceremony in Old Billingsgate in east London.
The movie had won its first five BIFA craft awards earlier this month.
Away from The Favourite, the film American Animals took home two awards, with director Bart Layton taking home debut screenwriter award.
Layton, who previously won best debut director at the BIFAs for The Imposter, told Sky News: “You win that and people say, ‘We’re expecting great things from you’, which is great, but then you hope you’ll prove that faith in you.”So when you get something like this, I guess it feels good, because I feel like I must have got something right.”
Joe Cole, who won best actor for his role as an English boxer in a Thai prison in A Prayer Before Dawn, told Sky News he trained a lot for the physical film, admitting “I spent a lot of time getting beaten up by various Thai guys every day.”
Jessie Buckley, who took home the most promising newcomer award for film Beast, said she was so excited she wanted to “take all her clothes off and run around the room just to find out if it’s really happened”.
However, she said the award wouldn’t be going to her head as being “the youngest of five siblings, being from the mountains and having good people around” means she stays fully grounded.
Describing showbiz as “a crazy industry where you can get swamped by stuff”, she said she would “absolutely not” consider moving to Hollywood.
Dame Judi Dench collected the Richard Harris Award for her outstanding contributions as a British film actor. The 81-year-old joked with Sky News that she was planning on putting the award in front of her Oscar at home.
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Talking about her previous film roles, she admitted she hadn’t realised at the time how ahead of the game the role of M in James Bond was.
Flanked by Cary Fukunaga – who will direct the next Bond movie – she explained that the MI6 boss was very special to her.
She said: “In a way, I thought it was a joke when I was asked to do it. My husband, who was alive at the time, said you’ve got to do it because I’ve got to live with a Bond woman. Oh, I had the most glorious time.
“Dame Judi also said that despite an illustrious career spanning more than 60 years, the nerves still kicked in when it came to collecting prizes.
Describing it as “a nightmare”, she said: “People say you must be very at ease making speech, but that’s not my job. My job is pretending to be someone else and trying to deliver someone else’s lines.
“Star Wars actress Felicity Jones was handed the other special gong of the night – the Variety Award, which recognises Britons who have made an impact overseas.
The 35-year-old joked that “global impact” sounded worryingly like global warming, saying she had spent weeks getting her head around exactly what she was being honoured for.
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