2013 BAFTA Nominations: Awards Reaction

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen!

2012 has run its course; we made it through the supposed apocalypse and the world is still rotating in full force. Similarly, Hollywood is very hard at work and with 2013 upon us, there’s an expansive list of upcoming films that we will be previewing, reviewing, and discussing to no end over the next twelve months. But until then, we have some unfinished business to take care of.

Despite being well over a week into 2013, the 2012 movie season still has another forty-six days of intrigue, surprise, and debate to go. The awards season has been raging for the past few weeks, with every new announced winner making the Oscar race more and more tricky and unpredictable. In most years, frontrunners can be predicted way in advance, with certain winners guaranteed before they are even screened for critics or audiences. 2012, however, is a year for the ages as almost every category is up in the air with the nominations still very far from definite locks.

Before we finally get to tomorrow morning’s Academy Award nominations, we have one more list of nominations to mull over and decide how, if at all, they affect the final decisions of our beloved Academy. The BAFTA’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) are the UK’s Oscars and they have, since the beginning of the 21st Century, always made sure to release their list of nominees just before the US Academy gets theirs to the public. Even with the Academy’s new online system that allows for the Oscar nominations to be released at this super early date of January 10, 2013, the BAFTA’s still got theirs out a full day in advance. Below is the full list of BAFTA nominees in the major categories; let’s evaluate what this list does for this final stretch of the 2012 awards race:

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Best Film:
“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Les Misérables”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

Best British Film:
“Anna Karenina”
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Les Misérables”
“Seven Psychopaths”
“Skyfall”

Best Director:
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Actor:
Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Misérables”

Best Actress:
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Best Supporting Actor:
Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Javier Bardem, “Skyfall”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Judi Dench, “Skyfall”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Unlike last year, the BAFTA’s appear to be falling into place with many other guild and critic’s group nominations. There are a few shake-ups here and there, but you can put your money on the Academy’s list matching this somewhere in the range of 75%. Last year, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive pulled in a haul of nominations and then scored just a solo nomination – for Sound Editing – come the Academy’s reveal. Outside of Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, which nabbed a surprising nomination count of five, there aren’t any left-field inclusions; what’s more interesting is who didn’t make the cut and what people or films were boxed out of certain categories.

Best Picture: Similar to how the Golden Globes separate their Best Picture categories by genre – Drama and Comedy/Musical – the BAFTAs have two best picture categories: Best Film and Best British Film. Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty would have most likely been the five movies nominated by the Academy had the field not expanded by five potential spots. In the UK, the BAFTAs agree with this guess, for these five films were marked as the choices for 2012’s Best Film. In the more nationality specific Best British Film, Les Misérables scored a second nomination followed by the ambitious Tolstoy adaptation, Anna Karenina, and the senior citizen favorite, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Wright’s Anna doesn’t have much to hope with the Academy outside of its technical merits but it found love with its home country, while The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel could be a surprise Best Picture nominee come tomorrow (it got a SAG Best Ensemble nomination, which is always a good sign). With an Academy full of older individuals, Hotel may be the right kind of biscuit buttering, heartwarming comedy fare worthy of a Best Picture nomination in their eyes.

Now comes the Skyfall equation. If Hotel turns out to miss the mark with the Academy, it will most likely be because of a different kind of a exemplary British turn out, Sam Mendes’ James Bond flick, Skyfall. The beloved 23rd installment of the fifty-year-old franchise is a back door potential in a multitude of categories, including Best Picture. While I was sure that it might pull the double nomination like Les Misérables and that Sam Mendes would land in the Best Director category, it will simply have to settle for less. Still, Skyfall racked in eight total nominations so the film not fulfilling my BAFTA predictions is really not the end of the world, also the PGA nomination a few days ago may have pulled enough weight to throw it into the Academy’s list. The fifth spot went to the gravely underrated Seven Psychopaths, but the BAFTA nom will do little to help the film’s chances with the Academy. It simply didn’t register with American audiences, but its placement on this morning’s list did make me smile (it ranked at #8 on my Top 10 list)

Best Director: One of the biggest question marks in this awards race is a previous Oscar winner and director of one of the year’s most anticipated, and eventually polarizing, films, Les Misérables. At one time, Tom Hooper was a shoe-in for a nomination and was even the proposed winner, but now Hooper’s placement in the list of Best Director nominees is currently on the fence. While the HFPA showed Les Mis some love, the Golden Globes replaced Hooper with Quentin Tarantino in their Best Director rundown. The negative reviews for the bombastic musical adaptation place the bulk of their problems with Hooper’s strange directorial choices, thus making him the most uncertain of the high-level directors. The DGA tossed Hooper a nomination, but that step forward was retraced by his omission by the BAFTAs this morning. Despite being a Brit, the UK is not too fond of Hooper (the year he won on this side of the pond for The King’s Speech, the BAFTAs rightfully chose David Fincher as their Best Director) so their rejection of the Les Mis director isn’t too surprising. However, could this be the final nail in Hooper’s coffin, or will the Academy follow suit with the DGA?

In other news, the Academy tends to match their Best Director category with Best Picture. Back when BP consisted of five nominations, you could be sure that at least four of the five directors nominated for Best Director had directed a Best Picture nominee. With the field having expanded to a maximum of ten Best Picture nominees, the certainty level has changed substantially. Regarding the BAFTAs, only three of the Best Film nominees saw their directors nominated: Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, and Kathryn Bigelow. Along with Hooper, the Academy’s favorite director, Steven Spielberg, is out on the sidelines. The BAFTAs have favored the directorial work of Amour’s Michael Haneke and Django Unchained’s Quentin Tarantino instead. While this is definitely a boost for Haneke and Amour, who’s looking to be the season’s biggest dark horse, if the Academy does in fact leave Hooper out of the Best Director list, could Tarantino swoop in? Let’s hope so.

Best Actor: The always-eligible Denzel Washington was expectedly dismissed by the BAFTAs this morning for his fantastic work in the otherwise lackluster Flight. While this may not sway the Academy, Washington has never been nominated by the BAFTAs so don’t expect this decision to stop him from being among tomorrow’s Best Actor list. Who replaced Washington, however, is more surprising: Ben Affleck. Argo must have been a massive hit with the British critics, for Affleck scored a double nomination for Director and Actor, aside from the expected Best Film nomination. The rest of the category filled out as it has been for months – Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Daniel Day-Lewis – but the BAFTAs did leave out season-long nominee John Hawkes for his mesmerizing work in Ben Lewin’s, The Sessions. Hawkes is a sure-thing when it comes to the Academy so his absence here isn’t game changing, but Affleck will have to settle with the nomination overseas because I don’t see this nomination being mirrored over here. What the BAFTAs do prove within this category is that someone worthy of a nomination is just not going to get one. Whether it’s Cooper, Jackman, Phoenix, or Washington who ends up on the outside looking in is yet to be seen. Day-Lewis’ win is certified, both by the BAFTAs and the Academy, but the list of nominations is a six-person race. Good luck, gentlemen, and congratulations Mr. Affleck on your Best Actor nomination.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are duking it out for the win, they have been for months, but what remains to be seen is whether the BAFTAs and the Academy favor drama or comedy this year since the two performances are genre-specific and honestly couldn’t be more different. The two women gave two of the best performances of the entire year and whoever comes out on top will be a deserving winner. As for the remaining three nominees, Marion Cotillard and Emmanuelle Riva have been gaining momentum over the last few weeks and their placement here at the BAFTAs look like the last push they need to fill out of the category. Helen Mirren’s work in the cruddy Hitchcock was indubitably going to be valued by our British neighbors, but I can’t be so sure that her BAFTA nomination is going to secure her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Quvenzhane Wallis has been dwindling in the race as of recently, but Beasts of the Southern Wild is still finding love in strange places. Wallis wasn’t on the BAFTAs list, but the Academy has nominated, and awarded, a number of children in the past so I’m not putting it past them. But now, where is Naomi Watts? She’s not here, but she’s been nearly everywhere else, as has Rachel Weisz, whose The Deep Blue Sea didn’t get an iota of BAFTA love. Someone has to bite the bullet and fall by the wayside, will it be the youngest nominee ever (Wallis), the oldest (Riva), or someone else? Like Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor, Best Actress has the Chastain-Lawrence package at the top with three rotating spots beneath them.

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro is one of the most well-respected and beloved American actors of all time, therefore I would be shocked if he’s shafted from the Best Supporting Actor category tomorrow by the Academy. His wonderful work in Silver Linings Playbook unfortunately didn’t fare too well with the Brits, mostly because Silver Linings Playbook is a very American-style story – this would explain the film’s absence from the BAFTA race entirely. Yet, from where De Niro fell is where Javier Bardem rose. Skyfall’s dubious villain was masterfully played by the talented Hispanic actor and his BAFTA nomination may allow him to slip into the Best Supporting Actor Oscar race. His Academy recognition will be a dark horse nomination for sure, but many would be reluctant to say he doesn’t deserve it. The Master’s polarized response stopped the film and Paul Thomas Anderson from being nominated by the BAFTAs, but the acting is still being very well regarded. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Lincoln’s Tommy Lee Jones may be the ones to beat this year at the Oscars and it seems to be that way at the BAFTAs as well. This fifth spot is going to be a Django toss-up. Waltz grabbed the BAFTA nom, but Leonardo DiCaprio is still very much in this race. Waltz is an Oscar winner and DiCaprio is a three-time nominee and both provide scene-stealing work in Django Unchained. I’m still on the DiCaprio bandwagon, but I think it’s safe to say that we won’t see the Academy match the HFPA by nominating both performers. This category is tight and a winner is still very much up in the air.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway has this one in the bag, in the US and probably in the UK, but there are still some notes for this supporting category. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Skyfall are duking it out for the British import Best Picture nomination in the states, and Skyfall’s high number of BAFTA nominations looks like it may be the winner. Judi Dench is the perennial BAFTA nominee and she was awarded a BAFTA nomination for her work in Skyfall as opposed to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and while Maggie Smith may still get a phone call tomorrow morning regarding a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Hotel, she wasn’t so lucky with her native Brits. Lincoln led the BAFTA nominations as far as numbers are concerned and its turnout included Sally Field whose chances of an Oscar nomination are all but guaranteed. Amy Adams is fighting through the polarizing nature of The Master and will hopefully feed off the fumes of her BAFTA nomination to fall into the Oscar’s top five-tomorrow morning. Surprisingly, Helen Hunt scored a BAFTA nom for The Sessions despite John Hawkes exclusion; this assures Hunt’s presence among the Oscar nominees tomorrow. The wild card in this category is Nicole Kidman’s electric work in the lauded The Paperboy. BAFTA wasn’t going to toss her a nomination, but this wouldn’t be the first time the Oscars have seen past a film’s glaring flaws and found the performances to be award worthy. Kidman is far from guaranteed, but I think the British vets Dench and Smith are going to be fighting for that fifth spot.

What do you guys think?

Article by Mike Murphy

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