X+Y is one of my favourite films of the year so far and I honestly believe that it should be considered for February’s BAFTAs, despite it being released in the UK back in March. This Monday sees it’s DVD release and I hope that it reignites the film’s awards chances, because it certainly is more than worthy. This was shown by the 3 acting nominations at the British Independent Film Awards, with Asa Butterfield nominated for Best Actor, losing to Brendan Gleeson, Rafe Spall nominated for Best Supporting Actor, losing to Andrew Scott, and Sally Hawkins nominated for Best Supporting Actress, losing to Imelda Staunton. This is all the more impressive, considering that the only screening of the film coming at the Toronto International Film Festival.
But does that mean that it’s BAFTA chances are gone? It shouldn’t do, as eligibility for the BAFTAs is from mid-February, yet Still Alice still received a nomination and win for Best Actress for Julianne Moore with a March 6th release last year. But The Lego Movie also was nominated for and won Best Animated Feature last year with a February 2014 release. On that basis, British films with critical acclaim such as Testament of Youth, Ex_Machina and Kingsman: The Secret Service are all ineligible for next year’s due to their January releases.
Yet, all of this is irrelevant if the film is no good and has no chance of receiving a nomination. But that’s not the case, as the film is absolutely terrific, holding it’s head high at 100% Rotten Tomatoes from 33 reviews. It’s one of those films in which the BAFTA’s should eat up, as it follows themes such as illness (both autism and multiple sclerosis are topics that are treated delocately), loss, triumphing against the odds and has really great performances by some of the best British talents. Considering the deserved appreciation that the BAFTA’s gave to The Theory of Everything, it really should be put in those high heights. But that film was released in early January, a prime awards baiting slot. X+Y is far from awards bait, so much so that it has been widely praised for managing to move away from cliches, and instead create it’s own formula of half heart-warming and half heart-breaking, similarly to the massive success that was Philomena.
As far as it’s competition is concerned, you can almost feel comfortable putting money on the upcoming Suffragette to win Best British Film as it is the British film with best Oscar chances currently, and is also due to open the BFI London Film Festival. It would also be safe to say that Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, starring last year’s BAFTA winner Eddie Redmayne, has a fair chance at a nomination as well as Justin Kurzel’s MacBeth, which has received wide critical acclaim out of Cannes. Also look out for Sundance hit Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan and Spectre, which has a fair chance considering Skyfall‘s win three years ago. Also, looking at the films that have already been released, the excellent Far From the Madding Crowd, family favourite Shaun the Sheep Movie (remember Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit winning in this category), Mr. Holmes and the documentary Amy (Asif Kapadia’s previous work, Senna, was nominated here) all have a fair chance considering their critical acclaim. Despite this, I’m still holding out hope for X+Y.
X+Y isn’t going to make a difference across the pond, where it is stupidly titled A Brilliant Young Mind, so it would mean a hell of a lot more for it to be nominated here. I’m also holding out hope for writer-director Morgan Matthews to receive a nod for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer/Director/Producer, so he can add a 3rd BAFTA to his collection, following wins for The Fallen and 7/7: One Day in London. Also, it will be nice to see recognition in the Rising Star category for newcomer Jake Davies, who is wonderful as the Monty Python-obsessed Luke, whose scene of self-harm is truly heartbreaking. I would say that Asa Butterfield would be in contention also, but he probably missed his chance after the release of Hugo in 2011, the same can be said for Alex Lawther, with 2014’s The Imitation Game. X+Y is essential viewing, and if it were to get awards recognition, it will hopefully get people to see it, and if enough people do, it is sure to become a cult classic. I know that there is a long way to go, but an urge to BAFTA voters: please, when voting for Best British film, ignore the obvious choices and go for a properly British, and absolutely excellent, film like X+Y. If you do, I will forever be grateful, and some more faith in BAFTA will be assured.
X+Y is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday 13th July 2015.