by Hans ten Cate
Monday, 25 February 2002

Sunday, February 24... a rain soaked evening at London's Odeon Leicester Square where Harry Potter was busy being snubbed at the 2002 Orange British Academy Film Awards.

The Awards, also known as the BAFTAs (BAFTA is short for British Academy of Film and Television Arts) are the UK equivalent of the Oscars and also a much-coveted award for the film industry. There is also an Emmy equivalent BAFTA award for television crafts.

Harry Potter Outmagicked By Lord of the Rings

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone failed to win in any of the seven BAFTA categories for which it was nominated. The JK Rowling epic may just have to be content with being the second most successful film in history after Titanic. It was recently reported that the Harry Potter film had earned £650m worldwide since it release in November 2001.

The film was up against stiff competition and the snub is only of interest to Pythons fans since our friend Cleese appeared in the film (and will allegedly have a larger role in this Fall's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"). The photo (left) was "nicked" from an issue of Vanity Fair. Depicted is Cleese as the ghost of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington aka "Nearly Headless Nick."

The BAFTA website has the winners from the evening's awards ceremony. Lord of the Rings was the big winner, sweeping many of the categories. Harry Potter was nominated in the following categories:

  • The Alexander Kordan Award for the outstanding British Film of the Year
  • Orange Audience Award - Film of the Year
  • Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Robbie Coltrane)
  • Production Design (Stuart Craig)
  • Costume Design (Judianna Makovsky)
  • Sound (John Midgley/Eddy Joseph/Ray Merrin/Graham Daniel/Adam Daniel)
  • Achievement in Special Visual Effects (Robert Legato/Nick Davis/John Richardson/Roger Guyett/Jim Berney)
  • Make-Up/Hair (Amanda Knight/Eithné Fennell/Nick Dudman)

The list of winners in these categories is available at

Cleese Makes BAFTA Appearance as Q

It was, nevertheless, a special night for Cleese and Eon Productions, the company responsible for the James Bond movies. Eon were given a special award for 40 years of 007.

A montage of entertaining movie clips were shown followed by a comedy sketch between Pierce Brosnan and John Cleese. In fact it was the first time the public heard Cleese addressed as Q. In it, Q (Cleese) instructs Bond on his latest mission - attending the British Academy Film Awards.

In the sketch, Bond turns up to collect gadgets for his new foe... "What is it this time Q, Smersh…Spectra?" asks Bond/Brosnan. "Worse – it’s BAFTA" replies Cleese, who is allegedly seen handing Brosnan a bow tie, a specially constructed suit and a self-destruct device in case the speeches drag on.

Eventually Pierce is handed the silver BAFTA Award to take to the ceremony but due to his injury, Dame Judi Dench as "Head of MI6" was seen on stage to explain "Bond was away on a mission in America" and presented the Award (a BAFTA mask each) to Producers Michael Wilson & Barbara Broccoli.