Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wealth-Spreading BAFTA Keeps Season Interesting...

The Brits have been known to throw a monkey wrench into awards season every now and then, even when ultimately bowing to the status quo. Such is the case today as they handed the unquestionable Oscar frontrunner La La Land their Best Film prize, but it was far from the clean sweep which many pundits believe the Academy will bestow upon it. While its five-category haul is impressive, it ultimately lost more prizes than it won, putting thoughts of it matching the Oscar record (11 wins) into serious doubt. I'm especially skeptical of the design categories and Original Screenplay.
Other notable successes include Lion and Manchester by the Sea, each taking a pair. Lion feels like something that could surprise anywhere on Oscar night, especially in Adapted Screenplay. Manchester, on the other hand, feels like a surprise shutout just waiting to happen, with Denzel taking Best Actor from Affleck, and Chazelle Best Original Screenplay from Lonergan, but we shall see.

List of winners and some commentary to follow:

BEST FILM
La La Land - Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt
On to Oscar...

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
I, Daniel Blake - Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty
Hardly a surprise, given its nomination in Best Film.

DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle - La La Land
Along with his film, Chazelle has hit every major precursor stop along the way.

LEADING ACTOR
Casey Affleck - Manchester By the Sea
This should be enough to make Best Actor an easy call, but that Denzel win at the SAG Awards changes everything. It's been twelve years since the SAG winner lost the Oscar! I'm gonna be biting my nails on this one until the envelope opens.

LEADING ACTRESS
Emma Stone - La La Land
This probably squashes any hope of a Huppert or Portman shocker. SAG+BAFTA is a next-to-impossible combo to beat.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Dev Patel - Lion
There's always at least one acting category where the Brits will deviate from the frontrunner for a hometown favourite. London boy Dev Patel reaps the benefits of Lion's January release across the pond, where Moonlight (shut out today) hasn't even opened yet.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis - Fences
The only performer this year to earn a clean sweep of Critics Choice, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA. Sins of 2012 atoned, or at least they will be when she gets to make her killer Oscar speech (we assume it'll be killer).

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Manchester By the Sea - Kenneth Lonergan
Might have to wait until the WGA next weekend before settling on an Oscar prediction here. The Best Picture winner almost never loses this award, but an original musical hasn't won Best Picture since before most current Academy members were born. We have no realistic precedent to go by.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Lion - Luke Davies
This feels like a more likely threat to Moonlight than Dev Patel. People love Lion, and rightly so. Luke Davies' terrific script seems like a natural place for its many fans to honour it. That said, BAFTA doesn't have the best track record in terms of predictiveness: Only three of their last ten have gone on to win the Oscar.

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Kubo and the Two Strings - Travis Knight
YES! My faintest of hopes lives on! BAFTA has a surprisingly strong crossover with the Academy in this category. The only BAFTA winner not to win the Oscar was The LEGO Movie, and that was only because it wasn't nominated. Dare I go out on a limb against Zootopia, which is still the odds-on fav?

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Son of Saul - Laszlo Nemes, Gabor Sipos
None of the Critics Choice, Golden Globe or BAFTA winners this year are even nominated, so who wins the Oscar? Toni Erdmann has the critical heat, but it just seems like such a weird winner, no? Could the recent political climate usher in a victory for The Salesman? Wouldn't surprise me.

DOCUMENTARY
13th - Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish
O.J.: Made in America was not nominated by the Brits (for good reason despite its excellence), and this was clearly the best alternative. Would make an exceptional Oscar winner.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
La La Land - Linus Sandgren
The Critics Choice, BAFTA and Oscar have lined up four years running.
Seems foolish to bet against that pattern holding.

EDITING
Hacksaw Ridge - John Gilbert
Worth taking note of this. When the BAFTA winner is also nominated by the Academy, it usually wins, the most recent exception being United 93.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
Stuart Craig has long been a BAFTA favourite, as has the Potter-verse in this category. It lost the ADG to Passengers last night, but it feels like a more legitimate challenger to La La Land, which I'm not convinced has this sewn up.

COSTUME DESIGN
Jackie - Madeline Fontaine
Here's the weakest link in La La Land's crafts sweep chain. Contemporary films just do not win this category. Moreover, for as long as the Critics Choice have been handing out craft prizes (since 2009), BAFTA has matched them every time, and every one of them has gone on to win the Oscar.

ORIGINAL MUSIC
La La Land - Justin Hurwitz
Naturally.

SOUND
Arrival - Sylvain Bellemare, Claude La Haye, Bernard GariƩpy Strobl
A thousand times "YES" to this. If Arrival can only win one category on Oscar night (which it probably won't), I'd love for it to be one of the Sound ones. BAFTA used to have a pretty good record going, but it saw an eight-year streak end last year when The Revenant got edged by Mad Max for both Oscar prizes. The CAS and MPSE announce their winners next weekend. May be they'll give us more direction...

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
The Jungle Book - Rob Legato et.al.
After last year's jaw-dropping win for Ex Machina, I'm not sure I'll trust any prediction in this category ever again. But no movie to have claimed the BAFTA and the Critics Choice and top VES honours has lost the Oscar yet, so I guess this is my bet. Still, GO Kubo!

MAKE UP AND HAIR
Florence Foster Jenkins - J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips
A mild consolation for the team that clearly would have won the Oscar had the notoriously idiosyncratic makeup branch not snubbed them.

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
Babak Anvari (Writer/Director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh (Producers) - Under the Shadow

EE RISING STAR AWARD (VOTED FOR BY THE PUBLIC)
Tom Holland

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
A Love Story - Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King

BRITISH SHORT FILM
Home - Shpat Deda, Afolabi Kuti, Daniel Mulloy, Scott O’Donnell

1 comment:

  1. Mickey Rourke comes to mind as a possibly similar situation for Affleck. Dominant in the awards season, loses the SAG to his closest competition, loses the gold to said competition Sean Penn. As a big fan of Denzel and not as much of Casey, I'd be quite alright with this...

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