Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thoughts on the 2018 BAFTA nominations

On Tuesday, I woke up to the blandest bunch of BAFTA nominations ever. Each year, the British Academy – which have recently morphed into a glorified Oscar prognosticating body – find new ways to disappoint me, but this year, there were extenuating factors which meant that they did so with more panache than ever.
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Yay Dunkirk! I enjoyed Call Me By Your Name, but it didn’t pack the emotional impact Moonlight had on me, and I also found it a bit long. I’d personally nominate The Florida Project and Get Out ahead of it. Darkest Hour had been missing from a lot of other movie awards bodies’ lists for Best Film (PGA, Golden Globe Drama etc), although from the trailer, I think this is a fair call given it looks like a very uninspired companion piece to Dunkirk.

I’m excited for The Shape of Water (Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my all-time top 25 films!) and sceptical about Three Billboards… because apparently it gives Sam Rockwell’s racist cop a redemption arc, and no-one’s got any time for that, especially in this new #woke political climate. But I’ll have to see it first to properly judge!
Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Denis Villeneuve (who was also nominated by BAFTA last year for Arrival) replaces Joe Wright, otherwise this matches the Best Film line-up. Christopher Nolan deserves to win this category (I say this as someone who has Inception in my bottom 10 of all time, so I’m anything but a Nolan fangirl!), and being British might edge it over GDT. I hope he wins something this awards season; watching Dunkirk leave the Golden Globes empty-handed on Sunday was so painful!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

Jamie Bell is the only actor here which doesn’t align with other awards bodies, although his inclusion isn’t that much of a surprise, as BAFTA are partial to this home-grown actor (his win back in 2001 at the ripe young age of 14 for Billy Elliot, rendered him the youngest recipient of the Best Leading Actor BAFTA. For reference, the youngest winner of Best Leading Actor at the Oscars was Adrian Brody, at 29).

Happy to see the two Dannys on here (Kaluuya, who stole the show in Get Out, and DDL, who I’ve not yet watched, but has killed it in pretty much everything I’ve seen him in), and of course, Timothée Chalamet, who’s excellent guitar and piano-playing in Call Me By Your Name was bettered only by his nuanced, layered, performance of a young man falling in love and getting his heart broken for the first time.
Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
So, we didn’t get Elle in time to be eligible for last year’s BAFTA, which I personally thought was an oversight on Sony Picturehouse’s part, because if it had been in contention, Isabelle Huppert would have gotten nominated and it would have given her some momentum to beat Emma Stone at the Oscars (as right she should have).

Instead, Elle was eligible for the 2018 BAFTAs, and indeed, it’s nominated in the Best Foreign Film category, intimating that they did indeed see the film. The whole reason Elle was so good was because of a certain French Queen’s performance, and thus, for BAFTA to snub it, purely because nominating Huppert has no influence on the Oscar nominations, is absolutely ridiculous.

We’ve nominated Margot Robbie for a classic piece of Oscar-begging (a beautiful woman ugly-ing up) over Isabelle Huppert’s majestic tour-de-force in Elle, serving looks to clown men like it was going out of fashion.

Seriously, bar Ronan and Hawkins’ nominations, I’m not too happy with this basic lineup. Being British, BAFTA are the only major awards body who were in a good position to nominate Lady Macbeth’s Florence Pugh. If they weren’t gonna nominate Huppert because Elle technically is a 2016 film, the least they could have done was nominate Pugh. Instead, we’ve indulged Margot Robbie’s romanticising someone who broke her opponent’s kneecaps at the Olympics.

K then.
Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Hugh Grant, Paddington 2
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I watched All the Money in the World yesterday and there was nothing nomination-worthy about Christopher Plummer's performance. I realise now awards bodies are just nominating him to tacitly teach Kevin Spacey a lesson. Which they're free to do, but do they have to snub more deserving nominees to do it?!

I really enjoyed Hugh Grant riffing on his own persona as a hammy, self-indulgent actor in Paddington 2, so I can’t be too displeased about his nomination, even though, in terms of acting quality, Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name, Mark Rylance in Dunkirk and Barry Keoghan as the creepy kid in The Killing of a Sacred Deer were more impactful performances. 

The double nominations for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in this category tells me BAFTA may be loving on this film just as the Golden Globes did. It also suggests that, sadly, as with the Golden Globes, Sam Rockwell may prevail over Willem Dafoe, who gave my favourite performance of the year so far, as he represents The Florida Project’s lone nomination. 
Supporting Actress 
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Lesley Manville was far and away my favourite performance of 2010 in Another Year, so glad to see the criminally underrated actress finally see some nomination love, even if it is from the body that famously indulge their own (eg, the Hugh Grant Paddington 2 love).

Oscar prognosticators believe Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars will be a closely-fought contest between two 2017 mothers: Allison Janney as the abrasive, abusive mum in I, Tonya, and Laurie Metcalf (aka Sheldon’s mum off The Big Bang Theory) as a somewhat more loving, but equally infuriating mother, in Lady Bird.

The other three slots at the Oscars are murkier, although Octavia Spencer, who was nominated for the Golden Globe but not the SAG, is the biggest beneficiary here. BAFTA didn’t nominate her last year for Hidden Figures when she received an Oscar nomination, so BAFTA probably really liked The Shape of Water (although weirdly, Richard Jenkins is a no-show in Best Supporting Actor, when the film has 12 nominations everywhere else).
Best original music
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Double nominations for Hans Zimmer, who’s DVD I had the pleasure of watching and reviewing! I sincerely hope he wins for Dunkirk; his score to that film is my favourite piece of the cinematic craft of 2017, and partly why I’ve doubled my attempts to get better at the piano (the other part of that is because I was dazzled by Timothée Chalamet’s fingers in Call Me By Your Name. I know a few other places he can put those fingers, if you catch my drift).

Best cinematography
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Yay for Dunkirk’s nomination, yawn at Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri showing every f_cking where. We get it BAFTA, you liked the movie! The Cinematography Guild were much more shrewd in their nominations, nominating Rachel Morrison's beautiful work in  Mudbound; I very much hope it triumphs over Three Billboards on Oscar morning.
Best original screenplay
Get Out
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I reckon Get Out and Lady Bird, which the BAFTAs didn’t seem to like as much as American awards bodies and critics circles (they both got nominated in the Director's Guild nominations today), generally under-nominated, will battle it out for this award. I would be happy with either winning. Although, that said, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won the Screenplay prize at the Golden Globe (tho they crowned La La Land’s bollocks script from last year Best Screenplay, so they know next to nothing about what constitutes good writing).

Getting back on my ‘Dunkirk is criminally under-rated’ soapbox (a stance which I never thought I would have taken when I first saw the trailer, and saw Kenneth Branagh’s face fill the screen and the words ‘from the director of Inception…’ I was like nope. Life surprises you lolol), I know there wasn’t a whole lot of dialogue in the film, but a script is so much more than dialogue.

Dunkirk immersed the audience in the horror of war in an impactful but without resorting to R-rated imagery (note its 12A/PG-13 rating compared to Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge etc's strong 15/Rs), and I really cared about the characters and their plight, despite none of them having a backstory. It was a difficult writing feat, and the fact that Dunkirk hasn't been making any appearances in Screenplay role-calls tells me people like their films overly-talky these days...
Best adapted screenplay
Call Me by Your Name
The Death of Stalin
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Molly’s Game
Paddington 2
... and hence the nomination for Molly's Game, a very Sorkin screenplay which featured a lot of people talking over each other (I thought the film was nothing special, but Jessica Chastain's push-up bra should be in contention for Brest Supporting Actress).

This is probably Call Me By Your Name's best chance of a win.

Overall, I think these nominations are pretty meh (full list here). If I were to assess them with a film quote, I would recall Isabelle Huppert in Elle (a performance we foolishly snubbed), when, assessing flats for her son and his girlfriend (who's carrying a baby which he erroneously believes to be his), she finds a place.

'Dump? I don't think so', she said. 'Basic, maybe'.

And that's what they should replace the British in 'BAFTA' with. 'Basic'.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's hard to find educated people on this topic, but you seem like you know what you're talking about!