Posted Feb 12 2016

BAFTA Watch - LastWord Calls The BAFTAs 2016

Yes, it’s that time again. Voting for the 2016 EE BAFTA Awards closed at 6 pm last night, so it’s time for us to call the BAFTAs. Again. Now, please bear in mind, some of us here voted, and voted with our hearts (even though it was obvious that some of those choices were clearly wasted, if you're playing the game strategically.) Here we will not be discussing what we voted for, but rather what and whom we expect to see picking up those golden faces this weekend. We’ve been around BAFTA the whole awards season (yes, akin to a bad rash), we’ve been following the conversations, picking up the titbits, speculating with the speculators and writing it all down (click on our BAFTA Watch section if you haven’t already.)

But the prognosticating is through. This is how we expect to see things pan out from London’s Royal Opera House this Sunday February 14th (Valentine’s Day – do you think they’ll mention it?) when the lovely Stephen Fry once again uses long words nobody knows to charm us as he hands out the envelopes. In time-honoured fashion, we’re going with the biggies first. Check back on Sunday to see if we got it right.

Best Film

This is still up for grabs at the Oscars due to much confusion in the various pre-show indicators and divided loyalties amongst the voters. But over here we see this one as pretty clear – The Revenant. In part it’s a process of elimination – Spotlight and The Big Short, are both issue led ensemble movies that haven’t set the UK on fire, so more than likely divide votes and cancel each other out. Everyone loves Spielberg and everyone loved Bridge of Spies, but it’s not his best work and is more of a placeholder. Carol – again, loved but doesn’t seem to have bowled the academy over. The Revenant meanwhile came in on a storm, smacked everyone upside the head and has had Leo showing up on more than one occasion to press the members’ flesh. It’s powerful, it’s potent and – perhaps more importantly – unlike their American cousins, BAFTA didn’t give it to Inarritu or his movie last year (they went Boyhood), so there’s a feeling here that everyone’s due.

Outstanding British Film

This is a tougher call, but we’re saying Amy is on for Best Doc and Alex Garland will see some love (see below) so that also takes Ex Machina out of the running. No one particularly likes The Danish Girl (quite rightly!) and The Lobster is seen as more of a curio. Early in the season we would’ve gone for 45 Years but the lack of noms for Rampling and Courtenay clearly indicated this film wasn’t staying with people. Not in the way that early leader Brooklyn has. Around BAFTA HQ no one has a negative word to say about this utter delight of a film, and its positioning here – away from Best Film – is a clear indicator of its winning. 

Outstanding Debut By British Writer, Director Or Producer

Everyone loved Ex Machine way back when it was released at the start of the year. Thankfully, it’s awards success in the US reminded everyone of that fact, hence it’s showing in Outstanding British Film. It may lose that one, but here is where Alex Garland gets his due.

Best Director

We’re automatically shutting down McKay, Haynes and Spielberg, which leaves us a two horse race. It’s Iñárritu’s for the losing…but there is a certain sentimental thing the academy have going for Scott. And it was by far his best, most entertaining movie since Gladiator, so there’s always that notion of “life in the old dog yet.” However, we’re back to the whole “we didn’t give it to him last year so, unlike the Americans, we won’t look like repeat monkeys” thing. In that light, Best Director goes to Alejandro Iñárritu, thus securing The Revenant’s dominance of the night.

Best Actor

He’s due. It’s Leo (do you see a theme emerging here yet?) Everyone else may as well not show up.

Best Actress

This is a much tougher call. Alicia Vikander is nommed both here and in supporting, so don’t expect her to win here. There is a wild card chance that sentiment overcomes sense and Maggie Smith gets it. But there also seems to be a feeling abroad that this is Maggie doing what Maggie does best, and could probably do in her sleep. So – as it is with the Oscars – the fight here is between Larson and Ronan. The former’s recent wins in the states are bound to have an impact as voting was still live as she started filling her trophy cabinet. But she does disappear from her movie for most of the third act, and that has been noted, whilst Saoirse is on screen for just about every single second of hers. So we’re going – with some degree of trepidation – for the woman who BAFTA members have been thinking of since early in the season – the brilliant Saoirse Ronan.

Best Supporting Actor

Now, we have to consider the whole #OscarsSoWhite issue here. Without all that diversity kerfuffle kicking off – and don’t underestimate, it has been felt all over the world, especially within the industry – we were calling this an easy win for London theatre dahling Mark Rylance. And deservedly so. But have recent events impacted to the point where Idris sneaks in? Don’t get us wrong, Elba is deeply loved and respected over here, but if the vote has swung, would he be winning for al the wrong reasons? So we’re going 50-50 on this one, with a sneaking suspicion that Rylance still wins. Just.

Best Supporting Actress

Kate Winslett is a hometown favourite – and she did a storming Life In Pictures talk just before Christmas at BAFTA’s Piccadilly home. But it is the year of Alicia – with two noms – and BAFTA loves to anoint a new star. So we’re seeing the glorious Ms Vikander taking this one home to bed.

Best Original Screenplay

Another tough call. Many cited Bridge of Spies as being script driven – and who doesn’t love the Coens? Plus co-writer Matt Charman is a Brit who landed both Spielberg and Hanks, so that’s a factor. Spotlight (which is otherwise being ignored) is in with a shot, but we see it as an outside one. And BAFTA voters really do like getting behind the little film that could. So we’re calling it for Alex Garland, giving Ex Machine three major awards, making it one of the biggest winners of the night.

Best Adapted Screenplay

With Steve Jobs now so far out of the running, we’re not even considering Sorkin (sadly.) Room’s Emma Donoghue – first screenplay from her own novel – is a good story. But Nick Hornby is a better one – and again, like Winslett, he did a very popular Life In Pictures at BAFTA earlier in the season. Plus he does a fantastic job of adapting Colm Toibin’s very popular book, so take the stage Mr Hornby.

Best Film Not In The English Language

Sight & Sound may have named The Assassin their film of the year, but who the hell reads Sight & Sound these days? Should be Wild Tales, but that was at the Oscars last year, so the feeling is the boat has sailed on that one. Step into the spotlight, Theeb – not least because its writer/director and producer are Brits.

Best Documentary

Amy. By a mile. No competition. (If only for the way it helps the British people face up to their own complicity in the tragedy of Ms Winehouse.)

Best Animated Film

Inside Out – because, you know, it’s right! (And we’re all about being right – see the top of the page.)

Best Original Music

It’s veterans time. There was an awful lot of love for Star Wars when it screened at and around BAFTA back in December. And god knows, everyone loves that music. But Morricone also has a few fans, and Tarantino dragging him back to the western genre was something special. And even those who didn’t like Hateful Eight, couldn’t fault the score. So, with Star Wars earmarked for the tech awards to come, we seeing Ennio pick this one up (or maybe QT showing up to receive it in the maestro’s place.)

Best Cinematography

Another two horse race here – it’s Emmanuel Lubezki vs Roger Deakins. Now whilst the latter has been nominated 13 times "over there" and never won an Oscar, Deakins has won a few BAFTAs so the injustice is less felt here. Therefore, even though it will mark his third year in a row, we see the might of The Revenant continuing and Lubezki on for the triple.

Best Editing

It has seven noms (if not the big ones) and this is where we see Mad Max Fury Road starting to make its presence felt, as it eclipses The Revenant and lands Best Editing. And while we’re at it…

Best Production Design

…we have a feeling it’s taking this one too!

Best Costume Design

Fury Road again? No, we think they’re going the tradition route here with yet another award for Sandy Powell and her Cinderella frocks.

Best Make-Up And Hair

That said, we think we might well be back to Max on this one.

Best Sound

And we were going to say this one as well…but we have a feeling this is where Star Wars starts to make its presence felt. (If only briefly.)

Best Special Visual Effects

And most definitely here. This is one category where The Force truly Awakens

EE Rising Star

Of the five nominees, one was in a critically acclaimed but little seen art house movie (Brie Larson), one was in a critically acclaimed but little seen teen movie (Bel Powley), one was in a widely seen but critically derided mess (Dakota Johnson), one was in a critically acclaimed and largely seen comic book movie (Taron Egerton), and one was in just about the BIGGEST THING EVER!!! And this one’s voted for by the public. We’re putting our money on John Boyega here.

So there you have it. All Mr Fry and his super BAFTA chums can do now is disagree with us. And get it wrong. (They will do that, won’t they?) Come back on Sunday when we’ll be sort of live-blogging the whole thing and seeing how happy Leo is. (We’re telling you, that one’s a lock. Unless…)

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