Several notions were put to rest today by the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, the United Kingdom equivalent of the Academy Awards. First is that Carol was having a bad year. Tying Bridge of Spies for most nominations with 9, Carol is the year’s most nominated film. Unfortunately, they went for the category fraud and put Rooney Mara in support, which is strange since they put Alicia Vikander in lead for The Danish Girl. Bridge of Spies doing so amazingly well, including its appearance in a five-slot Best Picture field shows just how strong the film is still doing in spite of its seeming absence from the precursors.
Mad Max: Fury Road may have pulled seven nominations, but none of them were for Best Picture or Best Director, two categories many thought it would be a player in. The Best Director issue is galling and may be exacerbated by the DGA next week, but with only five spaces in Best Picture, it’s not surprising that it missed out since many of us thought it was safe for Best Picture, but not necessarily for Best Director. The Big Short also had a big day, proving that its late emergence is no fluke. The Revenant and Spotlight, unsurprisingly, made the top five.
Only films about serious subjects filled Best Picture, which means films like The Martian, Ex Machina and Inside Out were nowhere to be seen. Brooklyn had a good day, but its total was goosed by a nomination for Best British Film (along with Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, 45 Years and documentary Amy.
Other notable inclusions/exclusions: Anchorman director Adam McKay squeezes into the tight Best Director field while Ridley Scott takes odd-man-out position over Spotlight‘s Tom McCarthy. Other Oscar competitors Lenny Abrahamson and George Miller were left off.
The Bryan Cranston love is no fluke, which means Steve Carell couldn’t even ride his film’s wave of support to a nomination. The big surprise in Best Actress is not that Maggie Smith made the cut, she is one of the eclectic BAFTA-Home-Field selections, but it’s who she replaced. Not Alicia Vikander, but Rooney Mara and, most notably, home field competitor Charlotte Rampling. They saw her because her film was nominated for Best British Film, but nowhere else. This has to be a blow to her Oscar chances.
It’s hard to tell if Idris Elba’s appearance in Supporting Actor is a BAFTA one-off or an Oscar trend. Best Actor didn’t have one, so it’s possible Best Supporting Actor doesn’t either, but with Benicio Del Toro a fellow soft player for the Oscar nomination, it’s possible they aren’t very representative. Missing are Michael Shannon, Michael Keaton and Sylvester Stallone. BAFTA isn’t that sentimental (unless you’re British), so it’s possible that Stallone’s omission was going to be expected.
Julie Walters is likely the BAFTA-only nominee. It’s disappointing that Mara is here, but not surprising. See my article I posted on my prior nominations predictions for my reasoning. It’s such a slim field that it may be that Vikander’s appearance for Ex Machina may have pushed balloting towards her inclusion in Best Actress rather than Best Supporting Actress where she would surely have appeared otherwise. Joan Allen, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda are the notably absent.
No surprises in Original Screenplay, they match my predictions five-for-five. In Adapted Screenplay, It’s the inclusion of Brooklyn over The Martian that may be telling since the former was likely favored by BAFTA over the latter, but could be a sign that Martian‘s script isn’t as strong a player as we thought.
Carol is conspicuously absent from Best Original Score; Bridge of Spies played well down ballot, but most of our predictions seemed to be fairly spot-on in this regard. Overall, a very Oscar traditional list, which may mean it’s farther afield than normal considering the Academy’s broadening of membership. Either that or these will be highly influential. Since Oscar voting ends today, I’m not sure they’ll change anyone’s minds, though.
(9) Bridge of Spies, Carol
(8) The Revenant
(7) Mad Max: Fury Road
(6) Brooklyn (5), The Martian
(5) The Big Short, The Danish Girl (4), Ex Machina (3)
(4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(3) The Hateful Eight, Sicario, Spotlight, Steve Jobs
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