It’s disaster against drama at this year’s BAFTAs, but who will win? Here’s our analysis of the nominations.
Best Film nominations this awards season are all but arbitrary – BAFTA should just give it to 12 Years a Slave now. By all accounts it is an outstanding piece of filmmaking and deals with a difficult subject in a way that is more ‘palatable’ to voters, as opposed to Django Unchained, which essentially was a romp through the Antebellum South that happened to be about slavery. If there was a people’s choice award it would go to Gravity, and whilst it is a ‘game-changer’ and other such wankerish phrases, there’s not enough substance to clinch a win. Lovely to see Philomena up against such titans as Captain Phillips and American Hustle, but really it doesn’t stand a chance.
Lovely to see Philomena up against titans Captain Phillips and American Hustle for Best Picture, but it doesn’t stand a chance
In the Outstanding British Film category, however, it absolutely does. Contenders Gravity and Rush have managed to garner nominations in this category too, provoking a few eyebrows into forming quizzical arches. Though on the surface they may not appear to be overtly British, a number of factors are taken into consideration as to whether a film qualifies. Gravity, for example, was produced by Brit David Heyman, shot almost entirely at Pinewood and Shepperton studios and had VFX created at a London-based company. By anyone’s standards, that’s pretty British.
The biggest scrap will be in the Director category, with more big names than you can shake a stick at, and a bloody large stick too. The contest is really between Steve McQueen and Alfonso Cuarón, who could both lay equal claim to deserving the award, but there’s always a chance Paul Greengrass, David O. Russell or Martin Scorsese could cause an upset. It’s a very small chance, of course, but a chance nonetheless.
While Gravity is a visual banquet and undeniably a white-knuckle thrill ride, why BAFTA nominated it for Original Screenplay is a total mystery. The dialogue is less BAFTA and more B-movie, and the story essentially consists of a series of things going wrong. And yet here it is. It would be tempting to call the award for Inside Llewyn Davis, which didn’t manage to get a look in for Best Film, but BAFTA may decide to recognise Woody Allen’s current return to form and give it to Blue Jasmine. Guaranteed he won’t be there to collect it though.
Behind The Candelabra’s nominations are a delicious ‘fuck you’ to the US studios that wouldn’t release it
In the Adapted Screenplay category, we are presented with the tantalising prospect of Steve Coogan winning a BAFTA for Philomena with co-writer Jeff Pope, and they could bloody well do it too. 12 Years a Slave is nominated in this category too, quelle surprise, as is Behind The Candelabra, in another delicious ‘fuck you’ to the US studios that wouldn’t release it for fear of alienating audiences with a ‘gay film’. For that reason alone I hope it wins, but it’ll probably be 12 Years a Slave.
Chiwetel Ejiofor seems to be the frontrunner for Best Actor at the moment, but every time Leonardo DiCaprio finds his way into the category there’s always a faint hope that this will be the year that he finally wins an award, and this year is no different. DiCaprio really goes full-bore into The Wolf of Wall Street and given the current climate of feeling towards bankers in general, it could be a timely win. However, Ejiofor’s brave portrayal of a free man thrown into slavery may be too much to turn down. How wonderful it is to see Bruce Dern getting a nomination too – 77 and still showing us how it’s done.
Cate Blanchett. Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett. When Blue Jasmine went on release back in September, everyone basically threw their hands up and said “OK, she’s gonna win,” and nothing seems to have changed that position since. The other nominees are all very worthy, particularly Sandra Bullock, who managed to turn Gravity’s half-arsed dialogue into a strong performance, but Blanchett has got this all sewn up. No one likes a one-horse race, but her performance is so perfect that we’re happy to let her canter over the finish line by herself.
Sticking out like a sore thumb is Oprah Winfrey – the cynic inside thinks BAFTA would just like to see her at the awards ceremony
To be nominated for a BAFTA for your first ever acting role is already incredible, but wouldn’t it just be sensational if Barkhad Abdi won Supporting Actor for his work in Captain Phillips? It takes a big man to go toe-to-toe with Hollywood stalwarts like Tom Hanks, but Abdi actually ends up stealing the show. It’s surprising to see Matt Damon amongst the nominees, though he absolutely deserves to be there for his performance as Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson in Behind The Candelabra. Fassbender looks like the most likely choice here, but make no mistake, we’re rooting for you, Barkhad.
The hardest call to make is in the Supporting Actress category, which doesn’t really have any obvious frontrunners to speak of. The ever-brilliant Sally Hawkins gets a nomination for Blue Jasmine, as does the infallible Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. Sticking out like a sore thumb is Oprah Winfrey, who gives a brilliant turn in The Butler, but the cynic inside thinks BAFTA would just like to see her at the awards ceremony. You never know, she might give everyone in the audience a free trip to the Oscars.
Featured image: Film 4/Channel 4/eOne UK
Inset images: Warner Bros; Sony Pictures Classics