Last Word Calls The BAFTAs 2019
And here we find ourselves again. Voting for this year’s BAFTA Awards ended a couple of days back – Wednesday 6th at 6 pm local time to be precise – and those of us who can, did, before that hour dawned.
This year hasn’t been as divisive as some in recent memory – but for several months it was just a tad lacklustre. Even now, hanging around the hallowed halls of BAFTA’s Piccadilly HQ with our ears to the ground and our arms on the members’ bar, it’s not been easy to find that much enthusiasm for some of the pics in competition. The Favourite is clearly THE favourite, whilst Roma is well respected more than loved, and BlacKKKlansman remains a liked outsider. But most of the impact has been felt in the special screenings and appearances that have taken place over the season, most recently a terrific night out with Bohemian Rhapsody, an evening that began with hot and cold running wine, which continued throughout the film itself, and then saw Queen (an unannounced Roger showed up with Brian) & Rami Malek do a splendid q&a with Mark Kermode. And then when you thought it was all over, they threw a food and drink post screening reception, in which Rami and Queen made the most of pressing the flesh – an event that surely impacted on the movie’s chances overall.
Earlier in the season, Richard E. Grant delivered superbly, first in a post screening on stage with Melissa McCarthy in which he completely stole the show, and then a couple of weeks later, he simply brought the house down with a sold out 90 minutes A Life In Pictures talk on a Sunday afternoon, that solidified his position as if not a winner than certainly a demi-god.
Back in October, BAFTA threw a special members surprise screening of Green Book, the same night as it debuted unannounced at the London Film Festival, which saw Viggo, Mahershala and the makers all pal around afterwards, something that hugely benefitted what was at that point still a largely unknown proposition.
Elsewhere, the likes of Bradley and Alfonso shook hands on more than one occasion, both Stan & Ollie did the rounds, and the entire cast of Mary Poppins Returns went IMAX, where a little girl in the audience asked Meryl Streep a question in the post screening Q&A and referred to her as “Meryl…thingy…sorry…” which made everyone erupt into laughter, not least Meryl.
So busy as ever, but at the end of it, was there a clear favourite (that wasn’t The Favourite?) It’s a tough one to call this year – but we here in the turrets of Last Word Castle are prepared to give it a go. As ever. So here we go.
(Check back on the night and see if we got it right.)
And so, to the biggie -
BEST PICTURE – Now, given that The Favourite is also nominated for Outstanding British Film, we could easily see this going to either Roma or Green Book. But we have a feeling that Brit Film is going somewhere else as the BAFTA types want to reward two British movies they have liked very much this year. Roma has the chance to pick up Foreign Language and, unless it got a lot of watches and a lot of love via its DVD screener, Green Book has been well met but not in an overwhelming manner. Again, BlacKKKlansman saw everyone delighted at Spike Lee’s return to form, but despite a couple of personal appearances, Spike has never got past being, well, spikey. And no one is that fussed about the remake of a remake of a remake that was A Star Is Born – good as it was. So The Favourite romps home with this one.
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM – …which leaves the path cleared to hand this gong to the hugely popular Bohemian Rhapsody. Remember that recent and extremely well timed in terms of voting screening where everyone got to hang out with Queen afterwards? Sealed the deal.
BEST DIRECTOR – As much as everyone here loved The Favourite, Yorgos is still something of a wild card, whilst Alfonso is a classicist. Last Word voted for Spike Lee – largely on the grounds that as gorgeous as it is, Roma is not one of Cuaron’s best films, whilst BlacKKKlansman is definitely one of Spike’s. We strongly suspect we’re in the minority here – so Alfonso takes the prize.
LEADING ACTOR - After seeing Vice, we thought Christian Bale had this all but sewn up. But then Rami threw a party – and kept winning everything else – and suddenly Mr Malek wins a BAFTA. And the once dismissed Bo Rap gets its second major award of the night.
LEADING ACTRESS – Now here’s a place where the British Academy will disagree with their American cousins. Whilst Glenn Close has been nominated seven times for an Oscar and has yet to win, we don’t harbour that sense of guilt, having only nominated her twice to date. And Olivia Colman is all but a national treasure over here. Admittedly, she hasn’t been doing the circuit as much as some, partly because she doesn’t like the attention, and partly because she’s been busy being the Queen of England for The Crown series 3. But none of that matters, she is already a queen in most BAFTA voters’ eyes, so Olivia Colman wins Leading Actress. (Plus, we know she’ll make a great speech.)
SUPPORTING ACTOR – In our hearts we want to see Richard E. Grant finally get his just rewards (and there is a strong sentimental feeling for him, particularly from those that saw his Life In Pictures talk - "Fuckers!") But in our heads, this feels like Mahershala Ali all the way. (And with the recently back on form True Detective the man’s having a hell of a year.)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS – As we’ve said before, Stone and Weisz more than likely split the vote, Favourite-wise. Margot Robbie is popular – but her film wasn’t. And Amy Adams did feel like she was pushed a little too far into the background. And they’ve already given an Actress award to one Queen, so why not another? So we’re saying this goes to Colman’s Crown-wearing antecedent, Claire Foy, for First Man, a film that sadly failed to make the impact it deserved on both sides of the pond upon release.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Adam McKay’s Vice should be in with a shout here. But we’re predicting the love continues for The Favourite
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – First Man is worthy, but it’s our inkling that this is where Spike Lee gets some much overdue respect and the award goes to the powerful and extremely worthy BlacKKKlansman – and not just because we all here at Last Word voted for it.
ORIGINAL MUSIC – Once again this year, this is a tough call. It might feel churlish to completely shut out the much liked A Star Is Born, and given that BAFTA doesn’t do the Best Song thing this would be a way to acknowledge Shallow and more. We personally loved Alexandre Desplat’s work on Isle of Dogs, but think this is really going to be a battle between the musicals. So it’s A Star Is Born versus Mary Poppins Returns – and Poppins swoops in and gets it.
CINEMATOGRAPHY – Alfonso’s for the asking. Pure and simple. (People love the black & white.)
EDITING – Alfonso is once again in with a shot here, but we see this going the way of the great John Ottman for all but rescuing what could have been a calamitous Bo Rap. (Although we’re pretty sure Dexter Fletcher had more than hand in there too.) Might be an awks acceptance speech though.
PRODUCTION DESIGN - did we mention The Favourite already? (Although it’s about time the great Stuart Craig won something!)
COSTUME DESIGN - did we mention The Favourite already?
MAKE UP & HAIR - did we mention The Favourite already? (Although Mary, Queen of Scots could throw the proverbial Spaniard in the works.)
SOUND – An interesting one – and the magnificent Mission Impossible Fallout’s only nom. But once again the popularity of Bo Rap, especially that majestic recreation of (and extrapolation on) Live Aid at the end could clinch it. But the much ignored First Man had a brilliant sound design (and a brilliant score that was snubbed) so we think – if BAFTA people are thinking straight – this should be a clear winner. (But when are they ever thinking straight?)
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS – Avengers – Assemble - for your only nomination of the year. And a clear win.
DOCUMENTARY – A very strong category this year, with all five noms deserving. We personally would opt for McQueen, but have a feeling the Academy as a whole was deeply moved by Peter Jackson’s remarkable work of bringing the WWI Tommies back to life, so They Shall Not Grow Old lands this one.
ANIMATED FILM – We still want to go Isle Of Dogs, but for some reason everyone else seems to favour the very cluttered and extremely animated Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse, so this continues its very successful Pixar-busting awards run.
OUSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER –Beast was much admired on its impressive debut and so we see this picking up gold faces for writer/director Michael Pearce and producer Lauren Dark (appropriate surname, given the movie)
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE – And this is where Alfonso makes up for losing out on Best Film (a situation we can see him repeating at the Oscars in two weeks time.) Cold War has a shot of course, but if our predictions ring true and The Favourite denies him top prize – hopefully the man who will win Best Director this Sunday won’t see this as a consolation prize.
Which, finally, leads us to the final award – the EE RISING STAR AWARD. As is usually the case, this tends to go to the young person who’s been in the biggest films this year. And while voters loved Jessie Buckley in Beast, Letitia Wright was in two billion dollar-busting movies this year – her one-two punch that was Black Panther and Infinity War – and so, given this award is voted for by you the public, more people simply saw her. Thoroughly deserved though. And she’s a London girl – come on down Letitia and claim your gold!
Oh, and really finally – the prediction we are 100%, most definitely confident about – Thelma Schoonmaker, who started her career by editing the films of her late husband Michael Powell, before being co-opted to shape the career of Martin Scorsese, will receive this year’s Fellowship. This is less a prediction and more something that’s been in the papers already.
So, there you have it. Once again, we’ve called it – and we’re pretty darn sure we’re right!
Come back Sunday night when Joanna Lumley will be charming us all from the Royal Albert Hall, and we’ll be live-blogging the whole thing - and see if the rest of our fellow BAFTA voters also got it right this time!
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