The glitz and glamour of Hollywood came to London Sunday for the British Academy Film Awards, with celebrities in an especially festive mood on word that the 14-week writers' strike may be over.
The BAFTAs, from the British Academy for Film and Television Arts, took on an added significance this year after the Hollywood writers' strike led to the cancellation of the Golden Globes last month. With fewer parties of their own, dozens of American filmmakers, actors and celebrity guests made plans to hop the pond, including Kate Hudson, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Keitel, Sylvester Stallone and Jeff Goldblum.
"I was in complete support of the strike, but I think everybody at this point is just ready to party," said screenwriter Diablo Cody, who took home the original-screenplay award for Juno. "This year we didn't know if the Oscars were going to happen, so people have been focusing on the one party that seems to be a certainty," she said.
She said the BAFTA trophy was the first significant award of her career. "I am so completely freaked out right now. I'm just ridiculously excited. I will put (the trophy) on a mantle; show it off. It won't be on the toilet tank."
Other American winners included Joel and Ethan Coen, who took home the director award for No Country for Old Men.
"This feels great," said Joel Coen. "We have made movies for many years, many of which have actually gotten a very warm reception, sometimes a warmer reception in Europe, in the U.K., even more than they have in America. So for that reason and other reasons, (the BAFTAs) are very special to us."
But Europeans or European-themed films were the big winners of the night. Atonement was named best film of the year, though its stars, James McAvoy and Keira Knightley -- both snubbed by Oscars -- lost again. Britain's Daniel Day-Lewis and France's Marion Cotillard were named best actor and actress for There Will Be Blood and La Vie en Rose, respectively. Spain's Javier Bardem won supporting actor for No Country while Britain's Tilda Swinton nabbed supporting actress for Michael Clayton. All four are nominated for Oscars.
Ratatouille, an American-directed film about a Parisian culinary rat, won animated film.
The writers' strike, or possible deal, was a major topic of the night.
Screenwriter Ronald Harwood, accepting the adapted-screenplay award for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, appeared to confirm reports that the strike was indeed over. "First of all, I want you to know that I am no longer on strike," he said to wild applause.
Day-Lewis said he was most excited for his wife, American actress and writer Rebecca Miller, who is writing a new film. "She's had to memorize all her changes because she has not been allowed to put pen to paper, so she will now be able to do the work she has to do. And I'm very happy for everybody that needs to go back to work, and that's not just the writers," he said.
"This is the biggest awards show in the world, and thanks to the American writers' strike, that might actually be true," joked BAFTA host and comedian Jonathan Ross.
Back on the red carpet, celebs mingled with fans and each other, enjoying a rare balmy and dry London winter night.
"I can't believe this is February!" said Knightley, showing off her strapless Valentino gown.
Kate Hudson, her hair pulled back in a long French braid, was making her second BAFTA appearance. "I don't think it's very different from American shows, but the sounds are different, the inflections are different," she noted.
Cuba Gooding Jr., presenting the supporting-actress award, was on his first BAFTA visit. "It seems right on par with other awards shows I've been to. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of beautiful people."
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe said that he is in final talks to star in a biopic about Dan Eldon, the British photojournalist who was stoned to death in Somalia in 1993. "It's a long way off, but if it happens, I will do it."
Apart from his Broadway debut in September, Radcliffe is happy to say he has no plans. "I am taking my first holiday in a long, long time, but I'm not going anywhere. I'm just staying here. I hate the beach. I don't do beaches. I'm too pale. I don't tan. I just burn."