BAFTA Nominations Review- Great Dames, Oscar Foreshadowing, and a Hollywood Outlook

Dame Maggie Smith is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the British comedy film The Lady in the Van.

The BAFTA nominations were released this morning and, I have to say, they are pretty underwhelming. Rather predictable across the board, with the odd nomination making little sense as far as continuity is concerned, there are quite a few mentions for people they like, and on the whole, they’ve moved away from predicting the Brits, with the first time in a long while that no British film is nominated for Best Film; long are the days where a film like The Commitments or The Full Monty could go home with quite a few wins in the major categories.

Best Film is quite interesting this year, as all the nominees are likely to do very well at next Thursday’s Oscar nominations. There’s actually an argument for each of the nominees to go and win it, especially without the British vote. Bridge of Spies leads the nominations and is definitely BAFTA’s cup of tea; Carol is a part British production, and managed to get all the major nominations they wanted, including stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara; The Big Short got into Director and is looking strong in Screenplay; The Revenant had a very strong showing, and they could be looking to award Alejandro G. Inarritu after he went home empty handed last year; and Spotlight would be the film to go for if they want to keep in touch with the Oscars, where it is the favourite. I’ll go for The Revenant for the time being, but who knows?

In director, we’re in a strange position where Ridley Scott is essentially a lock, even though he’s the only nominee without a corresponding Best Film nomination. That’s how much they love him, I guess, and with his two strongest competitors in Tom McCarthy and George Miller not nominated, he should be clear for the win. I actually fancy Sir Ridley to also receive the BAFTA fellowship this year as well, as this seems like the right time to do it, a la Mike Leigh last year after Mr. Turner.

In Best Actor we have the true lock of the night, Leonardo DiCaprio is winning his first BAFTA for The Revenant. It helps him massively that he’s the one that is nominated for a film in Best Film, with Fassbender having an outside chance for the under-appreciated Steve Jobs. Matt Damon isn’t showy enough in The Martian, Bryan Cranston isn’t massive in the UK and is Trumbo‘s only nomination, and Eddie Redmayne only just won this category last year, even though he is beloved. Basically, bet your house on DiCaprio.

Best Actress is an interesting one, even though I think Saoirse Ronan is safe for a win, despite Brooklyn surprisingly missing out in a couple of major categories. Maggie Smith is definitely a threat, but the reception for The Lady in the Van appears to be muted, missing out in British Film and Adapted Screenplay. Oscar frontrunner Brie Larson suffers from the same problem, though Room did get into Adapted Screenplay. Cate Blanchett is the only one nominated for a British Film nominee, but she only won 2 years ago, while Alicia Vikander doesn’t have a chance for The Danish Girl– she’ll be more likely rewarded in Supporting Actress. I’d go for Ronan, who should be pleased that Charlotte Rampling missed out as she would closely challenge for 45 Years.

Over in Supporting Actor, it looks like this is all locked up for Mark Rylance to win, especially as Bridge of Spies received such an enthusiastic response from BAFTA voters, and that Sylvester Stallone missed out for Creed, which was completely snubbed. His nearest challenger is Idris Elba, but as he is the only representation for Beasts of No Nation (which is odd as he is not the most memorable part of that film), it seems unlikely. Christian Bale could be representing The Big Short‘s starry ensemble, as could Mark Ruffalo with Spotlight‘s ensemble, but, again, don’t count on it. I’m very pleased about calling Benicio Del Toro’s nomination for Sicario, which is a classic BAFTA choice, while Tom Hardy missing out is particularly odd as they love The Revenant, and he is a previous BAFTA winner in Rising Star.

In Supporting Actress, Alicia Vikander pretty much has this wrapped up for Ex Machina, especially if she wins the Golden Globe on Sunday. Kate Winslet will be a close contender, but Steve Jobs is still looking iffy. Jennifer Jason Leigh has the same issue with The Hateful Eight, and Julie Walters’ role in Brooklyn is far too small for her to contest. Vikander’s toughest competition is probably Carol‘s Rooney Mara, who just about scraped a nod after the category confusion surrounding her role. Rachel McAdams’ snub hurts her Oscar chances for Spotlight, while Helen Mirren missing out for Trumbo is very odd indeed, especially as Cranston got in.

In the screenplay categories, Spotlight looks pretty safe for Original Screenplay, with Inside Out and Bridge of Spies following closely behind. In Adapted, it’s a straight shoot out between The Big Short and Carol, with edge going to The Big Short, as it’s pretty much the only place that it can realistically win. As for snubs, I’m quite surprised by legendary writer Alan Bennett missing out in Adapted for The Lady in the Van, while double BAFTA winner David O. Russell misses out in Original for Joy, which was snubbed entirely, but that wasn’t that shocking.

Inside Out looks safe in Animated Feature, after Anomalisa was ineligible due to having a March 11th UK release, with Shaun the Sheep Movie closely following. Minions boosted its Oscar chances by getting in over The Good Dinosaur and The Peanuts Movie, which was very odd indeed. The Best British Film has a wide variety of different films, from documentaries to surreal comedy. Suffragette missing out is very strange, while, on a personal level, I’m heartbroken by X+Y‘s snub, when it would be a more than deserving nominee. Ex Machina should be favourite, at least for the time being.

Overall, the BAFTA nominations this year are rather boring and, with the show being broadcast about an hour after it actually starts, and that it is once again by the near-unsufferably pompous Stephen Fry, I won’t be surprised if it has low viewing figures. Bring on the Oscar nomination as at least British will be coming in further force there.

The British Academy Film Awards will be on BBC One on Sunday 14th February 2015 at 9:00pm GMT.


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