It’s time for yet ANOTHER awards ceremony ahead of the Academy Awards. This morning, the BAFTA nominees were announced, and solidified some of the frontrunners long-predicted to make it all the way while also leaving off some powerhouse contenders from a number of previous nominations. The BAFTA Awards are another precursor to what we can expect from the Oscar nominations next week, and have a track record of all but nailing the exact nomination list in a number of high profile categories. As always, we’ll focus on the big ones, and take a closer look at who made it, who didn’t, and what it means for this years final announcements.
The British Academy Film and Television Awards his a number of categories tailored to the specific academy. Namely, it adds categories specifically for British filmmaking, so unlike other awards shows each of the major categories technically have two sections i.e. Best Film and Outstanding British film. We’ll look at the just the ones that will more than likely crossover, so just the Best Film category. These nominations had very little surprises, as it included every single frontrunner long predicted to be nominated for Best Picture. “Dune,” “Belfast” and “Power of the Dog” once again top the list, joined by “Licorice Pizza” and “Don’t Look Up.” The only surprise here is the last one, as many people thought it may be pushed out by other, stronger contenders. The film landing a BAFTA nomination all but assures its place on the Best Picture list, and it’ll be interesting to see what comes up short from this inclusion.
The Best Director category actually had some surprises on there. The category includes noms for big frontrunners like Jane Campion and Paul Thomas Anderson, but somehow left off Kenneth Branagh and Denis Villeneuve, two heavy hitters who have made it onto every single director nomination list until now. The category surprisingly added Julia Ducournau for “Titane,” a film I’ve longed championed as being an overlooked contender in every category that matters. It’s really nice to see this film on a best of list, as it deserves far more credit that anyone else has given it. This inclusion means that BAFTA voters actually watched and appreciated lesser known films, and that makes it more surprising that David Lowery was left off for “The Green Knight.”
Many of the other big categories like Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, and Supporting Actor and Actress has little to no surprises, and is comprised of all of the major frontrunners that have been in contention since the start of awards season. Where things get real saucy is with the Best Actor and Actress category. It is here where see some of the biggest snubs and surprises, with a lot of for sure bets missing entirely in both categories. In the Best Actor Category, frontrunners Belevich Cumberbun (yes I still find joy in butchering Benedict Cumberbatch’s name) and Will Smith find their way into the nominations, but somehow Andrew Garfield and Denzel Washington missed the mark. That is pretty shocking considering both men had garnered quite a bit of steam in recent award lists. Garfield especially, as he’s also a British actor turning in one of the best performances of the year. He’s replaced here by Leonardo DiCaprio for “Don’t Look Up,” a shocking inclusion that I don’t believe many people thought would actually come to fruition. The Best Actor BAFTA nominees all but assure that the race is really down to Smith and Cumberbatch at the Oscars this year.
Best Actress is easily the most surprising category, with the biggest snub across the board being Kirsten Stewart for “Spencer.” Championed by critics as one of the best performances of the year, Stewart has been noticeably absent in the race. The exclusion from the BAFTA list all but ensures her performance will go unrecognized at the Academy, shattering her chances of winning for one her most talked about performances of her entire career. I cannot for the life of me understand why voters have continually overlooked this performance, but even more shocking? Olivia Coleman is nowhere to be found! The Best Actress nominations included long critical darling Renate Reinsve for “The Worst Person in the World,” and Tessa Thompson for “Passing,” two performances that have largely gone unrecognized and deserve it here. But excluding Olivia Coleman for “The Lost Daughter?” How do you finally recognize “Titane” for being an incredible film and Jessie Buckley for Best Supporting Actress, but leave off Olivia freaking Coleman?!
Though I have long stood by not including “Being the Ricardos” for anything, Nicole Kidman is also absent from the Best Actress list. With the two biggest powerhouses in Coleman and Kidman absent, it seems all but assured that with her BAFTA Best Actress nomination, Lady Gaga has done it again and will now most likely be the chosen winner for the Oscars this year. We all know that awards are more determined by campaigns and money than actual quality of performance, and Universal has campaigned HARD for “House of Gucci.” Though she is great and probably deserves the nomination, it’s sad to see campaigning in action, and even worse so rewarded in the face of some pretty major snubs in this hotly contested category.
A speed round of some surprises, both snubs and deserved recognition: It is wonderful to see Mike Faist on the Best Supporting Actor list, as well as Jessie Buckley for her often overlooked performance in “The Lost Daughter.” Ann Dowd finally gets her due for “Mass,” “Dune” of course sweeps the technical categories, Peter Dinklage gets snubbed AGAIN for “Cyrano,” and “Flee” deservedly dethrones “Sing 2” for Best Animated Film. “Tick, Tick…Boom!” is completely missing from all categories, with “Belfast” being noticeably absent from a number of categories it’s been dominating so far. And lastly (and a personal favorite call out of mine), Jared Leto is nowhere to be found.
It will be very interesting to see how the BAFTA nominations shake up the Oscar predictions. It packed a lot of surprises and snubs, and will have a number of critics and cinephiles scrambling to readjust their frontrunners ahead of Tuesday.
You check out the full list of nominees here. The BAFTA Award Ceremony will take place in London on March 13th.