The Pitch Perfect star used her time on stage to lighten the mood at the ceremony held at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The actress kicked off by joking about sustainability at the awards, claiming that her dress – a red and black number – was constructed from two she had previously worn.
She said the red dress was from when she lost the Miss Australia pageant, and that the black half was from “the funeral I went to for the feature film Cats”.
Rebel, who appeared in the star-studded musical film alongside Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Idris Elba, quipped that it was “strangely not nominated for any awards”.
“I’m not sure if anyone has been across the controversy, but this year there has been a distinct lack of nominations for felines,” she added, referring to the film’s poor performance at the box office and among critics.
“Even in this best director CAT-egory, no felines have been nominated.
“It’s really shocking, but at least I get to hold this Bafta for a moment.”
With a sigh, she held the mask-shaped award up to her face and said: “And wow, what a great way to stop yourself from getting coronavirus.”
And this was the reaction of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when Rebel called the Royal Albert Hall the Royal Andrew Hall...
Turning her attention to the director award, which was controversially comprised of only male nominees, she said: “I don’t think I could do what they do. I don’t think I have the balls.”
Her comment was reminiscent of Oscar nominations presenter Issa Rae, who quipped “congratulations to those men” after the all-male shortlist was announced.
It is the seventh year in a row that there has not been a single female director included in the category – the last time a woman was included was Kathryn Bigelow in 2013 for The Hurt Locker.
Sir Sam Mendes won the director gong for his war film 1917.