With the 72nd British Academy Film Awards happening this Sunday, it’s finally time to run down the year’s nominees.
The 72nd BAFTAs are happening on Sunday from a (tape-delayed despite it being 2019) 8PM start with Joanna Lumley back behind the rostrum despite last year’s ghastly snoozefest, so I guess we better make peace with Green Book taking home another Best Film trophy before the tragedy actually happens. I’ve been running down these nominations for the past five years, this makes my sixth, and this is easily the direst slate of nominees I’ve had to deal with so far, more so than even 2016 when Best Actor included Bryan Cranston in Trumbo and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. The best thing I can say about 2019’s slate is that at least the nominees are simultaneously so safe yet so baffling that many of the major (televised) categories don’t have obvious frontrunners. That’s not so good for my potential cumulative predicting record, 35-12 after last year’s performance where I ran a clean sweep – and then did it again at the Oscars; if I’d actually bet money on getting them all right, this year’s piece would be coming to you from my own private island – but I’m gonna endeavour to bring you victories in your office betting pool regardless! Let’s get it.
Best Animated Film
Who Will Win: The Disney/Pixar Award. Both BAFTA and AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) have given away the Best Animated Feature gong to a film not made by either Walt Disney Animation Studios or Pixar less than a third of the time in the history of each (AMPAS predates BAFTA on this front by five years), and I see little sign of that changing this year even with the cresting wave of Spider-Verse hype from everybody who’s seen it. Kubo only took it in 2017 cos there were three Disney/Pixar nominees so the votes were inevitably split, LEGO Movie took it in 2015 as a sneaky middle-finger to AMPAS for not even nominating it, Rango won in 2012 cos Pixar didn’t release a film in 2011 – “what about Cars 2?” THEY DIDN’T RELEASE A FILM IN 2011 – and Happy Feet won in 2006 because its only real competition was Cars. People loved Incredibles 2 and I get why, even if I was meh on it, so look for Bird to take home the trophy he should’ve won the first time but didn’t cos this award didn’t exist then.
Outstanding British Film
Who Will Win: The Favourite is the only one of these six nominated for Best Film, it’s winning here. The only time in the last decade where a Best Film nominee didn’t also win Outstanding British Film was in 2010 where Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank upset Lone Scherfig’s An Education – in fact, this was a common occurrence back in the 00s, but I guess they must’ve changed how voting in this category works since then as they’ve otherwise matched up when applicable this decade. Nominees were half picked by Jury and half picked by BAFTA members writing in with everyone opting-in to watch the six nominees voting for the winner, so since The Favourite cracked Best Film and Bohemian pissing Rhapsody did not that gives the edge to The Favourite. Thank Christ.
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Cold War (Janusz Głowacki & Paweł Pawlikowski), Green Book (Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly & Nick Vallelonga), Roma (Alfonso Cuarón), The Favourite (Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara), Vice (Adam McKay)
Who Will Win: A good indicator of who’s taking home Best Film comes from which of the nominees wins their respective Screenplay category, and what bones my prediction for this year is that the two films with the best shot, Roma and Green Book, are operating under the same umbrella because, technically, Green Book isn’t based on any one particular source. I’m still sceptical that Roma will take home Best Film for reasons we’ll get to, but also BAFTA are not in the habit of handing out consolation prizes; if they did, then maybe Jordan Peele or Greta Gerwig would have one more BAFTA on their shelves than the zero they currently do. I’m punting a guess at Green Book taking this one even with the… everything surrounding it. Settle in for a long night, folks. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the ceremony director will accidentally cut to Spike Lee’s “I am so done with this racist-ass shit” face as he gets ‘Nam-style flashbacks to 30 years ago when this shit was called Driving Miss Daisy!
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: A Star is Born (Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters & Eric Roth), BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel & Kevin Willmott), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty), First Man (Josh Singer), If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Who Will Win: It is either A Star is Born or BlacKkKlansman in the great decider over whether the former film is secretly cursed or not. I think we’ve all been taken aback by Star’s bottling of it whenever the actual ceremony has turned up this Awards Season, almost like it’s getting nominated because that’s just what happens to Star is Born movies but nobody actually likes it enough to carry it across the finish line. This was meant to be a slam dunk, and instead Green Book and Glenn Close are stealing all of its thunder. Weird. Since BAFTA don’t do Best Original Song – no, I don’t know why, either – I think there’s a strong chance this could be the consolation prize Star takes home on the night… but also BAFTA don’t do consolation prizes, so maybe it’ll finally go to Spike Lee… except this would also be a consolation prize since BlacKkKlansman sure-as-shirt ain’t winning anything else. See what I mean by “safe yet baffling,” now? With my rep on the line, let’s risk it with BlacKkKlansman.
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley (Green Book), Timothée Chalamet as Nic Sheff (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman (BlacKkKlansman), Richard E. Grant as Jack Hock (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush (Vice)
Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali finally gets the BAFTA he was supposed to win two years ago before Vince Russo hijacked the BAFTA writer’s room and they gave it to *checks notes* Dev Patel for Lion?! What?! …shit, maybe it’ll go to Richard E. Grant after all. That wasn’t just a snub, that was a pie-off! Save for something similarly inexplicable this go-around, like the BAFTA being contested not via votes but a wrestling match under Judy Bagwell on a Forklift rules, this is probably going to go to Ali anyway. Perhaps with a “sorry we dun goofed!” post-it attached and reparations for making him appear in Green Book.
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney (Vice), Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong (First Man), Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I (Mary, Queen of Scots), Emma Stone as Abigail Hill (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill (The Favourite)
Who Will Win: Total shot in the dark, here. Regina King’s the one who’s currently waltzing her way towards the Oscar at month’s end, but we’ve already established that nobody at BAFTA watched Beale Street – only read it and listened to its soundtrack, *grumblegrumble* – so we’ve got a real turkey shoot since Margot Robbie took King’s spot despite having no chance of winning the thing. Considering that, I reckon it might come down to Claire Foy and Rachel Weisz since Emma Stone won Best Actress just two years ago and we are dealing with a potential home turf advantage. Weisz is the lifer who has somehow yet to win a trophy whilst Foy is the new hotness preparing to strike out for a career far away from The Crown and, since this was my first intro to her due to not watching The Crown, may actually have the talent to make it work. My guess is that Weisz finally takes home a statue on Sunday, if only cos Foy’s career is just getting started.
Nominees: Christian Bale as Dick Cheney (Vice), Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel (Stan & Ollie), Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine (A Star is Born), Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Green Book)
Who Will Win: Bubblewrap all my shit, folks, because this one is Rami Malek’s to lose. There is still a chance that Christian Bale might receive the Gary Oldman treatment – the lifer who has somehow never won before (Geoffrey Rush won the BAFTA in 2011, Bale won the Oscar) almost unrecognisably portraying a famous historical figure behind 30lbs of prosthetics and double that in weight gain – but his Cheney doesn’t bluster and blather like Oldman’s Churchill did. There’s not enough Acting going on for the tastes of most awards bodies. But Malek? Malek pulled off the Eddie Redmayne stunt of a (supposedly because I found him cartoonishly woeful with his overdone accent and dollar-store prosthetic teeth) uncanny impersonation that got many people saying nonsense like “he was so much like Freddie!” despite having absolutely no soul behind the eyes. It’s the kind of performance that sets one’s career up for life, in any case, and it attracts awards like flies to a bug-light. Y’all are lucky I don’t have Twitter anymore.
Nominees: Glenn Close as Joan Castleman (The Wife), Olivia Colman as Queen Anne (The Favourite), Viola Davis as Veronica Rawlings (Widows), Lady Gaga as Ally Maine (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Who Will Win: Every Awards Season, one specific nomination keeps cropping up over and over again for no immediately discernible reason. A real outside-the-box pick you assume nobody else actually saw yet keeps racking up the nominations, sometimes even the wins, that it inexplicably becomes the year’s frontrunner in spite of the film it’s contained in receiving absolute zero attention in any other area. Cynical bastards, therefore, might assume this is only happening because we’ve had a collective realisation that [x nominee] despite being a bonafide legend has yet to be anointed with an award, and the giant hubbub around this one aspect in an otherwise unremarkable film is less because it’s Just That Good and more a chance to finally right a perceived wrong. In so many words, this is likely why Glenn Close has become the frontrunner for her work in the… fine (it’s fine) The Wife and why she’s probably about to become an Oscar winner barring a last-minute surprise. You shouldn’t count out Olivia Colman here at the BAFTAs, because what self-respecting Brit doesn’t adore Olivia Colman, but I think Close has it sewn up here too. She’s… fine in The Wife, which itself is… fine, I just don’t get any of this.
Nominees: Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Who Will Win: Momentum dictates that Alfonso Cuarón becomes a two-time winner given that Roma has become the only real challenge to Green Book this Awards Season and Cuarón took home both the top prize at the Director’s Guild Awards last month and the Golden Globes where Roma was barred from entering into Best Drama – foreign language films aren’t allowed to also run for either Best Picture categories because some of Awards Season’s racism/xenophobia isn’t merely implicit. But I can also see BAFTA finally redressing one of their biggest sore spots – THEY DIDN’T EVEN NOMINATE JORDAN PEELE LAST YEAR – by giving the prize to Lee since he has no shot at the Oscars in two weeks and Best Film is probably going to Green Book. Then again, there have been just 2 black nominees in this category across 51 awards ceremonies. Somehow, I doubt BAFTA actually give a fork about their image. Cuarón.
Nominees: A Star is Born, BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, Roma, The Favourite
Who Will Win: Dogfight between Green Book and Roma. A Star is Born was supposed to be the big obvious victor across this entire godforsaken Awards Season, but it’s been perennially incapable of converting nominations into wins, maybe because the spectre of La La Land/Moonlight is still hanging around. The Favourite is this year’s bench-filler like Dunkirk in 2018 and Arrival in 2017, the one that’s just happy to be here on the strength of everyone liking it but not quite enough to ever get it a big trophy. BlacKkKlansman I am fairly certain is here in the vain hope nobody calls BAFTA racist again, and because it was successful relative to its budget but not a blockbuster (hence why Black Panther is nowhere in sight), with no chance of taking home the top prize. That leaves Roma, which everybody loves but is operating from the likely fatal handicap of being a Netflix Original Movie, and Green Book, which everybody will yell at them over for extremely obvious reasons. My heart says Roma because they at least had the good sense to give the 1990 prize to Goodfellas instead of Driving Miss Daisy; my head says Green Book because they gave the 1990 prize to Goodfellas instead of Driving Miss Daisy and that kind of luck can’t always swing back around. I’m going to set myself up for heartbreak and say Roma even though I know it’ll be Green Book – bonus bet on whether Spike Lee responds to the latter’s victory by storming the stage and throwing a trash can through a window.
Who do you think has got the BAFTAs all sewn up this year? Can you do a better job at filling out these categories than BAFTA themselves? Probably, let’s be honest. Drop down into the comments and let us know what you think!