The most memorable moments from Stephen Fry’s role as Bafta Film Awards host
Bond, beards and a bag lady: Some of the star’s most talked-about lines from 12 years on the show.
As Stephen Fry steps down from his role as host of the Bafta Film Awards, here are some of the memorable quotes from the much-loved wordsmith’s tenure:
Addressing the then-recent election of Donald Trump as US president, Fry last year hit back at the White House leader’s branding of Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep as “overrated,” by saying: “I look at row after row of the most overrated people in the audience.” He also joked that the awards were chosen by “the Russians”.
His return last year surprised some after he faced huge backlash for jokingly referring to costume design winner Jenny Beavan as a “bag lady”. He took a break from Twitter to avoid the wave of complaints after posting his defiant response: “So just a word to the tragic figures who think calling Jenny Beavan a bag lady was an insult. She’s a dear friend and she got it. Derrr.”
Freshly married Fry made 2015 the year of kisses, receiving pecks from Birdman stars Edward Norton and Michael Keaton after saying that smooches were a Bafta tradition. He also planted a smacker on Cuba Gooding Jr after the Selma star joked that he was “deeply hurt” not to have received one.
In 2010 he cheekily acknowledged his much-loved role voicing the first Harry Potter audiobook series, stating: “So successfully, inventively and faithfully have the Harry Potter movies translated JK Rowling’s vision to the screen, some have suggested – sacrilege though it may seem – that the films may actually be better than the quite brilliantly voiced audiobooks.”
He once made a light-hearted swipe at the Queen as he referenced her appearance in a sketch with James Bond actor Daniel Craig to mark the London 2012 Olympics. He joked at the 2013 ceremony: “This year… 007 came up against his most formidable adversary yet – a steely, implacable foe who has run a secret, powerful syndicate for 60 years. As ever, Bond emerged victorious when, in the final scene, he threw Her Majesty out of a helicopter.”
The same year also saw him join the facial hair trend and he quipped: “I’ve a very strong feeling that I’m not the only actor who’s come here this evening with a beard.”
When he first took the awards stage in 2001, he marked the success of best picture-winner Gladiator with a fitting analogy to establish himself as head of the show. “I want you all, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, to think of this (cinema) as a kind of Colosseum – and yourselves as ruthless, highly oiled gladiators,” he told the audience. “I am your emperor… your faintly deranged and perverted emperor. Should any speech go on too long, a hand signal will cue the release of four hungry tigers.”