Uncertain prospects for US political dramas: As a rule, BAFTA voters generally tune into across-the-pond buzz, even with films that are bigger news in the US than in the UK. (Last year, "The Help" scored a Best Film nod, despite sneering reviews and underwhelming box office.) But they can let it be known when they aren't as impressed as US voters by a major American contender: "Milk" and "The Descendants," for example, missed Best Director nods, while "Hugo" and "Inglourious Basterds" scored in multiple categories -- except Best Film. With that in mind, I wonder if "Lincoln" and/or "Zero Dark Thirty," neither of which has opened in the UK yet, might receive fewer nominations than they will at the Oscars, given the comparative lack of media attention lavished on their political resonances. (The same could go for "Django Unchained," though that's in a similarly precarious spot with the Academy too.) That's not to say they'll be shut out of key BAFTA races, but don't expect quite the same level of noise around them. 

Forging the French connection: BAFTA has long been receptive to the cinema of their over-the-Channel cousins, and that's not counting "The Artist": in recent years, "Amelie" was a Best Film nominee, "I've Loved You So Long" scored multiple nominations and "La Vie en Rose" four wins, while Audrey Tautou snagged an unlikely Best Actress nod three years ago for "Coco Before Chanel." So it'll be interesting to see how accommodating the Brits are in a year heavy on Gallic crossover fare. As in the US, "The Intouchables" (here more logically dubbed "Untouchable") stands comfortably as the year's top-grossing foreign-language film, so it could well feature outside the ghetto categories. "Rust and Bone," meanwhile, has been a sizable arthouse hit in UK, so might find BAFTA more welcoming than the Academy -- particularly given that Jacques Audiard is a two-time winner. The Brits haven't been quite as keen on Michael Haneke over the years, but "Amour" is perhaps his most universally embraced work, so I'm curious to see how strongly it registers. Whatever the films' major-category fortunes, expect a very French-flavored Best Foreign Language Film category.

With that, my predictions for BAFTA nominations:

Best Film
"Argo"
"Life of Pi"
"Lincoln"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"

Best British Film
"Berberian Sound Studio"
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
"The Imposter"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"

Best Director
Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Sam Mendes, "Skyfall"
Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Actor
Daniel Craig, "Skyfall"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Misérables"
Jean-Louis Trintignant, "Amour" 

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"
Judi Dench, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Eddie Redmayne, "Les Misérables"
Tom Wilkinson, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, "The Master"
Judi Dench, "Skyfall"
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
Maggie Smith, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

 

Best Original Screenplay
"Amour"
"Django Unchained"
"The Intouchables"
"The Master"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Adapted Screenplay
"Argo"
"Life of Pi"
"Lincoln"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Skyfall"

Best Foreign Language Film
"Amour"
"Headhunters"
"The Intouchables"
"The Kid With a Bike"
"Rust and Bone"

Best Documentary
"The Imposter"
"Marley"
"Searching for Sugar Man"

Best Animated Film
"Brave"
"Frankenweenie"
"The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists!"

Best Cinematography
"Life of Pi"
"Lincoln"
"The Master"
"Skyfall"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Production Design
"Anna Karenina"
"Life of Pi"
"The Master"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"

Best Costume Design
"Anna Karenina"
"Django Unchained"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Les Misérables"
"Lincoln"

Best Film Editing
"Argo"
"The Imposter"
"Life of Pi"
"Skyfall"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Makeup & Hair
"Anna Karenina"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Lincoln"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"

Best Music
"Anna Karenina"
"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
"Life of Pi"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"

Best Sound 
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Life of Pi"
"Les Misérables"
"Skyfall"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Visual Effects
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Life of Pi"
"Les Misérables"
"Prometheus"
"Skyfall"

 

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