Posted Oct 28 2015

Lastword Calls the BAFTAs 2015

Here we are again. Voting for this year’s BAFTAs closes at 6 pm UK time this coming Wednesday - Feb 4th – and yes it does get earlier every year. Just to be out and open, some of us here at lastword are card carrying BAFTA voters and have recently sealed our votes. The following list of predictions is, however, not exclusively based on how we voted. We voted for what we want to win; here we’re going to lay down what we think is going to win – for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and…you get the idea.

The ceremony takes place this coming Sunday (Feb 8th) and here’s how we think the thing will shake down. Check back Sunday to see if we were right -

BEST PCTURE – Forget all that “in reverse order” bollocks, we’re starting with the biggies. And this is not an easy call this year. There are two mind-sets to consider. Now all you outsiders think that traditionally BAFTA goes for the Brit vote, and with easy-pleasers and box-tickers The Imitation Game and The Theory Of Everything in the running (damaged real life Brit geniuses – one of ‘em in a wheelchair, and the real fellah likely to show up for the ceremony) it might look like a fight between those two.

But ever since BAFTA positioned itself ahead of the Oscars a decade or so ago, the local mind-set has been much more international. Makes sense, they moved it to attract the bigger stars. No one’s getting on the plane from Hollywood if they think it’s a British shut-out. Plus, the word around the BAFTA HQ bar in Piccadilly for months now has been pretty much like everyone else – the Bird or the Boy? A lot of the Brit contingent likes the sheer smarts of Birdman. But we’re predicting their hearts rule their heads and the golden face goes to BOYHOOD.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM – Or, as many voters like to think of it, the Runners Up Award. This is the place where the bigger, generally US movies having been courted, they still want to reward one of their own. Logic would dictate a dust up between Turing and Hawking, but we predict they’re going to cancel each other out, and the one major surprise of the season for every voter we’ve spoken to has been Paddington. No one expected it to be any good, let alone as good as it is. So while ’71 and Pride have their supporters, this BAFTA goes to the bear – PADDINGTON. (Marmalade sandwiches all round.)

BEST DIRECTOR – There’s a side of us that would love to see this upset the cart and walk away in the hands of Wes Anderson, but hell, Grand Budapest is a comedy so “even being nominated is reward itself.” So we’re back to the Bird and the Boy (James Marsh – not auteur enough, Damian Chazelle – too soon) and while everyone is blown away by Inarritu’s amazing vision, that’s going to be rewarded on some of the technical sides (see below.)  The British Academy love a man who spends 12 years doing one thing (not as A Slave, obviously) so we see this – deservingly – being picked up and held aloft by RICHARD LINKLATER. (Or Rick as we like to call our old friend…OK, that last bit was slightly exaggerated.)

LEADING ACTOR – We all know it should be Keaton. Hell, BAFTA certainly had a more interesting line up than Oscar, what with Fiennes and Gyllenhaal in for Carell and Cooper. But – in this particular instance – this is the Brits and this is where they vote for their own. Two real-life historical figures. Two damaged men. Two brilliant scientists. Only two serious contenders here and – one of them’s in a wheelchair. So fuck the rest of you – stand up EDDIE REDMAYNE. (Oh sorry, you can’t. Unless that was some of that “acting” we’re always hearing about.)

LEADING ACTRESS – Now here’s something of a wide-open race. Whilst conventional wisdom has Julianne Moore picking up everything this season, in the UK the movie hasn’t opened, it hasn’t screened very much and the screener that was sent out was some kind of un-rendered mess that looked like the worse case of bad HD video. Oh, and, Moore aside, it’s not very good. So we don’t think BAFTA are going there. (Unless Moore has been sending out personal thank you cards to every voter for nominating her in the first place – and we didn’t get one!) So there’s a distinct possibility it could go to the genius that is Felicity Jones, making a match with her co-star. But we think BAFTA are going to go dark here and hand the face to the very deserving and real, real gone ROSAMUND PIKE.

SUPPORTING ACTOR – We are delighted to announce this is not even a debate. Get up here and pick up your gong J. K. SIMMONS. Ridiculously obvious.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS – The British element here isn’t playing such a strong hand. Everyone is very fond of both Keira Knightley and Imelda Staunton but there’s a feeling that neither of their roles offered them all that much to do. So, because we feel there’s something of a Boyhood groundswell – and because she’s just fabulous in it – PATRICIA ARQUETTE is going a have a BAFTA on her mantle.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – And not a British film amongst them. This is where we feel Wes has his moment. They gave his film more nominations that any other (11) and this is where they throw the man a bone. And the winner is…THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Similarly, THE IMITATION GAME has been playing bridesmaid all evening. This is where it finds some love – even if it was written by an American!

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE – Trash is written and directed by the none-more-British combo of Richard Curtis and Stephen Daldry but finds itself in this category largely because – nobody really cares about it! Leviathan has been highly critically acclaimed but has been leaving voters cold. Unlike TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT which has emotionally floored many who have seen it, so we predict it triumphing for the Dardennes.

ANIMATED FILM – Here’s an opportunity for the BAFTA bunch to right some Oscar wrongs. THE LEGO MOVIE was the biggest movie at the UK box office last year – give them bricks some face!

DOCUMENTARY – 20 Feet from Stardom won a year ago in LA, so it’s unfortunately old news. Edward Snowden by comparison is still topical – and given that UK paper The Guardian was largely responsible for bringing his whistleblowing to the world we’re seeing this one going to CITIZENFOUR.

CINEMATOGRPAHY – If this doesn’t go to Emmanuel Lubezki for the remarkable visual achievements of the supposedly one-take (we know it’s not!) BIRDMAN – then we’re burning our membership cards and giving up on humanity! (Or pouring a large drink in disgust.)

COSTUME DESIGN – They’ve redressed the Oscar snub with Lego. Now time to make some amends for their own. The British press focused more than anything when the BAFTA noms were announced on the perceived snubbing of all things Mr Turner. (“What? No Leigh? No Spall.”) This is where they make up for it. Costume Design and Make Up and Hair (see below) invariably go to a historical piece – and this year is no exception. Harrumph your way to the podium, MR. TURNER.

MAKE UP & HAIR – See above please, MR. TURNER.

EDITING – And see above once more (Cinematography this time.) If BRIDMAN’S seamless non-editing editing doesn’t get this one, we’re burning our membership…oh, just see above!

PRODUCTION DESIGN – Again, we think Mr Turner has a shot here, playing the period card. But we’d be hard pressed to be more impressed than that other period number. So, for a film that lives and breathes through its very precise, very idiosyncratic and often very beautiful production design, the BAFTA goes to…THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. And the crowd goes wild.

MUSIC – Very simple one here (especially given that Alexander Desplat’s superior Imitation Game score was knocked out by his work for Grand Budapest.) The one thing that people united over when it came to the sometimes divisive UNDER THE SKIN was Mica Levi’s haunting, experimental score. It dominated the film, but in a very quiet, understated and unsettling way. Cue lots of people saying things like “Boy, that score really go under my skin” etc.

SOUND – We think Birdman should have it, but we’re under the distinct impression that crisp shots of gunfire will ring out and AMERICAN SNIPER will pick up its one award of the night.

VISUAL EFFECTS – Oh come on – DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is so far ahead of want everyone else is doing, you just have to hail Caesar.

As for the shorts – we’ve haven’t seen ‘em, so we can’t call ‘em. (But good luck to all those involved.)

Which leaves the EE Rising Star Award, the only award voted for by you, the watcher. Given that tweens know how to vote better than anyone, Shailene Woodley has a real shot courtesy of the Divergent/On-Their-Way-To-Being-Insurgent crowd. But we think the Skins mob don’t forget their own and JACK O’CONNELL has had an amazing year – even if Unbroken wasn’t all that good.

Finally, we confidently predict that, despite the snubbing mentioned above, Mike Leigh will win this year’s BAFTA Fellowship.

So that’s that then. All BAFTA – and that irascible Stephen Fry – can do now is disagree with us on the night and get it wrong. Check back on Sunday – we’re kind of live-blogging the whole thing. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

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