So, Mr Ross, how about that fee...

By BAZ BAMIGBOYE

Last updated at 07:27 26 October 2007


Those paupers at BBC television are hoping Jonathan Ross will take pity on them and cut the fee he charges to present Britain's Academy Awards.

Ross pockets between £75,000 to £80,000 for one night's work marshalling movie stars on and off stage for the Orange British Academy Film Awards - this, by the way, comes on top of the millions he takes home from the BBC for hosting his Radio 2 slot, the film review programme and his Fridaynight interview show.

Ross took over last February from long-time film awards presenter Stephen Fry whose wit and erudition are treasured by movie world folk. Also, Mr Fry was more of a bargain charging two thirds less than Mr Ross.

In any case, with Peter Fincham out as BBC 1 Controller there might well be a change of mind about Ross hosting the awards show on February 10.

"It would be a generous gesture on Jonathan's part if he were to halve his fee or just make a charitable contribution to the BBC and give his services on this one occasion for free," an executive connected to the awards programme told me in a tone that suggested none of those things would happen.

Interestingly, Ross's £80,000 asking fee was already cut-price.

But whoever ends up presenting the Baftas, it's a bumper year for the movies.

Atonement with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, and Control (which leads the nominations for the British Independent Film Awards) with Sam Riley have both been hailed by many as the films of the year.

Then there's The Golden Age with Cate Blanchett's majestic performance. And might Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix get a look in?

American fare such as George Clooney's film Michael Clayton, Sean Penn's Into The Wild, Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (more Far Eastern than American) should also be in the running.

There's an interesting buzz around Ridley Scott's American Gangster, a lot of heat around Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood, and Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd is supposed to be a cut above the rest.

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