Starry Night: Dolly Jones at the BAFTAs

 

Audi is the Official Car to the British Academy Film Awards, so Destination: Audi sent Dolly Jones to join the glitterati and experience the evening

A chance to attend the EE British Academy Film Awards is not to be taken lightly. As digital strategy director of Condé Nast and former editor of vogue.co.uk, I attend the occasional star- studded event, but this is in a different league. Here is a diary of some of my favourite moments…

Dolly Jones BAFTA Diary

Sunday, February 14, 9:15am
All of a sudden ‘BAFTAS!!’ – scrawled weeks ago in my diary – is a very real and imminent reality. This morning I have a meeting with Alice Archer, a relatively new designer who is creating museum-worthy couture, and who is lending me a dress for the event. Hair and make-up is booked, and my contact from Audi

 


‘The BAFTAs is one of the film industry’s biggest and best
nights because everybody is thrilled to be there’


calls to let me know that my house will be full of photographers this afternoon. As my excitement increases, the guilt at deserting my husband on Valentine’s Day mysteriously diminishes.

12.30pm
As Sunday gets going I begin to feel like an actual film star. I had imagined I’d be inhibited by all the attention, but it turns out that leaping in and out of a white Audi A8 while wearing couture for a photo shoot outside my house suits me quite nicely, thank you very much. Driving through London with sunshine streaming through the windows, I feel incredibly lucky and the butterflies in my stomach start to flutter. The photographer primes me on how to get out of the car as the paparazzi surges towards it on the red carpet, expecting a Hollywood A-lister. Apparently I just have to pretend I’m famous, which suits my mood perfectly.

6.10pm
The second before my door is opened I feel real fear. This is not the time to fall over. As I emerge onto the red carpet what strikes me first, even before the flashing lights, is the immense noise from the crowd. For a terrifying second I think they are angry with me for not being famous, then I realise Eddie Redmayne has arrived just ahead of me and is generating cheers worthy of a football stadium. I meet my boss, Wil Harris, as he arrives in the next car and together we travel the red carpet, spotting Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet chatting to their fans, then a breathtakingly beautiful Julianne Moore being interviewed, and trying (but failing) to resist taking a million selfies.

6.45pm
Sitting in the front row of the balcony at London’s Royal Opera House is surreal. Seated with my hosts and a few of my friends and acquaintances we run a Hollywood roll call: Leonardo DiCaprio, Dame Maggie Smith, Dakota Johnson, Idris Elba. Stephen Fry is a brilliant host and three hours fly by. He is definitely the most popular man in the room, from the moment we cheer him onto the stage, to the effusive greetings from all the presenters. Cuba Gooding Jr even gives him a rose. It is amazing to see one of Kate Winslet’s legendary acceptance speeches, and Sidney Poitier’s BAFTA Fellowship acceptance, alongside his daughter, via video link. It feels like watching history in the making. As The Revenant rules the night (Best Film, Best Director), it only seems right that Leonardo wins Best Actor too – the crowd’s reaction makes it clear he’s the favourite – but it is wonderful to see so many other films represented. I’m particularly pleased about Asif Kapadia’s winning Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, which is an important film that will have such a lasting influence.

10.00pm
Dinner afterwards is a perfect extension for the adrenaline high we are all on after the awards ceremony. Tom Cruise’s surprise appearance was literally heart-stopping. At dinner, I have Emilia Clarke on one side, Sacha Baron Cohen on the other and we feel completely part of this starry life. Amazingly, in a room full of almost 2000 people, the dinner we are served is of a standard easily worthy of the talent and the fashion on show. We dine on beetroot-marinated salmon, followed by perfectly pink lamb encased in crisply fitting en croute, and then a chocolate concoction to die for.

Monday, February 15, 2:00am
Having promised myself I’d be home after dinner, I end up leaving as the after party is coming to a close. If I could sum up the experience in one word? Fun. From the preparation at home, to every second of the event – food, wine and company – and even the journey home in my Audi. The BAFTAs is one of film’s biggest and best nights because everybody is thrilled to be there, from the actors to the waiting staff, to the guests and their drivers. It’s a properly British, utterly convincing celebration. Roll on next year.

Written by Dolly Jones. Photographs by Alexander Rhind and BAFTA.

 

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