The winners and losers from today's BAFTA nominations
As usual, BAFTA delivered a few surprises this morning. While nothing in their nominee list is as far off the Oscar radar as, say, "Drive"'s hefty haul last year, they've muddled up the hierarchy a little among the leading awards players, as two of the three leading nominees found their directors frozen out -- and not even in favor of certain underperforming British hopefuls, as might have been expected.
Some of the inclusions and exclusions have more bearing on the Oscar race than others. For example, before you make too much of Denzel Washington's omission from the Best Actor lineup -- and yes, "Flight" was eligible -- remember that Washington has never been nominated by BAFTA. Across the pond, some films and artists simply translate better than others. With that in mind, let's run through the contenders that gained the most from today's nominations, and those that have reason to be disappointed.
Ben Affleck and "Argo": If you're merely totting up the numbers, "Argo" doesn't look like one of the morning's big winners -- seven nominations is respectable, but still puts in fourth place among the Best Film nominees. But look closer, and consider that it's not a lavish technical showcase, and it's clear that Ben Affleck's well-liked thriller actually over-performed -- indeed, BAFTA's sizeable actors' branch liked it so much they handed Affleck his first major Best Actor nod of the season. Furthermore, along with "Zero Dark Thirty," it's the only Best Film nominee to score with the directing, writing, acting and technical branches. It could well be the one to beat.
"Life of Pi": Along with "Argo," the film that arguably gained the most from this morning's announcement was Ang Lee's seafaring fantasy. It may have had a slow start to the season, with an oddly tentative campaign by Fox, but "Pi" has rallied impressively, scoring a DGA nod yesterday and now landing nine BAFTA nods, plus a Rising Star bid for Suraj Sharma. The film has been a big holiday hit with UK audiences, and unlike fellow nomination leaders "Lincoln" and "Les Mis," it nabbed a nomination for its director too. Could it come from behind and take Best Film? Yes.
"Amour": Perhaps more than any other film, Michael Haneke's critically beloved French-language drama felt the benefits of the new BAFTA voting system, whereby nominees are determined by individual branches rather than the general membership -- it seems less likely that BAFTA as a whole would have included Haneke in the Best Director category, where he edged out Steven Spielberg and/or Tom Hooper, while Emmanuelle Riva is a similarly discerning pick for Best Actress. With four top nominations, the arthouse underdog is in great shape to surprise a lot of people when the Academy announces its nominees tomorrow.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild": Can you be a winner with just one nomination? In this case, yes. Benh Zeitlin's rough-and-ready Southern tale was never likely to score in a big way with the British crowd, having generated little chatter when it opened here back in the autumn, so landing a writing nomination ahead of such big-ticket titles as "Skyfall," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Les Mis," is an encouraging indication of its crossover appeal -- and seemingly firms up the film's Oscar slot in that category after its WGA ineligibility. It's a further indication of the new BAFTA voting system having its desired effect.
"Django Unchained": A qualified win, this, since Quentin Tarantino's bloody Sou'western earned five nominations, including Best Director, but not one for Best Film -- "Inglourious Basterds" suffered a similar fate three years ago. But taking into account how late the film screened for most BAFTA members, it performed well above expectations -- with a couple more weeks, it could even have wrangled a nod for the top prize. With more slots up for grabs, this could bode well for a place in Oscar's Best Picture lineup.
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
Let Streaming Genie help you.