BAFTAs 2023: 7 brilliant moments you might have missed from the biggest night in British film


From emotional speeches to hilarious blunders, these are the moments everyone’s talking about from the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards.

After six years of being held at the Royal Albert Hall, the 76th edition of the BAFTAs opened its doors at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday night with a triumphant ceremony celebrating outstanding cinema from the past year.

The venue wasn’t the only big change for the most prestigious night in British film, though, as hosting duties were divided between Richard E. Grant on the main stage, and Alison Hammond, who interviewed nominees and winners in the BAFTA Backstage Studio.

After a showstopping red carpet, the biggest stars in the business came together during a two-hour long ceremony that saw emotional tributes, powerful speeches and a fair few unexpected wins.

Netflix’s World War One epic All Quiet On The Western Front emerged victorious at the awards with a total of seven gongs, followed by Elvis and The Banshees of Inisherin, which won four each. Elsewhere, Austin Butler was awarded best actor for his role in Baz Lurhmann’s biopic, while Cate Blanchett took home best actress for her performance in Tár.

But the BAFTAs certainly weren’t all about the prizes. From Sir Patrick Stewart’s outstanding British film blunder to costume designer Sandy Powell’s history-making honour, take a look back at the most memorable moments from the star-studded event.

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Richard E. Grant rocked up in the Batmobile

Warm, witty and elegant of dress, Richard E. Grant was always guaranteed to be a charming BAFTAs host. Forget sharp-tongued jibes: the actor kicked things off with a humourous skit with Steve Martin, before rocking up to the red carpet in the Batmobile.

Richard E. Grant arrives in the Batmobile before the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 (Getty Images)

The beloved actor opened the ceremony in equally dramatic form, sweeping down the aisles in a floor-grazing white cape. “I’m your host and fashion icon” he declared as he took to the stage, before cracking a joke about the notorious 2022 Oscars moment when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.

“Nobody on my watch gets slapped tonight – except on the back,” he told the star-studded crowd.

The stars stood in solidarity with refugees

Cate Blanchett wears a black gown and white pearls on the BAFTA 2023 red carpet.
Conventional, but it works. (Getty/Mike Marsland)

Following the recent devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria killing an estimated 44,000 and displaced thousands more, many stars including Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cate Blanchett and Angela Bassett showed their solidarity with displaced people around the world by wearing the blue #WithRefugees ribbon.

The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, invited the famous faces to wear the ribbon as an “emblem of compassion and solidarity” for those who have been forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict, and persecution.

Speaking to PA about why she wanted to wear the ribbon, supporting actress nominee Jamie Lee Curtis said: ‘My friend Cate Blanchett is asking people to remind us all in the midst of all the season of shiny things that of course there are terrible refugee crises going on all over the world everywhere all at once and we need to do our part.’

In one red carpet clip, Blanchett, a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency, can be seen thanking Mescal for wearing the pin. 

Patrick Stewart got ahead of himself

When Star Trek legend Sir Patrick Stewart took to the stage to present the award for outstanding British film, the room fell to a hushed silence to listen to his captivating voice.

Clearly out of practice when it comes to presenting awards, though, the actor started prematurely opening the envelope to announce the winner before the nominees had been announced. Luckily, he caught himself just in time.

Charlotte Wells made everyone emotional

Charlotte Wells accepts BAFTA for the Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer award.
Aftersun director Charlotte Wells won viewers’ hearts at the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards with a beautiful acceptance speech

There was barely a dry eye in the house when Aftersun writer-director Charlotte Wells accepted the award for best outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.

Taking to the stage, Wells gave a heartfelt shoutout to the producers, cast and crew who worked on Aftersun, and mentioned the earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey.

The rising star also dedicated the award to her late father, and joked that she was gifting her BAFTA award to her mother because she had no room in her suitcase to take it home.

Sandy Powell made history

Sandy Powell made history when she became the first costume designer ever to receive the prestigious BAFTA Fellowship.

The three-time BAFTA and Oscar winner, who is known for her incredible work on Far From HeavenThe AviatorCarolThe Favourite and Cinderella, collected the lifetime achievement award from Cate Blanchett before giving a warm and generous speech thanking everyone from her primary school teacher who first encouraged her to paint, to her mother, who taught her to sew.

“I am most grateful for the generosity and guidance I have received throughout my life,” she said. “From the primary school teacher who first encouraged me to paint, the mentorship and trust that I received from Derek Jarman in my early years, and the many brilliant collaborators I’ve had the great fortune to work with since.”

“I accept this fellowship on behalf of my community. The supervisors, assistants, coordinators, and PAs. The tailors, and cutters, the stitchers and buyers, the weavers, the knitters, the printers and dyers. The leather workers, the shoemakers, milliners, jewellers, the standbys, dressers, fitters and crew. In fact, everyone who makes this work possible.”

Richard E. Grant fought back tears

In time-honoured tradition, this year’s ceremony featured an ‘In Memoriam’ section reflecting upon the stars of the film industry that passed away in the last 12 months.

Introducing the segment, Richard E. Grant, whose wife Joan Washington died in September 2021 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, grew emotional as he asked the audience to take a moment to remember “members of the global film community that we sadly lost”.

A touching tribute then appeared on screen with clips of stars including Dame Angela Lansbury, Dame Olivia Newton-John, Sylvia Syms, Anne Heche, Robbie Coltrane and Burt Bacharach.

After the segment, Grant added that ‘their legacies will live on’.

Emma Mackey and Aimee Lou Wood won the hearts of the nation

When Emma Mackey was announced as the winner of the Rising Star award, her fellow nominee and Sex Education co-star Aimee Lou Wood had the most heartwarming response.

As Mackey took to the stage to accept her award, Wood cheered loudly, blew kisses and mouthed “love you”, while Mackey looked ecstatic to spot her friend in the crowd. We do love a supportive co-star!