A significant 2018 top moment for Damian would have to be receiving an award for his artistry. I do not shy away in saying he is the most talented actor of our generation and it seems BAFTA LA agreed. Damian received the well-deserved and long overdue BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Award for Excellence in Television on October 26, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
The Britannia Awards are BAFTA Los Angeles’ highest accolades, recognizing both outstanding British talent and exceptional international artistry through an actor’s body of work. It’s no secret around here that Damian is talented and exceptional – for more than a decade and a half he has enticed and intrigued audiences with highly complex, compromised, flawed characters he has brought to life on television, from steadfast Dick Winters, constipated Soames Forsyte, and quirky Charlie Crews to damaged Nicholas Brody, radical Henry VIII and currently, the ruthless Bobby Axelrod.
But where did it all begin?
Damian’s first lead role in television was Lt. Neil Loughrey in Warriors (1997), a story about a group of British peacekeepers during the Bosnian war and ethic cleansing of 1993.
On the evening on October 26, 2018 and some 25 years later, we witnessed a full circle in television when previous BAFTA TV award-winning actor Matthew Macfadyen, Damian’s Warriors co-star, presented him with the very same award. Now that’s excellence in television!
The black tie event included a red carpet arrival reception, gala dinner, ceremony, and official afterparty. The evening is known to be an enjoyable event that captures a unique blend of sincerity and British irreverence, but for those of you who were unable to watch the televised event, let us walk you through that evening, from red carpet arrivals to the afterparty.
Walking the red carpet, Matthew was asked what his first impression of Damian was over 20 years ago,
“He’s very confident, the room sort of stops when he’s in it. This is a very nice thing to do, especially for Damian.”
Looking sharp as ever, Damian walked the red carpet soon after his pal Matthew.
Then the two of them met up on the red carpet to take a photo together.
During Damian’s red carpet interview, he spoke about his upcoming role as Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, discussing the enormous generosity, how fun it was to work on set, and getting to work with Leo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Then jokingly quipped,
“Oh you know, Leo, Brad and Damo.”
Watch Damian’s full red carpet interview here, around 52 minutes in:
In anticipation of that night’s event, friends and peers of all six honorees gave their personal perspectives and discussed how each person exemplifies the special relationship between British and U.S. entertainment. Fellow Billions castmate Paul Giamatti gave his testimonial of Damian’s work:
How hilarious is Paul? Ssshhh, don’t tell Paul it was Ralph Fiennes instead of Jude Law but either way, we agree, Damian can do anything! Additional testimonials from Maggie Siff, Dominic West, Claire Danes, Nicole Kidman, Asia Kate Dillon and David Costabile can be seen in the ‘full segment’ video later in the post.
Each honoree posed in the portrait studio – that’s a very James Bond-esque photo of you, Damian!
Then it was off to the Portrait Room to autograph one-of-a-kind artwork. This year’s Britannia Honorees portraits were created by British contemporary artist Lincoln Townley. One hundred percent of the sales are donated to BAFTA LA to support their educational and outreach programs, ranging from inner city mentoring and student film awards to newcomer and scholarship programs. Good news – additional prints are available for purchase here.
While in the Portrait Room Damian posed with Cate Blanchett, who received the Stanely Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film that same evening.
Damian’s table included his former Warrior’s co-star and presenter Matthew Macfadyen, Brian Swardstrom of United Talent Agency (USA), Annett Wolf of Wolf Kasteler PR Firm, and David Nevins, CEO of Showtime Networks. Helen was unable to attend because “…nobody messes with the Peaky fucking Blinders!” 🙂 Damian tweeted a photo of some of his table-mates:
During the opening remarks, host Jack Whitehall commented how wonderful it was that a certain someone in the audience was breaking all diversity barriers in the entertainment world, joking how much Damian has done for the “Ginger Community.” 😀
The ceremony celebrated the work of five other extraordinary, talented recipients:
Steve McQueen received the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing
Cate Blanchett received the Stanely Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film
Emilia Clarke received the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year
Jim Carrey received the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige received the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Awards for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment
When it was time for Damian to receive his award he graciously took the stage. He was thoughtful, funny, and eloquent. Yep, that’s our Damian!
From his Michael Caine impression to the nod he gave at both the beginning and end of his 10-minute speech to last year’s winner in this same category, Dick Van Dyke, all of it was top notch.
We don’t think we are biased when we claim, Damian’s segment on the BAFTA LA’s Britannia Awards was the best part of the entire ceremony, from his presenter and testimonial shout-outs to his speech. Simply beautiful, from start to finish.
Damian’s FULL segment and speech for Chrome browser users:
Damian’s speech only for Safari browser users, with ads:
It’s not the first time Damian has referenced both Michael Caine and Dick Van Dyke in the same setting. He spoke with Conan O’Brien back in late 2013, early 2014 about both:
Backstage Damian was asked what the award meant for him:
“It means people have been watching my TV shows, which is gratifying. I am very, very delighted to be here, I am thrilled. You don’t wake up one morning as an actor and step back and say, ‘I am about due an excellence in TV award’. You just go moment to moment, face down in scripts, learning lines and show up on Monday when you have to be on set. It’s an odd feeling actually, people have been really watching and they like what they see so I feel sort of humbled by it and a scared about being roasted all evening by my friends.”
To watch a second backstage interview from Getty, click here.
After the ceremony, many took to social media to share photos:
After it was all over, Damian took to Twitter a couple of days later and shared this photo of his Britannia Award:
Congratulations on your Top Moment of 2018 Damian, from all of us at the Fan Fun with Damian Lewis team.
To view more photos of the event, please visit our Gallery