Los Angeles, Dec 1: Ben Stiller got some love from BAFTA-Los Angeles on his birthday. Stiller was among the honorees at the organization's annual Brittania Awards, which honor both British and non-British actors and filmmakers.
Stiller received the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy at the ceremony on Wednesday night in Beverly Hills, California. He said he enjoyed the low-pressure environment.
“Well first of all there are no other nominees, which really helps your chances of winning when you go in, which really increases your confidence level,” Stiller said. “Because you know you're going to get it. So that's exciting. And also it's British. So it makes you feel important and proper. It feels very proper.”
Stiller turned 46 on Wednesday and said he planned to get crazy with other winners after the ceremony - including Warren Beatty, Pixar leader John Lasseter and actress Helena Bonham Carter.
“It's a great way to celebrate. I'm excited,” he said, laughing.
“We're going to have a big party afterwards, we're renting a Hummer limo with a hot tub, and we're just going to drive around Hollywood until dawn. Just get crazy. (Warren) Beatty's in, John Lasseter, Helena (Bonham Carter), they're all coming.”
Though Beatty and other attendees including Helen Mirren, Robin Williams and Robert Downey Jr. didn't walk the arrivals line, Morgan Freeman was among those spotted.
The event marked a kick-off of sorts for the “Harry Potter” awards season campaign, with honors for Bonham Carter, who played Bellatrix Lestrange in the popular franchise; as well as David Yates, who directed the final four films.
“The whole thing is a phenomenon. And I hope people do recognize it and celebrate it,” Bonham Carter said. “Because I think it definitely deserves it and there were so many people that worked really, really hard. And it was such a happy ship to be a part of.” The “Potter” films have received only nine Academy Award nominations over the course of the seven previous films, though they've picked up a number of honors in the UK.
“I think maybe, maybe people take them for granted, the ‘Harry Potter.' But this is the last one,” Bonham Carter said. “So we'll see. But you know what, ultimately those films are one of the most all-time, or I think the most all-time popularest films of all. So that is enough. That is enough. The rest is gravy. You get an award - it's gravy.” Stiller, who has no involvement in the franchise, jokingly wondered who this Harry Potter kid might be. “You have to tell me. Harry Potter is who? This is an actor? I wish him luck,” he said. “It's a tough business. I would say try to find a franchise and get in it. Yeah, no - they're great movies. They're well done and yeah, my kids like them. But my kids are also on the younger side, so they're a little scary to them too. But I like that kind of movie.”
Alan Cumming, who was hosting the Brittania Awards, said he doubted the final “Potter” - “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” - would land an Oscar.
“Well I think often those sorts of films are overlooked because I think the Oscar people are slightly snobbish about adventure films and comedy films. That's just a truism,” he said.
However, the Oscars were kind to a somewhat similar franchise back in 2004 when the final instalment of Peter Jackson's “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy won 11 awards including Best Picture.
“So we're hopeful and our fingers are crossed, but we're realistic as well,” Yates said. “We came out in July. We're a very popular movie. And we've been ignored in the past.” Yates said the films had been dismissed because they began targeted so specifically at children, though they've actually matured over the years.
“People always perceived it as a kids' film, and kids films like comedies - there are just some great comedies that never get acknowledged,” he said. “Do you know? It's just one of those areas that doesn't feel awards worthy. And I think we may have suffered from that somewhat. But as I say again, I'm totally Zen about it. We're all totally Zen about it. But we're very proud of the movies and we're very proud of the last film. And we're all giving it a big push, to see if we can't get one last roll with it.”
Among the honorees was Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, director of animated Oscar hopeful “Cars 2.” He spoke about the importance of Apple and Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in October.
“Steve was an amazing guy. He was like a brother to me. He was just a phenomenal leader for us at Pixar. He created us. There's no other person in the world that would have supported us and our group and the idea of what we wanted to do,” he said.
BAFTA-LA awarded Beatty its Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film.
Bonham Carter won the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year while John Lasseter won Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment and Yates nabbed the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing.