Five prizes were won by “Dune,” a sci-fi masterpiece. The brooding Western Western “The Power of the Dog”, was awarded best picture. The British Academy Film Awards returned to Sunday with a black-tie ceremony following a 2021 pandemic.

Jane Campion, a New Zealand filmmaker, was awarded the best director award for “The Power of the Dog”. She is the third woman to receive the award in the awards’ seven-decade history.

As an event that strives to overcome the historic lack of diversity, Joanna Scanlan and Will Smith won the lead acting trophies. This event recognized many talents and has so far had its first deaf acting winner in Troy Kotsur of “CODA.”

The awards ceremony last year was mostly conducted online with only the presenters and hosts appearing in person. The Russian invasion of Ukraine loomed over this year’s collective celebration at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

British film academy chairman Krishnendu Majumdar opened this show, hosted host by Rebel Wilson (Australian actor-comedian), with a message of support to Ukraine.

He said, “We stand in solidarity and support those who bravely fight for their country, and we share their hopes for a return of peace.”

The glitz followed, with Shirley Bassey, an 85-year-old diva, and a live orchestra performing “Diamonds Are Forever” to celebrate the 60th anniversary British export, James Bond.

Wilson joked that Bond was turning 60 and his girlfriends were turning 25. Wilson toned down her bawdy humor for the BBC’s broadcast in the early evening.

Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune”, a space epic set in a desert planet, won five of the 11 nominations for visual effects, production design and sound. Hans Zimmer’s music score, Greig Fraser’s cinematography, and Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack also received five trophies.

“The Power of the Dog” was set in 1920s Montana, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch. It was nominated for eight categories and won two major awards: best film and best direction. Campion is the only female winner in this category and the second consecutively after Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” film in 2021.

Smith was the best actor and Cumberbatch was defeated by Smith. Smith’s performance as the father to Serena Williams and Venus Williams in King Richard was the best acting performance.

Surprise best-actress winner Scanlan beat Lady Gaga to win “After Love,” an Aleem Khan feature about a woman who discovers a way to change her life after the death of her husband.

A disbelieving Scanlan said, “Some stories have surprising endings don’t they?”

Scanlan is best known for his role in the satirical TV comedy “The Thick Of It,” and said that the prize would open doors.

She said, “I hope I get an exciting, chunky short film” and a Bond audition.

Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical “Belfast,” the story of a childhood overshadowed by Northern Ireland’s violent “Troubles,” was named best British film.

Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress award for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s lavish musical “West Side Story.” Kotsur took home the supporting actor prize for his performance in “CODA,” which features the father of a deaf daughter.

He asked, in sign language, “Have your considered maybe a Deaf James Bond?”

Lashana Lynch made a big splash in Bond’s “No Time To Die” as a double-0 agent. She was awarded the rising star award. This category is the only one that can be voted on by the public. “The women of this nation who taught me how it is to work in this industry as dark-skinned women” was her thanks. Thank you for helping me to get started.

“No Time to Die”, also won the award for best editing.

Ryusuke Haguchi, a Japanese director, won the Oscar for his Oscar-nominated drama Drive My Car. “Encanto,” a story about a Colombian family with magical powers, won the best animated feature award. “Summer of Soul,” a 1960s Harlem music extravaganza, won the best documentary prize.

Sian Heder won “CODA” the best adapted screenplay award. Paul Thomas Anderson was awarded “Licorice Pizza,” the best original screenplay.

The British Awards are held one week before the Academy Awards. They have become an important stage for awards season. The Oscars will be held March 27th, this year.

In an effort to combat the glaring inequalities in nominations, the British film academy has increased its voting membership and changed its rules. For the seventh consecutive year, no woman was nominated for best director. All 20 nominees in both the lead and supporting performance categories were also white.

Majumdar stated that this year’s diverse field proved that “change has arrived.” However, the celebration of cinema was muted as many people reflected on the conflict raging in Europe.

Cumberbatch wore the lapel badge in the Ukrainian flag’s blue and yellow colors. It was worn by Cumberbatch to protest the “megalomaniac Russian President Vladimir Putin” “raining terror” on Ukraine.

On the red carpet, he stated that “it’s a very frightening and sad time.” “Although it is a gesture and people can claim it’s hollow but it’s something I can do tonight,” he said. He also pressed British politicians to accept more refugees from war.

Jonas Poher Rasmussen is the director of animated feature “Flee,” which tells the story of an Afghan refugee. He said that it was “surreal to be at an award show when everything is going sour.”

He said that images of millions of Ukrainians being driven from their homes in Ukraine underlined the message that “these tales must be told.”