Sunday, February 10, 2019

BAFTA predictions, 2019.

Last year’s BAFTA results were ridiculously disappointing, with them mirroring the Oscars for all four acting categories. This year, I actually feel like they’re going to exercise more independent thought, so, here we go!

Best film: Roma

It’s difficult to call this category this year, as there isn’t an obvious frontrunner. When that’s the case, it’s tempting to apply the ‘predict the most British film’ rule, in which case, I ought to be predicting The Favourite. And indeed, in years where the Best Film race has been a tightly-judged affair, BAFTA have tended to go with the British option (they gave Best Film to Atonement when No Country for Old Men won the Oscar).

But, whilst The Favourite leads the nominations quantity-wise with 12 nominations, and was better received in the UK than in America, I just don’t feel there was the huge passion factor for it that other films, like Atonement have had in the past. Furthermore, Atonement actually won Best Drama at the Golden Globes; The Favourite lost Best Comedy to Green Book.

Why not Green Book, then? Well, Green Book is about a slice of American history, and hence its popularity with American audiences (winning the Golden Globe and the PGA for Best Film). Whilst BAFTA nominated it for Best Film, they didn’t nominate it for Best Director, which suggests they liked but didn’t love it.

Hence, I’m predicting Roma. The BAFTAs, like the Oscars, adore Alfonso Cuarón, rewarding him Best Director in 2014 for Gravity. Roma is his passion project, loosely inspired by his own upbringing which he directed, produced, wrote, and did the camerawork for. And if there's anything awards bodies love, it's when celebrated auteurs transmit their personal world to celluloid.

Best British Film: The Favourite

If The Favourite doesn’t win Best Film (and I suspect it won’t), this is a good place to reward it instead.

Best Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife

I see a lot of prognosticators predicting Olivia Colman, citing her Britishness and the fact that the BAFTAs clearly adore her (she’s won three TV BAFTAs). So it really could go either way, but I’m predicting Glenn Close (as I will for the Oscar), because I think Rachel Weisz will win Best Supporting Actress, and thus, BAFTA will feel they’ve rewarded The Favourite enough in the acting categories.

Best Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

So it looks like the Oscar will be between Malek for BR and Christian Bale for Vice.

Christian Bale is British, playing an American, and Malek is an American playing a Brit, so in terms of British favouritism, BAFTA may find their loyalties divided. However, in terms of the watchability of the performance, there’s no competition: Malek carried BR as Freddie Mercury, with even critics who didn’t like the film praising his performance. On the other hand, I found Bale rather flat as Dick Cheney, especially with all that slow, talking out the of the side of his mouth thing he was doing.

Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Ignoring the fact that it was clearly a lead performance, with the film’s producers not wanting Weisz and Stone to siphon votes away from Olivia Colman so they fraudulently campaigned for them as 'supporting', Rachel Weisz deserves to win this category. Her Lady Sarah got some of the most memorable lines in The Favourite and Weisz delivered them with aplomb. She also conveyed the complex, layered relationship between Lady Sarah and Queen Anne, giving The Favourite more gravitas than the initial royal sex romp appearance may have suggested.

Note that Regina King is the frontrunner for the Oscar, but BAFTA didn’t even nominate her, which is terrible optics, particularly given who they nominated instead: Margot Robbie’s shameless Oscar-begging as Elizabeth I.

Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

So, if BAFTA don’t reward the Oscar front-runner Mahershala Ali, as I suspect they won’t, and Ali goes on to win at the Oscars, he’ll have two Oscars and no BAFTAs. That looks really bad for BAFTA, and certainly doesn’t do them any favours in refuting the accusations that they’re anti-black (Denzel Washington has never won a BAFTA, believe it or not).

However, I think Grant wins this, despite Ali cleaning up at the precursors with the Golden Globe, SAG and Critic’s Choice award under his belt. Richard E. Grant has cult-status due to his starring role in Withnail & I, and he’s exactly the kind of performer who the BAFTAs would like to honour, regardless of the Oscar narrative. For example, Tim Robbins was cleaning up every award in the 2004 Oscar trail for his supporting turn in Mystic River, but when it came to the BAFTAs, they chose to reward Bill Nighy for his turn as a boozy washed-up popstar in Love Actually, instead of him.

I actually quite liked when the BAFTA’s decisions diverged from the Oscars like that, as it showed they were capable of forming their own decisions, independent of the consensus. It’s just unfortunate that when BAFTA did this last time for Best Supporting Actor, it was to reward Dev Patel over Mahershala Ali. Patel was so wooden in Lion, and Ali was brilliant in Moonlight (side by side comparisons of the two performances here), so not every act of differing from the Oscars from the BAFTAs is necessarily correct.

Adapted Screenplay: BlackKklansman

I’ve predicted this because I think it’s a good opportunity to reward Spike Lee, if they’re going to give Best Director to Cuarón. Of the five nominees, only two of these films were nominated for Best Film, with the other being A Star is Born. A Star is Born had some dubious, almost La La Land-level contrived dialogue, so I’m predicting BlackKklansman over it.

Original Screenplay: The Favourite

Whilst Green Book won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globes, I’m predicting The Favourite’s sharp British wit to help it prevail in this category. Plus, some of those lines were absolute killers. ‘Hell. I’m sure you shall pass through it one day.’

Rising Star: Letitia Wright

This is voted for by the public, and in this case, being British definitely helps. Previous winners include Will Poulter, John Boyega and Daniel Kaluuya. Last year, Kaluuya was up against Timothee Chalamet, who was much closer to winning the Oscar than him, but Danny’s British status would have had cinema-goers favouring him.

I love Barry Keoghan, so he would be my personal choice in this category, but certainly don’t begrudge Letitia her win. She’s a very charismatic performer, and stole the show as T’challa’s geeky little sister in Black Panther. Incidentally, it’s her appearances in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War last year, that will put her fresh in the minds of everyday movie fans.

Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
They may as well put his name on the Oscar now. This is in the bag.

Cinematography: Roma
Cuarón is going to have more awards than he has hands to carry them, if my predictions turn out correct!

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer: Michael Pearce and Lauren Dark for Beast

I hope Beast wins something, it was a very well-made, atmospheric little thriller. I also happened to write a BBFC report for it, here.

Foreign film: Roma

Documentary: They Shall Not Grow Old

Music: A Star is Born

So BAFTA have one category for Score and Song, putting it together into ‘Best Music’. It’s generally agreed that If Beale Street Could Talk is winning Best Score at the Oscars, and Shallow from A Star is Born is winning Best Song, so it was a toss-up between those two films for this composite category. But in the end I went for A Star is Born, because I don’t see it being rewarded in any other categories, and the BAFTAs didn’t seem too keen on If Beale Street Could Talk, as they didn’t nominate Regina King!

Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Judging by their decision to reward Baby Driver over Dunkirk last year (not salty about that at all), the BAFTAs tend to favour prominent, in-your-face editing, and a film with plenty of concert scenes like Bohemian Rhapsody, certainly has flashy editing in abundance.

Production Design: Fantastic Beasts 2

Most online prognosticators are predicting The Favourite, but, given I’ve predicted The Favourite in several other categories, I’m guessing they’ll want to spread the wealth a bit. The first Fantastic Beasts movie won in this category two years ago, so I’m predicting that trend to continue.

Costume Design: The Favourite
Make-up and Hair: Mary Queen of Scots
Sound: Bohemian Rhapsody
Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War


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