2012 Baftas: in pictures

Seven awards for the <em>The Artist</em>, two for <em>Tinker Tailor</em> and Best Actress to Meryl a

Picture: The Artist

Actor: Jean Dujardin - The Artist

Actress: Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady

Director: Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Supporting actress: Octavia Spencer - The Help

Supporting actor: Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Animated film: Rango

Documentary: Senna

Outstanding British film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Film not in the English language: The Skin I Live In

Outstanding debut: Tyrannosaur

Adapted screenplay: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan

Original screenplay: The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius

Production design: Hugo - Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

Cinematography: The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman

Makeup and hair: The Iron Lady - Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland, Marese Langan

Costume design: The Artist - Mark Bridges

Editing: Senna - Gregers Sall and Chris King

Sound: Hugo - Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman, John Midgley

Original score: The Artist - Ludovic Bource

Rising star award: Adam Deacon

Academy fellowship: Martin Scorsese

Outstanding contribution to British cinema: John Hurt

Special visual effects: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - Tim Burke, John Richardson, Greg Butler and David Vickery

Short animation: A Morning Stroll - Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

Short film: Pitch Black Heist - John Maclean and Geraldine O'Flynn

All photos: Getty Images

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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Are celebrities deliberately messing up their award show performances?

How the "accidental" tumble came to dominate awards season.

The first thing I saw about last night’s Brit awards is that during Katy Perry’s performance of her new single “Chained to the Rhythm” a dancer – dressed as a house – fell off the stage.

This housing crisis is the most meme-able and memorable moment of the entire awards ceremony, but not because it’s anything new. The house follows in the (tumbling) footsteps of Madonna, who in 2015 fell over on the Brits’ stage after a dancer stood on her giant, flowing cape.

If it seems strange that some of the world’s biggest and best known artists are prone to hiring clumsy back-up dancers, it should. Since I’m-so-normal-in-my-$4m-Dior-dress Jennifer Lawrence fell over at the Oscars in 2013, there has been a spate of televised celebrity mishaps.

In 2014, normal-oh-so-normal J Law decided to take another Oscars tumble. In 2015, Perry’s back-up dancer at the Super Bowl, Left Shark, shot to meme fame for its clumsy and out-of-time dance moves. This New Year’s, Mariah Carey gave a self-described “mess” of a performance.

So is this just a coincidence? After all, celebrities have always had live performance mishaps, the most famous being Justin Timberlake exposing Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl. But in the late Tens, thanks to social media, mishaps have become the fastest and easiest way to get talked about. After all, when’s the last time anyone on Twitter recommended a mainstream celebrity’s performance because it was “so very touching and good”?

The proof is in the numbers. Left Shark’s dance moves helped 2015 to become the most Tweeted about Super Bowl ever, with numbers dropping dramatically in 2016 (where Coldplay had no mishap other than their continued existence). Tweets and statuses are one thing, of course, and money is another. After her 2015 performance, Perry started selling Left Shark merchandise in her official online store. Mishaps are profitable in more ways than one.

Social media has therefore revolutionised the celebrity mishap, but so too have the phones from which we post our updates. The fact more of us take our smartphones to live shows means that the public can catch mishaps that might traditionally have been brushed under the rug (or cape). It was an audience member, after all, that caught Perry’s falling house on camera.

Short of a shark/house whistle blower, however, there is no definitive proof of this new celebrity conspiracy theory. Yet when it is known that marketers deliberately outrage consumers to drum up publicity, we have to wonder what PR teams wouldn’t do? A small tumble, after all, is a small price to pay to reach new heights. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.