The most inspiring honoree from Friday’s British Academy Britannia Awards ceremony wasn’t present at the Beverly Hills event.
Jane Fonda, star of Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” was supposed to take the stage at the Beverly Hilton during the annual black-tie event at the Beverly Hilton to receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film, but the longtime actress and political activist was arrested in Washington D.C. earlier in the day during a climate-change protest. It was the third time Fonda was arrested in three weeks.
Although Fonda wasn’t able to receive her award in person, she filmed an impromptu acceptance speech during her arrest, which was aired to raucous applause and a standing ovation during the Britannia Awards.
Inspiration, humility, and finding solidarity through comedy were the defining themes of the acceptance speeches at the 2019 Britannia Awards. Other honorees included Jordan Peele, John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing; Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year; Jackie Chan, Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment; Norman Lear, Britannia Award for Excellence in Television; and Steve Coogan, Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence.
Although honorees do not need to be British to receive or be nominated for a Britannia Award, their work must have resonated with British audiences.
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That was unarguably the case with Peele, whose 2019 horror thriller “Us” further solidified the longtime comedian as a serious force in the film industry. He received his Britannia Award for his socially relevant work on horror films “Get Out” and “Us.” It’s likely that Universal’s awards campaign for “Us” will be emboldened by Peele winning the Britannia Award. Peele won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Get Out,” his directorial debut, last year.
Peele gave repeated thanks to award presenter and “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o, and also praised Michael Abels and Ruth De Jong, the film’s composer and production designer.
“You can’t be an artist without a support system,” Peele said during his acceptance speech. “I feel like I’m part of a very special family here.”
Waller-Bridge accepted her awards from Donald Glover, who worked with her on “Solo A Star Wars Story.” She scored some of the biggest applause of the night with her acceptance speech, where she recounted finishing writing “Fleabag” Season 2 at the countryside home of producer Jenny Robins in the wee hours of the night, only to be disrupted by a small swarm of hornets that invaded the house. Waller-Bridge dedicated her award to Robin, who chased them out of the house and the next day the duo “cracked the story.”
“They shook everything up and solved everything, which is basically what Jenny did for me,” Waller-Bridge said. “So thank you, Jenny, my story hornet.”
The Britannia Awards was streamed live in the U.S. and Canada via BritBox, the SVOD streaming service from BBC Studios and ITV.