LORD of the Rings star Andy Serkis has used his Baftas speech to pillory Priti Patel for the Home Office’s widely criticised response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

The actor and director, known for playing Gollum, took aim at the Home Secretary by saying her debut film would be called “hostile environment”.

Whilst introducing the award for the best director, Serkis said: “A world-class director is a visionary empowered to change the world with a story that they are burning to tell.

“Bringing together and leading a huge family of supremely talented strangers on a difficult and chaotic journey, whilst hopefully creating an atmosphere that inspires inclusivity and values every single member of that family equally.

“So it is no surprise that Priti Patel on her debut feature ‘Hostile Environment’ found enormous problems.

“And that her follow-up movie ‘All refugees are welcome but some are more welcome than others’ is a complete nightmare.”

The remarks drew cheers and applause from the crowd, with award-winning actor Stephen Graham evidently impressed.

READ MORE: Scotland and Wales send Gove 'super sponsors' plan for Ukrainian refugees

Reflecting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine while on the red carpet, Serkis said it is “important” to celebrate the arts as it holds “humanity together”.

“It’s a difficult situation having a celebration like this when such horrendous, horrific things are happening not too far away from here,” he told the PA news agency.

“But I think it’s also important that arts are celebrated because arts do hold humanity together, and actually freedom of speech and the power of storytelling is something that I think Ukrainians would totally applaud.

“So if we hold them up tonight and reflect the enjoyment and the passion back to them, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”

Serkis was not the only one to mention the ongoing conflict during the award ceremony with host Rebel Wilson taking a swipe at the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

As she introduced the performance by Coda star Emilia Jones to Joni Mitchell’s ballad Both Sides Now, Wilson explained that the actress would be accompanied by two sign language interpreters who signed the song in both British Sign Language and American Sign Language.

She added that “luckily though in all sign languages, this is the gesture for Putin” as she gave the middle finger to the Russian leader.

The actress also paid tribute to the people of Ukraine after the In Memory Of segment of the award ceremony.