It’s awards season! Everybody’s favourite time of the year where a load of little gold figurines get handed out to some people who have dressed very nicely and George Clooney has another reason to get drunk.
The Bafta nominations were announced this week. The Baftas are the second most important film awards ceremony after, of course, the Academy awards. They are a good indicator of what is going to get nominated and who is probably going to win come Oscars night. So, let’s take a look and see who has been nominated and I’ll give you my own opinion on who should win and who probably will win.
Kubo and the Two Strings
This is a pretty tough category. Moana, Finding Dory and Zootropolis could all easily take it. They’ve been popular and well received this year. It’s hard to discount Pixar any time they are nominated but I don’t think Finding Dory is felt to be classic Pixar. Moana has continued Disney’s quality revival so it’s in with a definite shout. Zootropolis has made a lot of money and is well liked. I have no idea why, I found it quite boring but I could see it winning. Unfortunately, Kubo and the Two Strings is definitely at the end of the pack. it was well reviewed but it didn’t make very much and has been sitting under a lot of people’s radar. It’s a shame because Laika make some great movies (Coraline, Paranorman, The Corpse Bride) and deserve to be awarded more.
What will win: Zootropolis (maybe)
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
The surprise nomination here is for Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, a little seen film that garnered mixed reactions. You can count him out. Andrew Garfield apparently puts in a good performance in Hacksaw Ridge but I think he’s on the sidelines this year. The same with Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s between Casey Affleck and Ryan Gosling. Both won at the Golden Globes as the Globes split the categories in to Best Drama and Best Musical/Comedy. It’s a difficult one to call. People may be swept away on the flying carpet of charm that is Ryan Gosling and La La Land but Affleck puts in a career best performance in the hard hitting and emotional drama of Manchester by the Sea. If I had to pick I’d say it will be Affleck. But then it may be Gosling.
Who Will Win: Casey Affleck
Amy Adams – Arrival
Emily Blunt – Girl on the Train
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Natalie Portman – Jackie
An odd category this one. Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep are both nominated here for films that aren’t really thought of as award contenders. Blunt’s performance was seen as the best thing about Girl on the Train but I think the film’s complete lack of warm reception scuppers her chances and Meryl Streep was also praised for her performance but Florence Foster Jenkins also doesn’t have any awards weight behind it so this does feel a little like Meryl Streep being nominated for the ‘Meryl Streep performance in a film this year’ award. Amy Adams is very good in Arrival but I think she is out of it as well this year. Emma Stone has got a good chance for La La Land, and she did win at the Golden Globes, but I think this year it is going to Natalie Portman for her role as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. It’s surprising that the film itself hasn’t got more nominations but Portman’s performance has been talked about as an awards winner for months now. She lost out at the Globes to Isabelle Hupert but Hupert isn’t nominated here, perhaps because of the deadline for submissions, so I think Portman is going to be stacking up the awards next to those she got for Black Swan.
Who Will Win: Natalie Portman
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
I think there are only two real contenders here. The two big hitters in awards season are now La La Land and Manchester by the Sea so it’s between Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan. From what I’ve heard so far, Manchester by the Sea seems much more like an actors and writers film than a directors one and all the big glamorous scenes of a musical give a director a lot of chance to show off so I think in the end it is going to Damien Chazelle. However, I do think there is a curve ball in this category: Ken Loach for I, Daniel Blake. His film has been extremely well received this year by audiences, critics and industry workers. There is a lot of love for Ken Loach anyway and I think there could be a chance that the Bafta voters will want to reward him for a well loved film and a brilliant and long career. It’s perhaps an outside bet but don’t write it off. On a personal note I would like Denis Villeneve to win for Arrival because he has become one of my favourite directors currently working and I love Arrival but it is not going to happen. Hopefully his deserved awards will come soon.
Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle
Outstanding British Film
I, Daniel Blake
Under the Shadow
Notes on Blindness
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I think this one is pretty well decided. Surely it’s I, Daniel Blake. A critically lauded and Palme D’or winning piece of dramatic social commentary by national treasure Ken Loach. It’s very hard to see how the voters will go for anything else. Especially since it is also nominated in the Best Film category which it almost certainly won’t win, the voters will want to award it in this category. Also, what’s Fantastic Beasts doing in here? Surely no one thinks it was that good.
What Will Win: I, Daniel Blake
I, Daniel Blake
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
This is another tough one. We haven’t had Moonlight here yet and La La Land and Mancehster by the Sea are only just out so it’s one of those where they aren’t well known over here yet. I personally want Arrival to win. It’s my film of 2016 and I think it is a wonderful and extraordinary film. But it won’t win. Moonlight has some weight behind it but I think it’s out of this race as well. It’s down to La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. They’ve both won at the Golden Globes but that is where they can get split in to separate categories. I think I’ll have to plump for La La Land on this one. The awards love a big feel good musical, especially one that harks back to the ‘Golden Age’ of movie musicals, and though I think Manchester by the Sea may have the awards performances, La La Land has the awards package.
What Will Win: La La Land
It’s a fairly good year all in all. Some deserving nominations and the usual awards baiting fair. There are a few notable exceptions such as Moonlight for categories other than Best Film, Loving and Fences. This may very well be down to the exclusion regarding submission cut off dates as they are all films which are arriving on our screens around or just after the awards ceremony. Interestingly, The Birth of a Nation has completely dropped off of the awards radar. Massively built up to be not only a contender but a winner halfway through last year after its rapturous festival reception in the vein of 12 Years a Slave and an antidote to the Oscars So White controversy of last year. It has since completely tanked due to controversy surrounding its star Nate Parker and some backlash due to some people feeling the film was just a showcase for Parker, something difficult to shake when you see his name appear four times at the beginning of the credits. Hopefully, the Oscars will address its racial diversity problem this year by rewarding the good work of the cast and film makers of films like Moonlight, Loving and Fences.
The Bafta award ceremony is broadcast on the BBC on 12th February so we’ll see what the outcome is and whether I am anywhere near close in my guesses.