Sunday, February 18, 2018

BAFTA predictions, 2018.

The BAFTAs are tonight, and even though the film awards body of my home nation embarrassed me horrifically on nomination day, by naming flavour-of-the-month Margot Robbie instead of Isabelle Huppert, and even though the BAFTA ceremony last year was almost unwatchable with the incessant didactic about the political climate (worst offenders were Ken Loach, Kenneth Lonergan, Curzon twat and Emma Stone), I will of course be watching this year. 

I love movie stars, movies, gorgeous outfits, and seeing how good I am at predicting the guessing game (going by last year's BAFTA predictions, not too well!), so it’s worth braving celebrities thinking they have a right to  tell us what to think for!

Below be my guesses and second guesses for each category!

This was my reaction when I saw BAFTA nominated Margot Robbie over Isabelle Huppert. Joke.

Best film: The Shape of Water (second guess – Dunkirk)

Dunkirk might have some sway with the British voters of BAFTA (like the year Atonement won Best Film despite No Country for Old Men taking Best Film at the Oscars), but I strongly suspect The Shape of Water, which has been steamrollering the pre-cursors so far, will be adding another trophy to its mantle tonight. 

Pity, as, whilst it was a sweet love story with some whimsical elements, it's not a patch on El laberinto del fauno and what Nolan achieved with Dunkirk was nothing short of extraordinary.

Outstanding British film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (second guess – Paddington 2)

Dunkirk wasn’t nominated in this category, weirdly, even though it’s hell of a lot more British than Three Billboards was. I hope Three Billboards doesn’t win this, but, alas, awards never go how I want them to.

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: Lady Macbeth – Alice Birch (writer), William Oldroyd (director), Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (producer) 
(second guess - I Am Not a Witch – Rungano Nyoni (writer/director), Emily Morgan (Producer))

Best film not in the English language: The Handmaiden (second guess – Elle)

60% of this category are films which were eligible for Best Foreign Film at last year’s Oscars, which highlights a fundamental flaw with Britain and our release dates. 

I still maintain that had Elle been released in time for last year’s BAFTAs, we would have nominated Isabelle Huppert, probably even given her the win over Emma Stone, and this would have helped her awards momentum considerably. Sony Picturehouse dropped the ball massively there, and as a result, Stone won an Oscar for basically playing herself.

Anyway, I’m predicting the marvellous erotic thriller The Handmaiden, which was my second favourite film of 2016. I would also be delighted if another 18-rated movie, Elle, won. The Salesman won Best Foreign Film at the Oscars last year, but that was heavily political voting, with the win being more of a two fingers up at Trump for the travel ban, than a testament to the film’s quality, which I felt, was rather journeyman.

Best documentary: I Am Not Your Negro (second guess – City of Ghosts)

Best animated film: Coco (second guess - My Life as a Courgette)

Best director: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (second guess - Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water)

I really hope BAFTA rally behind their own in this category, because Nolan has gone through awards season completely empty-handed so far (GdT has been taking all the Best Director wins), and if geographic nepotism is what it takes for Dunkirk's unique vision to get rewarded, so be it.

I almost don't think Nolan will win, because the BAFTAs of recent have morphed into a glorified Oscar predicting body. It's like, they're so desperate for the American celebrities to make an appearance that they'll blindly copy who they think the Oscars will vote for (in order to give the BAFTA award more gravitas), rather than voting for who they think deserves to win. If they were to be this uninspired with Best Director, GdT will take it, as he's a lock for the Oscar.

Best original screenplay - Get Out (second guess - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

I'm rather optimistically predicting Get Out in this category, as BAFTA were fairly lukewarm in their response to it (no nomination in Best Film or Director). However, we're British, we're supposed to be more astute than our transatlantic cousins. We can't fall for the ham-fisted, wishy-washy gender and racial politics of Three Billboards and actually think that was good writing... Could we?!

Best adapted screenplay: The Death of Stalin (second guess - Call Me by Your Name)
Although I think the Oscar for Adapted Screenplay will go to James Ivory's adaptation of Call Me By Your Name, I feel British audiences may have had more affinity to the political farce of Death of Stalin. The BAFTAs don't align with the Oscars 100% on the writing categories; last year, we (erroneously) dubbed Lion Best Adapted Screenplay, in favour of Moonlight which correctly triumphed in that category at the Oscars.

Best actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (second guess - Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water)
This is a very difficult one to predict. My heart tells me that BAFTA will go with a homegrown choice, Dulwich-born Sally Hawkins. She would be my personal choice of the nominees I've seen so far (both her and McDormand were stupendous, but Sally just edges it for me).

However, Frances McDormand has been steamrollering through the precursors. She won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama, the SAG and the Critic's Choice Award. So film voters seem pretty unanimously to favour McDormand's work to Hawkins, hence why I'm predicting Frances.

NB: this is Saoirse Ronan's fourth BAFTA nomination at the ripe young age of 23. She didn't win for any of the previous three, and I think some BAFTA voters will feel it's her time, so there may be some vote siphoning for the unbelievably talented Saoirse too.

Best actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (second guess - Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out)
They might as well skip this category entirely, because it's so predictable. 

Despite three of his competitors giving elite acting performances: Daniel Kaluuya as the wary black man meeting his white girlfriend's pseudo-woke parents for the first time, Daniel Day-Lewis as the unbearably fussy control freak couturier and especially Timothée Chalamet's revelatory work as a precocious young man experiencing the agony and the ecstasy of falling head-over-heels in love for the first time, BAFTA will go with the default, insipid option: Gary Oldman hamming it up in a fatsuit as Winston Churchill whilst reciting jingoistic platitudes. 😴

Best supporting actress: Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread (second guess - Allison Janney, I, Tonya)

Even though Allison Janney will win the Oscar and the BAFTAs basically live to kiss American butt, they do still exercise some independent thought, with there usually being 3 out 4 of the decisions between BAFTA/Oscar the same, and one different. Last year, that was us rewarding Dev Patel's woodenness in Lion over Mahershala's moving turn in Moonlight, which is clearly misplaced nepotism.

This year, we'll hopefully be showing some favouritism, for good. Lesley Manville was brilliant in Phantom Thread, and the gif above the best showcase of her compelling iciness: as she tells her petulant brother to get over himself in the most scathing way: 'You can shut right up. Don’t pick a fight with me, you won’t come out alive. I’ll go right through and you’ll end up on the floor.' The nonchalant way she sips at her tea just makes the delivery even cooler. Manville for the BAFTA!

She's also Gary Oldman's ex-wife, and I'm sure BAFTA would quietly enjoy the drama of the two standing next to each other at the victor's photo op.

Best supporting actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (second
guess - Hugh Grant, Paddington 2)

As I said, historically, BAFTA mirror 75% of the Oscar's acting wins. So, if Lesley Manville wins best supporting actress, I see BAFTA copying the Academy's choice of Sam Rockwell here. If they don't award Manville, then I reckon the maverick call of Hugh Grant playing a deluded fading star who rates his own abilities a little too highly in Paddington 2 should get their vote, if only for the cheery gameness by which the actor riffs on his own persona.

Best original music: Phantom Thread (second guess - The Shape of Water)

I reckon Oxford-born Jonny Greenwood wins here, but Alexandre Desplat takes the Oscar. For my money, Hans Zimmer is the one who deserves to win here, but he's nominated for both Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049, which could split some votes.

Best cinematography: Blade Runner 2049 (second guess - Dunkirk)
Roger Deakins won the ASC Award earlier today, so I reckon that will set in motion his BAFTA, then Oscar win. After 14 nominations, I won't begrudge him his win!

Best editing: Dunkirk (second guess - Baby Driver)
Okay, it's hella important BAFTA get this right, because we've arguably had some sway on the Editing race of late. Up until we gave Hacksaw Ridge the win last year, people assumed La La Land would win Editing (indeed, in my BAFTA predictions, I had guess LLL), but BAFTA changed the state of play there. So please, can they do the right thing and award the right film? Any man who can trim a Nolan film to under two hours deserves to be acknowledged!

Best production design: Blade Runner 2049 (second guess - The Shape of Water)

Best costume design: Phantom Thread (second guess - The Shape of Water)

Best make up & hair: Darkest Hour (second guess - Wonder)

Best sound: Dunkirk (second guess -  Baby Driver)

Best special visual effects: War for the Planet of the Apes (second guess - Blade Runner 2049)

EE Rising Star award (voted for by the public): Daniel Kaluuya (second guess - Tessa Thompson)

This is voted for by the public, and I think the fact that Danny was in Skins should help him (Jack O'Connell won this category a few years ago), as well as being the twentieth youngest man to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He's also currently on cinema screens in Black Panther, which should curry favour with comic book fans. Black Panther was amazing, by the way, by far the best Marvel movie I've seen! So much pathos and wokeness! Go see it if you haven't!

Overall, I expect to be infuriated and uninspired at the BAFTAs basically just kissing up to Americans with their basic choices, but if they feel like surprising me, they're more than welcome to. If the results go badly, I will just reassure myself that we were so basic, we didn't even reward Moonlight in a single category last year. And we all know what happened on Oscar night...

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