ON Sunday afternoon news broke that the heavily pregnant mum photographed on a stretcher in Ukraine had died, tragically along with her unborn baby.
Simultaneously, 2,000 miles away from the rubbled streets of Mariupol, multi-millionaire movie stars, dripping in jewellery and designer labels, gathered on the red carpet for their own, carefully orchestrated photo ops.
As half a million Ukrainians face starvation, the titans of Hollywood back-slapped, guffawed and toasted their unparalleled success at the Baftas.
Naturally, this was the wokest awards ceremony in Bafta history. But these thesps aren’t FIENDS.
Of course they paid tribute to the casualties of war, as waitresses topped up their Taittinger.
Their hearts were bleeding, they explained, between mouthfuls of whipped vegan curd and Creedy Carver duck breast with roasted pear, duck fat carrot and a croustillant of confit duck leg.
Woke eyes, carefully made up by headline sponsor Lancôme, were watering as stars mourned families being torn apart.
Despite such internal angst, these superstars put on the performance of their lives — laughing heartily as host Rebel Wilson cracked gag after gag.
“Ladies and gentlemen, and gender-fluid youth,” she began. And how the millionaires chortled, gamely putting their heartbreak to one side.
With water supplies cut off in the Donbas region of Ukraine, the champagne flowed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. (Soon joined by some Woodford Reserve, another sponsor).
While thousands of people in Britain were busy organising clothes banks for displaced citizens, celebs excitedly flaunted their freebie designer frocks — ones costing around twice the average monthly Ukrainian salary.
Actresses took to Instagram to flog their wares, shamelessly “tagging” their glam squads: The designers, jewellers, shoe makers, make-up artists, stylists and personal trainers, in gushing posts.
Perhaps the real winner of the night was Prince William.
The Duke of Cambridge, Bafta’s President, wisely gave the ceremony a wide berth, reportedly over concerns about the war. In his place was a video message.
So what of the awards themselves, which an average of 2.5million people watched — down 1.5million from pre-Covid, pre-war times?
Kevin Maher, writing in The Times, declared: “Almost everything was wrong with this illogical, erratic and nonsensical winners’ list.”
I’m guessing many viewers, watching from their sofas — no bubbles in hand — were doing so because they had little other choice.
PREENING PRIMA DONNAS
The BBC insisted on airing this snorefest in a prime-time Sunday night slot. For those without the luxury of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky or Disney+, it was this or Crufts.
Many, wisely, chose to watch a bunch of pampered, preening, prima donnas tottering down the runway. A foolhardy few stuck with the Baftas.
But hey, after 2020’s PR disaster, when Joaquin Pheonix called the awards a “system of oppression” over its largely all-white nominees, Bafta was on a mission.
The Power Of The Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbarch, scooped two awards. It is a film so long, so earnestly nuanced, so on-brand (about a repressed gay cowboy), obviously it had to win.
Perhaps the real winner of the night was Prince William. The Duke of Cambridge, Bafta’s President, wisely gave the ceremony a wide berth, reportedly over concerns about the war. In his place was a video message.
Continuing to bite the very hand that has fed her so well, self-proclaimed feminist Emma Watson appeared to make a sly dig at JK Rowling over her trans views. “I’m here for all the witches”, she declared, with a knowing smirk.
There was one genuinely warm, wonderful moment.
Deaf CODA star Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for a genuinely touching film featuring an ensemble of deaf actors.
Twenty years ago this would have been unthinkable. Such progress, giving minorities a voice, is where “woke” culture is a force for good.
In a world that is so grim right now, there is a need for escapism. For nice clothes and pretty faces.
But airing this self-congratulatory, right-on ceremony, filled with such excess, live on our national broadcaster, seems ill-advised.
Let the luvvies have their night, but spare the rest of us.
KEIR’S MANSPLAINING A PAIN. PERIOD
AS far as I know, Sir Keir Starmer has never had a period. He’s never experienced the headf***ery of PMT.
He’s probably never walked home from a night out, nervously clutching his mobile in one hand and keys, sharp edges facing out, in the other.
And he’s most definitely never given birth to a living, breathing, human baby.
Yet here he is, enlightening us all with what it means to be female.
Asked to define what a “woman” is, Sir Keir explained: “A woman is a female adult, and in addition to that trans women are women, and that is not just my view – that is actually the law.”
Is there anything more annoying than a white, privileged, middle-aged, middle-class bloke mansplaining about the sisterhood?
ROLE IS JAMIE’S BIGGEST
WHAT does it say about our society that the bravest thing an actress can do is get fat?
Jamie Lee Curtis, star of 1988 classic A Fish Called Wanda, declined a fat suit to play her latest character.
Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Paulson, Courteney Cox and, most recently, Renee Zellweger (who, tbf, gave it a good crack previously in Bridget Jones) Jamie lets it all hang out in her new movie Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Alongside a less-than-flattering shot on Instagram, above, she said: “I’ve been sucking my stomach in since I was 11.
“I very specifically decided to relinquish and release every muscle I had that I used to clench to hide the reality.
“I have never felt more free creatively and physically.”
Totally admirable. But no way in hell am I letting it all hang out on the beach this summer.
CYBERFLASHING is to become a specific criminal offence, with offenders facing two years in prison.
Music, surely, to poor Emily Atack’s ears.
As she put it recently: “Before breakfast, I’ve seen about ten penises I’ve not asked to see.”
Alpen is so 2019.
VLAD THAT IS SORTED
OVER the years, Vladimir Putin and his cronies have been at pains to ensure Westerners pronounce the megalomaniac’s name correctly.
A woman called Lena Olausson, from the BBC Pronunciation Unit (really), explains: “The stress on the first name falls on the second syllable, and there is no “pew” sound in the surname: vluh-DEE-meer POO-tin”.
So well done to this prankster whose dog waste sticker has gone viral on Reddit, and is now popping up on bins across the country.
Here’s an alternative, one that does exactly what it says on the tin. And one for the Poo-tin PR dept, perhaps.
DORA TO SPAY IT SAFE
HORROR in the Moodie household.
I thought emergency pregnancy tests were long behind me. Alas, no.
Dora Moodie, the one-year-old miniature dachshund, recently came into season, and — as my back was turned — got mounted by a shiba inu.
The humping, I’m told, was brief but, as Take That once sang, It Only Takes A Minute (Girl).
With her giant, rock-hard nipples, little pot belly and constant “nesting”, I could ignore the signs no longer.
One emergency trip to the vet and an ultrasound later, it turns out little Dora is experiencing a “phantom pregnancy” — a phenomenon experienced by around 40 per cent of unspayed bitches.
I’m too young to be a grandmother — she’s getting spayed next month.
YOU don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
With news, in UK Times on Sunday, that the Queen is too frail to walk her beloved corgis, we must now, more than ever, appreciate our 95-year-old monarch.
The Queen is a fighter.
Let’s hope she battles her way out of this latest health setback and never take her for granted again.
BEAT IT BULLIES
WE all know a John Bercow. Every workplace has one.
A power-hungry, frothing-at-the-mouth, little man belittling others in order to make himself feel that much taller.
Excoriated in last week’s 89-page report, the former Commons speaker – dubbed a “serial bully” — has been suspended by the Labour Party.
Let’s hope this signifies a wider tide change — every office must bin the Bercows.