One actor won’t be nervous at the BAFTA Film Awards. That’s David Tennant, the host


LONDON — One actor won’t be nervous as the camera comes in for a close-up at the British Academy Film Awards.

David Tennant is hosting Sunday’s ceremony in London and says it’s more relaxing to be the master of ceremonies than a nominee.

“I reserve the right to get back to you on the night of Feb. 18, when I’m quivering at a corner having some sort of panic attack,” he says say. “It feels like a very privileged position to be in, but without the nervousness of wondering if you’ve won one or not. You don’t have to prepare a little hastily scribbled speech in the back of an envelope. What larks.”

And while comedians come under intense scrutiny when they host an awards ceremony, Tennant says there’s less pressure on actors.

“This not being my day job is something of an advantage,” he admits. “There’s not that much expectation because this is not what I do. So if I do it terribly, then what’s the harm?”

He won’t have to walk the fine line between insulting or amusing an A-list audience, while entertaining viewers at home.

“My stand-up career will not stand or fall on how this goes. Which, again, slightly takes the pressure off me. I’m just gonna have a really good time.”

Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Hannah Waddingham will also be on hand to help entertain the nominees with musical performances at the Royal Festival Hall.

Ellis-Bextor is singing “Murder on the Dancefloor,” the hit song invigorated 22 years after its release by its appearance in Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn,” which is nominated for best British film.

“Award ceremonies are funny, aren’t they?” Tennant muses. “There’s so much nervous energy in the air. It’s terribly exciting to be around that. And then they go on and on and on and on forever.”

“Can we get everyone through to the other end of it, still feeling like we’re celebrating and not desperate for their dinner?” he wonders.

Atom-bomb epic “Oppenheimer” leads the race for the BAFTA trophies, with 13 nominations, including best film.

Gothic fantasia “Poor Things” received 11 nominations, while historical epic “Killers of the Flower Moon” and Holocaust drama “The Zone of Interest” have nine each.

Only two people know in advance that they will have to make a speech on the night: Samantha Morton, receiving the BAFTA Fellowship, and June Givanni — the founder of The June Givanni PanAfrican Archive, who is being honored for outstanding British contribution to cinema.

Being in the room where winning happens can be an odd experience, Tennant says.

“You’re surrounded by lots of ludicrously famous people who you wouldn’t otherwise get to be in a room with. So there’s something a little bit prickly and exciting about that. At the same time, it can be very overwhelming and a little bit intimidating,” he says.

Asked whether he’ll be using the opportunity, as an actor, to audition for BAFTA-nominated director Martin Scorsese, Tennant jokes he’s not ruling out a few lines from “Taxi Driver,” adding that “anything can happen.”

Back to the nervous acting nominees who will be sitting among their competitors, with a camera watching their reaction.

Fantasia Barrino, Sandra Hüller, Carey Mulligan, Vivian Oparah, Margot Robbie and Emma Stone make up the best actress category and are all attending.

As is each leading actor nominee: Bradley Cooper, Colman Domingo, Paul Giamatti, Barry Keoghan, Teo Yoo and Cillian Murphy.

“That’s the sport of it and that’s the bit that is for the audience. And that’s the bit that as a nominee, you have to just suck up,” says Tennant. “You’re still a lot closer to winning it than the person that didn’t get nominated. So it’s an odd experience. It’s heady and giddy making and at the same time can be desperately soul-crushing.”

“But that’s why we tune in,” he laughs.


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