Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ wins three BAFTA Awards, including Best Film and Best Director

The BAFTA Awards went down tonight in London and it’s a big moment in the race. As Guy reminded yesterday in his predictions column, the organization has tailored its process closer to the Academy’s, eliminating branch-voted winners in favor of allowing all members to vote throughout the categories. The result could be some powerful Oscar foreshadowing.

Check out the full list of winners below. Along with each winner I’ve offered up my thoughts as a running commentary as the show progressed. In a nutshell, though, the new system yielded very few big surprises, though there were one or two eyebrow raisers in the bunch.

Circle on back later tonight as Guy will put a bow on the festivities with his own postmortem, after he wraps up his daily Berlin Film Festival duties. And, as always, keep track of all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.

Best British Film: “Skyfall”

Comments: Well, but of course. The most successful film ever in the UK was bound to take this prize, despite the presence of something like “Les Misérables.” And with the latest Bond missing out on a Best Film nomination, this was sure to be its consolation. Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper presented the award.

Best Short Film: “Swimmer”; Best Short Animation: “The Making of Longbird”

Comments: These categories share zero nominees with their Oscar counterparts and I’ve seen none of them, so I can’t really offer up much here. Though “Swimmer” comes from the brilliant Lynne Ramsay. Rafe Spall and Helen McRory presented the awards.

Best Costume Design: “Anna Karenina”

Comments: And that’s probably our Oscar winner, too. I’ve been wondering lately, though, whether the more seen and loved “Les Misérables” could steal both this and Best Production Design, though. Nevertheless, here’s an example of a wide body of voters going with Joe Wright’s film and Jacqueline Durran’s gorgeous work. Ben Wishaw and Alice Eve presented the award.

Best Makeup and Hair: “Les Misérables”

Comments: See above. My instinct when the Oscar nominations were announced was that “Les Misérables” was sure to take this. Then I went over to the side of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Then even to “Hitchcock.” Lately I’ve been leaning back toward “Les Misérables” and this is clear indication that it could pull it off. The film beats out its Oscar competition at the BAFTAs.

Best Animated Film: “Brave”

Comments: Remember, there were only three nominees, and one of them wasn’t “Wreck-It Ralph.” Nevertheless, as Anne and I discussed at length in the podcast Friday, Pixar really is some stiff competition for Disney’s in-house marvel. Don’t be surprised if it wins the Oscar, too.

Best Sound: “Les Misérables”

Comments: I’m very intrigued by the sound mixing category at the Oscars this year (the BAFTAs combine mixing and editing under the banner of “Best Sound”). “Les Misérables” could pull it out as the big musical nominated for Best Picture, just as “Chicago” and “Ray” before it, as well as “Dreamgirls,” which wasn’t nominated for Best Picture. Or “Skyfall” could squeeze in some more love like “The Bourne Ultimatum.” More and more, though, it appears the former is more likely.

Best Film Editing: “Argo”

Comments: That probably seals it for the film’s shot at the Best Film award later tonight. If “Life of Pi” was going to be a big threat I imagine it may have won this, but we’ll see. “Argo” should be considered the favorite for the Oscar in this category, too, and lovely that William Goldenberg will grab an award when he’s also in the mix for another tight piece of work editing some of the most suspenseful sequences of “Zero Dark Thirty.” Jeremy Irvine and Olga Kurylenko presented this and Best Sound.

Best Cinematography: “Life of Pi”

Comments: And I imagine Claudio Miranda will win the ASC Award tonight as well, en route to Oscar in a few weeks. Nothing much more to say about it. Roger Deakins looks likely to wait it out a bit longer. “Zero Dark Thirty” star Mark Strong presented the award.

Best Original Music: “Skyfall”

Comments: Well, even with the homeland pride, that’s a bit of a surprise. Thomas Newman, Oscarless to date, picks up his second BAFTA to date. He also won on his first nomination, for “American Beauty” (which fell to “The Red Violin” at the Oscars). David Morrissey and Paloma Faith presented the award

Best Original Screenplay: “Django Unchained”

Comments: This is a bit of a surprise, given that “Amour” was probably even more favored here than at the Oscars. That shifts up the dynamic just a little bit. Maybe Quentin Tarantino is gunning for Oscar number two? “Lincoln” star Sally Field presented the award.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Comments: Remember, Robert De Niro, who has been anywhere and everywhere hungry for that Oscar lately, wasn’t nominated. Nevertheless, this was going to give some indication about who’s really in the thick of this thing, and Christoph Waltz adds a BAFTA next to his Golden Globe while Tommy Lee Jones gets passed over. The SAG Award for Jones may have just been a blip. Waltz also benefits from basically being a co-lead in his film, much like Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master.” Still, De Niro is gunning for it. And BAFTA, having nominated Tarantino for Best Director, obviously loved the movie. The award was presented by “Silver Linings Playbook” star Jennifer Lawrence.

Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: Bart Layton (writer) and Dimitri Doganis (producer), “The Imposter”

Comments: I remain in the minority on this film, which just didn’t resonate for me as it did for others, for a variety of reasons. I won’t bother getting into that, though. Check out Guy’s interview with Layton here. The award was presented by Billy Connelly.

Best Visual Effects: “Life of Pi”

Comments: Moving right along…

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Comments: Well, what else can you say? If “Lincoln” has real reach within the Academy, we might see Sally Field — who has won every time she’s been nominated — steal this one. But this is a runaway train and has been ever since the film bowed at New York’s Lincoln Center the day after Thanksgiving. The award was presented by George Clooney.

Best Adapted Screenplay: “Silver Linings Playbook”

Comments: That’s an interesting win, and as I’ve noted elsewhere, a possibility that shouldn’t be underestimated at the Oscars. Four heavyweights are duking it out for that prize and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is the scrappy underdog. Gonna be a photo finish. Simon Pegg and Jennifer Garner presented the award.

Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award: Tessa Ross

Comments: This previously announced award was presented by Danny Boyle. Ross heads up Film4, the feature division of the Channel 4 network that has given a leg up to many of Bristish cinemas exciting new voices.

Best Film Not in the English Language: “Amour”

Comments: I don’t suppose any other film had a real angle on it, but who knows? It will still be interesting to see if Emmanuelle Riva takes the Best Actress prize after the original screenplay was somewhat surprisingly skipped over. The award was presented by Tim Roth and Gemma Arterton.

Rising Star Award: Juno Temple

Comments: This one, remember, is decided by the public. So, you know… Nevertheless, at least the public had a choice crop to pick from this year, and Juno Temple is frankly a somewhat surprising choice. So, well done, public.

Best Documentary: “Searching for Sugar Man”

Comments: Look, I like “Searching for Sugar Man.” But it’s simply fluff next to the other contenders this year and it’s started to drag that it’s won so much. And opening the vote up to the entire Academy membership only solidifies the idea that a popular film will win. But look at something like “The Invisible War,” which could bring about real change. Look at something like “5 Broken Cameras,” which is a miracle in its mere existence. Anyway, just wanted to mention that. I do like the film. The award was presented by Martin Freeman and Henry Cavill, the Hobbit and the Man of Steel.

Best Production Design: “Les Misérables”

Comments: As noted above, I have a hunch “Les Misérables” can pull this off at the Oscars, too. “Anna Karenina” wasn’t as widely seen or liked, mind you. Still, the split here at the BAFTAs between this and costumes is a bit odd. Safe to pick one film for both, I’d say. This is the fourth award for the film tonight and it was presented by Tom Hiddleston and Saoirse Ronan.

Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo”

Comments: I really thought Ang Lee might pull this one off. The writing has been on the wall for “Argo” but I think this goes a long way toward showing that the director snub at the Academy was an anomaly. This is simply a weird year. The award was presented by Ian McKellen.

Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Comments: I’m…pretty damn excited about this. And I do still have a hunch she will turn the same trick at the Oscars. Riva gave, for me, the hands-down best performance in any category this year. I don’t see how one stacks up the competition and doesn’t vote for her. BAFTA did. Will AMPAS?

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Comments: Moving right along…

Best Film: “Argo”

Comments: And…there it is. “Life of Pi” did not stake its ground. “Argo” charged right on through the evening, winning four awards, including Best Film. Oscar is next…right?