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2011 British Academy Film Awards: Chairman's Speech

11 February 2011
Tim Corrie makes his opening address at the top of the show. (Pic: BAFTA/Stephen Butler)BAFTA/Stephen Butler

Academy Chairman Tim Corrie addresses the audience and opens proceedings at the 2011 Orange British Academy Film Awards.

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Speech Transcript:

Good evening and welcome!

In this very place, last year, our much engaged President, His Royal Highness Prince William, described addressing you all as “daunting”. He wasn’t wrong!

In his extraordinary play Jumpers Sir Tom Stoppard writes about the definition of good (as applied to bacon sandwiches) and describes as being in moral limbo “those who are in the unhappy position of having to admit that one man’s idea of good is no more meaningful than another man’s”
Well Ladies and gentleman we here tonight are not in that impasse.

An award given by us here at the Orange British Academy Film Awards is and must remain the nec plus ultra of film awards bestowed in this country of ours. We have to be the keepers of the flame.

Shakespeare had a similar notion to Sir Tom when he said that “nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so” and that lead him to speak of dreams. And dreams are what cinema does more powerfully than any other art. Some are shattering, some are invasive, some are nightmares and some are aspirational...but as our nominees’ films have shown, cinema bestows unique visceral power to those dreams through the art of imagery, sound and direction.

Great performers have to interpret those dreams for us, and tonight’s offerings show triumphantly how brilliantly and powerfully that can be done.

The awards would not be possible without the support of a great many people. We are delighted to welcome back Orange in this their 14th year as title sponsors. The Orange Wednesday’s Rising Star Award, now in its sixth year, has been a phenomenal way of directly engaging the public and xxxxx people have voted for this year’s nominees and are voting as I speak. My sincere thanks to them and all Awards partners for their support, each of whom adds something extra to make this the special occasion it is.

This evening’s event results from a great deal of hard work, commitment and passion from many individuals and organisations: some of whom I feel must not go unmentioned: our immediate past Chairman David Parfitt who has advised, guided, nudged and goaded me throughout: David along with Nigel Lythgoe our Chairman of BAFTA in Los Angeles and our respective Boards led the coming together of BAFTA’s US and UK operations under a common brand and purpose; the BAFTA Film Committee led by Finola Dwyer and her Deputy Nik Powell, Moya Maxwell and all the staff here at this magnificent Royal Opera House; Jonathan Ross for hosting this evening; Katherine Allen and all at Whizz Kid for producing tonight’s programme, and of course the BBC for their continuing support. My thanks also go to Kate Lee and all the team at Freud Communications, and finally to the BAFTA staff led by the inimitable and indispensible Amanda Berry, Kevin Price her tireless second in command, Clare Brown, Deena Wallace and the Awards team.

There will be a short tribute to some of those who, sadly, have died this year, please hold your applause until the end of the sequence. May I ask our esteemed winners to be succinct in their gratitude, and to come up to the stage for a group photograph at the end of the ceremony.

Enjoy the evening. Thank you.