At BAFTA event, Emma Watson dedicates award to her long dead hamster

The winners of the BAFTA Los Angeles' Britannia Awards gather on stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Thursday evening. From left are Robert Downy Jr., Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Mike Leigh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mark Ruffalo.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images )

Emma Watson dedicated her Britannia Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles on Thursday to her late hamster Millie.

Honoree Robert Downey Jr. had his pregnant wife, producer Susan Downey, stand up just to show the Beverly Hilton Hotel audience how close she is to her due date.

And the legendary Judi Dench quipped in her acceptance speech that she had a tattoo of producer Harvey Weinstein on her backside.


British comedian Rob Brydon, who starred with Steve Coogan in the British indie hit “The Trip to Italy,” hosted the BAFTA ceremony, which got off to a late start; dinner wasn’t even served until 8:30 p.m.

“Good evening, I’m Renee Zellweger,” Brydon announced. He kept the proceedings moving with jokes, a weak impression of Liam Neeson and a rather misguided bit about nude selfies.

Watson, who came to fame as Hermione Granger in the eight enormously successful “Harry Potter” films, was the recipient of the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year.

Watson is a graduate of Brown University and a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador. A filmed tribute featured “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and director Alfonso Cuaron singing the actress’ praises.

“That was really overwhelming for me to watch,” said Watson, trying to hold back her emotions. She said that the British film industry “hasn’t just been a workplace for me -- it was where I grew up.”

The actress related the story of her pet hamster Millie’s death during production of the first “Harry Potter” film. The movie’s prop department built her a prop coffin.


“Rest in peace, Millie. This one’s for you,” she said.

Mark Ruffalo, who will next be seen in “Foxcatcher,” received the Britannia Humanitarian Award. In 2010, Ruffalo founded the nonprofit Water Defense, which advocates for access to clean water and for more information on water content.

“Our entire existence is completely wrapped up in water,” Ruffalo said. “Today our water supply is under a lot of strain.”

“Veep” creator/executive producer Armando Iannucci presented actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus with the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy.

“She’s won five Emmys, which is the equivalent to one BAFTA,” he said with a laugh.

In a very funny bit, Louis-Dreyfus fumbled for words until Iannucci hurried out on stage with a written speech that she read in a very proper British accent.

Director Jim Sheridan (“My Left Foot”) gave Mike Leigh (“Secrets & Lies,” “Mr. Turner”) the John Schlesinger Award for Excellence in Directing.

“When they rang me up and asked if I would present this award to Mike Leigh, I said ‘Mike Leigh? I hate Mike Leigh,’” Sheridan said, deadpan. “Like every time I made a depressing movie, he comes along and makes a really depressing movie and gets all the awards.”

Actor Dustin Hoffman described Dench, who received the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment, as “one of the world’s greatest actors and she’s refused to slow down.”

Dench, who won the Oscar for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” reached back to 1959 for the memory of a filmmaker saying to her: “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but you will never make a film because your face just isn’t properly arranged.”

It took nearly 36 years for her to make it to feature films, when director John Madden hired her for a TV movie about Queen Victoria, which ultimately became the feature film “Mrs. Brown,” for which she earned her first Oscar nomination.

For the Record
Oct. 31, 5:21 p.m.:
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Judi Dench received her first Oscar for “Mrs. Brown.” She received her first Oscar nomination for the film.

“Harvey Weinstein, whose tattoo I still have on my bum, said it would be a proper film and it was,” said Dench.

The evening finally concluded around 11 p.m. with the presentation of the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film to Robert Downey Jr. Jon Favreau, who directed Downey in the first two “Iron Man” blockbusters, said that he’s “consistently surprised by the depth of his talent.”

And Jamie Foxx, Downey’s co-star in 2009’s “The Soloist,” told the audience that his 4-year-old daughter wanted “Iron Man” to appear at her birthday celebration. Downey not only showed up, the actor arrived with a basket of “Iron Man’ toys and “then hung out,” Foxx said. “You’re the homie, man.”

The awards will be broadcast Sunday on BBC America.

Twitter: @mymackie