Todd Haynes’ romantic drama Carol and Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-set Bridge of Spies rode high with nine nods apiece as the BAFTA nominations were announced on Friday in London.
Homegrown films did well with BAFTA according to BBC News, with Irish 1950s drama Brooklyn scoring six nods. The Danish Girl and Ex Machina were able to secure five nominations each. Actress Alicia Vikander received nods for both of these films, in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories respectively.
The BAFTA nominations mark perhaps the final major awards body to launch their shortlists prior to the Oscars, who will announce their nominations this week, on January 14.
The prestigious Best Film category featured the usual customers at the BAFTA nominations. Alongside Carol and Bridge of Spies were financial ensemble piece The Big Short, survival thriller The Revenant, and Oscar favorite journalism drama, Spotlight.
Ridley Scott’s The Martian was notable for its absence from the Best Picture category, particularly as the film scored BAFTA nominations for Scott as Best Director and Matt Damon as Best Actor.
Other major snubs included Jennifer Lawrence for her role in the hotly tipped biopic, Joy. Lawrence is the favorite to win the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy prize at the Golden Globes, but the film was completely shut out in the BAFTA nominations. Lawrence is a major favorite in Hollywood, so this snub almost certainly will not hurt her path to the Oscars.
The Best Actress field was packed with the usual awards season suspects from this year, including Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, and Brie Larson for Room. The BAFTA nominations did provide room for a surprise, however, including Maggie Smith for her curmudgeonly comic turn in The Lady in the Van.
Best Actor remains without a clear frontrunner following the BAFTA nominations. Eddie Redmayne was always going to be in the mix for The Danish Girl, and it was no surprise to see Leonardo DiCaprio join him for The Revenant. Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs, Matt Damon for The Martian, and Bryan Cranston, for the otherwise ignored Trumbo, rounded out the list.
As always, it was the snubs and omissions that dominated discussion of the BAFTA nominations. Peter Bradshaw, writing in The Guardian, mourned the “exasperating” dismissal of several major titles.
“It is disappointing that no fully British film makes the actual best film category — the Baftas’ outstanding British film list always has something of the “Commonwealth Games medal” feel — although the continued awards momentum for Carol will be highly gratifying for this film’s British producers Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. And in fact The Danish Girl, Ex Machina and Brooklyn have all done well in the general tally.”
Major blockbuster sequels Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens stalled in terms of awards momentum at the BAFTA nominations. Both films received a handful of technical nods, but failed to get a foothold in any of the major categories.
Alongside the snubs, though, there were pleasant surprises in the BAFTA nominations, such as the addition of Pixar animation’s Inside Out to the Best Original Screenplay category. The fiercely unique film is also up for Best Animated Feature – a nomination it will almost certainly win.
It was also surprising to see such a strong showing for cartel crime thriller Sicario, which has largely been ignored by many awards bodies, but picked up three nods at the BAFTA nominations announcement. Benicio Del Toro was recognized in the Best Supporting Actor, alongside Roger Deakin’s cinematograpgy and the use of music.
The BAFTA nominations, complete with their British feel, are often a good indication of what will seduce Oscar voters. If BAFTA is anything to go by, it could be a good night for Spielberg, Haynes, and perhaps, finally, it could be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year.
[Featured photo by 20th Century Fox]