BAFTA Nominees – A Closer Look

As we approach the Golden Globes tonight, what better time to take a closer look at some of the nominees for the BAFTAs, which take place on Sunday 8th February. Okay okay, it’s a daft time to look at them. Still, here we go.

Best Foreign Film
This is a really strong category, with all five films looking like a really strong contender for the top prize. I was really impressed by Two Days, One Night , and Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan was much celebrated following the focus created at the BFI London Film Festival (where it took the Best Film prize). However, for me the best foreign film of 2014 should go to The Lunchbox. Starring Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-man and Nimrat Kaur (who you may recognise from Homeland), Ritesh Batra’s film was a really accomplished romantic drama that also dealt with aspects of loneliness, whilst capturing beautifully the claustrophobic life of the average Mumbai worker, in particular the dabbawalas delivering the lunchboxes from wife to husband. It didn’t really have a cutting edge political message for the modern viewers, but sometimes you just want to see an excellent film that lifts your spirits. This certainly does that, despite not following a path that we’ve come to expect from most European and American films in the same genre.

Rising Star Award
This is an interesting one. There has always been a level of scepticism attached to it because the winner is voted for by the public rater than industry experts (indeed you can vote for yourself here as long as you reside in the UK). The past results largely prove that the public have known what they’re talking about – James McAvoy, Tom Hardy, Eva Green and Shia LeBeouf have all bagged this in the past. However, results like the 2012 prize going to Kidulthood star Adam Deacon really undermine its relevance (he was up against Thor and Loki, along with Eddie Redmayne and Chris O’Dowd). This year’s front runners for me are Jack O’Connell, star of two excellent films in ’71 and Unbroken, and Margot Robbie, who we saw a lot of in The Wolf of Wall Street. There are three other excellent nominees in Miles Telller (Whiplash), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) and Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars), but you have to remember that this is largely a popularity contest for the public to vote on, and a way to get people engaged with the awards. It’s also voted for by British people, and therefore it will more than likely be our boy Jack O’Connell happy on the night. This is good news, because his performances in Starred Up and ’71 were exceptional.

British Short Film and British Short Animation
There is a slight frustration with these two categories. Currently, there is a thriving short film industry globally as people make use of the easy distribution tools available to them via online media and streaming possibilities. So BAFTA have dedicated categories for short films and animated short films, which is great. Unfortunately not one of them is available to watch online. Trailers are there for most, but now is the time I’d be really keen to make my own mind up about what is nominated so I can form an opinion ahead of the ceremony. That’s the thing about fans of cinema – we really prefer to make or own mind up rather than be told what is great. I’m fortunate to have seen several of the heavily nominated films already, with only The Theory of Everything and Boyhood being missed. As a result, I can look at the top categories and agree or disagree with the result on the night. This lack of connection to the short film categories makes me frustrated as I’d love to be more engaged with these two categories. Last year they had a BAFTA shorts tour, and I hope they do the same again this time around, ahead of the big night.

Animated Film
Probably should go to The Lego Movie, which was brilliantly animated and hilarious from start to finish, but I’d tip The Boxtrolls to take it home. It was grotesque and surreal and full of wonderful voice acting, and I think the level of artistry and uniqueness involved may edge out the overall superior Lego Movie.

As good as both 20 Feet from Stardom and 20,000 Days on Earth were, this has to go to Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour.

What Missed Out
I was disappointed that Lilting all but missed out completely, with director Hong Khaou the only nominee in the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The category will probably be awarded to Gregory Burke and Yann Demange for ’71 (which will be more than deserving anyway).

I was pleased to see Interstellar not have much joy, though I fear this won’t be the case when we get to the Oscar nominations on Thursday.

People talk of disappointment for Mr Turner, which completely missed out despite Timothy Spall getting a Cannes award for Best Actor. A surprise, especially as it is a British film.

I was personally disappointed Giovanni’s Island wasn’t in the Animated Film category, but it wasn’t a surprise. Big Hero 6 is unlikely to win and is probably only there to garner interest, but Giovanni’s Island had a really strong message and was one of my films of the year.

The BAFTA Awards take place on the evening of Sunday 8th February at London’s Royal Opera House and will be hosted by Stephen Fry.

BAFTA Awards 2015 – Nominations (Full List)

Best Film
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Outstanding British Film
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Under The Skin

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Amy Adams – Big Eyes
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Supporting Actor
Steve Carell – Foxcatcher
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
JK Simmons – Whiplash

Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Renee Russo – Nightcrawler
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Imelda Staunton – Pride
Emma Stone – Birdman

Wes Anderson – Grand Budapest Hotel
Damian Chazelle – Whiplash
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – Birdman
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
James Marsh – The Theory of Everything

Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper – Jason Hall
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Imitation Game – Graham Moore
Paddington – Paul King
The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten

Original Screenplay
Birdman – Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo
Boyhood – Richard Linklater
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson
Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy
Whiplash – Damien Chazelle

Animated Film
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

20 Feet from Stardom
20,000 Days on Earth
Finding Vivian Maier

Foreign Film
The Lunchbox
Two Days, One Night

Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman
Ida – Lukasz Zal, Ryzsard Lenczewski
Interstellar – Hoyte van Hoytema
Mr Turner – Dick Pope

Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr Turner
The Theory of Everything

Birdman – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
Nightcrawler – John Gilroy
The Theory of Everything – Jinx Godfrey
Whiplash – Tom Cross

Make-up and Hair
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon
Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White
Into the Woods – Peter Swords King, J Roy Helland
Mr Turner – Christine Blundell, Lesa Warrener
The Theory of Everything – Jan Sewell

Birdman – Antonio Sanchez
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar – Hans Zimmer
The Theory of Everything – Johann Johannsson
Under the Skin – Mica Levi

Production Design
Big Eyes – Rick Heinrichs, Shane Vieau
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game – Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana MacDonald
Interstellar – Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Mr Turner – Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

American Sniper – Walt Martin, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Birdman – Thomas Varga, Martin Hernandez, Aaron Glascock, Jon Taylor, Frank A Montaño
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wayne Lemmer, Christopher Scarabosio, Pawel Wdowczak
The Imitation Game – John Midgley, Lee Walpole, Stuart Hilliker, Martin Jensen
Whiplash – Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann

Visual Effects
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Erik Winquist, Daniel Barrett
Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner, Nicolas
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R Christopher White
Interstellar – Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

British Short Animation
The Bigger Picture – Chris Hees, Daisy Jacobs, Jennifer Majka
Monkey Love Experiments – Ainslie Henderson, Cam Fraser, Will Anderson
My Dad – Marcus Armitage

British Short Film
Boogaloo and Graham – Brian J Falconer, Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Emotional Fusebox – Michael Berliner, Rachel Tunnard
The Karman Line – Campbell Beaton, Dawn King, Tiernan Hanby, Oscar Sharp
Slap – Islay Bell-Webb, Michelangelo Fano, Nick Rowland
Three Brothers -S Aleem Khan, Matthieu de Braconier, Stephanie Paeplow

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
Elaine Constantine (writer/director Northern Soul)
Gregory Burke, Yann Demange (writer and director ’71)
Hong Khaou (writer/director Lilting)
Paul Katis, Andrew De Lotbiniere (director/producer and producer Kajaki: The True Story)
Stephen Beresford, David Livingstone (writer and producer Pride)

Rising Star Award
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Jack O’Connell
Margot Robbie
Miles Teller
Shailene Woodley