2021 BAFTA Awards WINNERS Predictions

As if Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards weren’t enough, the British Academy Film Awards air the same day. The BAFTAs, as of late, have been a rather reliable predictor for Oscar races (especially the acting derbies). Last year, the BAFTA/Oscar matched in all 4 thespian derbies and that included the surprise Anthony Hopkins (The Father) victory over Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. 

That can’t occur this time around because none of the Best Actress contenders at BAFTA are nominated for the Academy Award (go figure!). As I have with other ceremonies, I’m giving you my winner pick with a runner-up. On Monday, expect recaps for Critics Choice and this show!

Best Film

Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Belfast

Best Director

Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Audrey Diwan, Happening

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Aleem Khan, After Love

Predicted Winner: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Emilia Jones, CODA

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Predicted Winner: Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Runner-Up: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees:

Adeel Akhtar, Ali & Ava

Mahershala Ali, Swan Song

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Stephen Graham, Boiling Point

Will Smith, King Richard

Predicted Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Will Smith, King Richard

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Ruth Negga, Passing

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees:

Mike Faist, West Side Story

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: Licorice Pizza

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

Dune

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: The Lost Daughter

Best Animated Film

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Predicted Winner: Flee

Runner-Up: Encanto

Best Documentary 

Nominees:

Becoming Cousteau

Cow

Flee

The Rescue

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Summer of Soul

Runner-Up: Flee

Best Film Not in the English Language

Nominees:

Drive My Car

The Hand of God

Parallel Mothers

Petite Maman

The Worst Person in the World

Predicted Winner: Drive My Car

Runner-Up: The Worst Person in the World

Best Casting

Nominees:

Boiling Point

Dune

The Hand of God

King Richard

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Cinematography

Nominees:

Dune

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Costume Design

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

Predicted Winner: Cruella

Runner-Up: Dune

Best Editing

Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Licorice Pizza

No Time to Die

Summer of Soul

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Best Makeup and Hair

Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Predicted Winner: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Runner-Up: House of Gucci

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The French Dispatch

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Best Production Design

Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: Nightmare Alley

Best Sound

Nominees:

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

A Quiet Place Part II

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Tme to Die

Best Special Visual Effects

Nominees:

Dune

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: No Time to Die

Outstanding British Film

Nominees:

After Love

Ali & Ava

Belfast

Boiling Point

Cyrano

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

House of Gucci

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

Passing

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: After Love

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer

Nominees:

After Love

Boiling Point

The Harder They Fall

Keyboard Fantasies

Passing

Predicted Winner: Passing

Runner-Up: After Love

My predictions mean the following movies get these numbers of wins:

6 Wins

Dune

5 Wins

The Power of the Dog

2 Wins

Belfast, West Side Story

1 Win

After Love, Cruella, Drive My Car, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, Passing, Summer of Soul

2021 BAFTA Nominations Reaction

For the second year in a row, the British Academy Film Awards (or BAFTAs) showed its unpredictable nature with some shocking omissions and unexpected inclusions. The last major precursor before Oscar nominations are unveiled Tuesday, I went 63 of 99 when it comes to races with a correlation to the Academy’s competitions. Truth be told – it coulda been worse considering the surprises we witnessed today.

Let’s break them down one by one with some commentary, shall we?

Film

Nominees: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Dune, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: The BAFTAs delivered a great haul for Pizza. It and Don’t Look Up got in over my picks of The Tragedy of Macbeth and West Side Story (which both underwhelmed). Gut reaction says Power is in the lead.

Director

Nominees: Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Audrey Diwan (Happening), Julia Ducournau (Titane), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car), Aleem Khan (After Love)

How I Did: 4/6

Commentary: Wow – no Kenneth Branagh for Belfast or Denis Villeneuve for Dune! They miss with Anderson and Diwan taking the spots. Like with Film, Campion could be out in front.

Leading Actress

Nominees: Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Emilia Jones (CODA), Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World), Joanna Scanlan (After Love), Tessa Thompson (Passing)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: Surprises galore here! No Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos or Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter. I predicted both along with Claire Rushbrook for Ali & Ava. In their slots are Haim (continuing the Licorice love), Jones, and Thompson. I would also note no Kristen Stewart in Spencer after her SAG snub.

Now here’s an interesting stat – since 2013, the BAFTA Leading Actress recipient has matched the Oscar winner. So… are Kidman and Colman in trouble? Could Gaga be on her way to a gold statue? Does this show Haim’s potential strength at getting an Academy mention? Questions abound, but I know one thing – this year’s Actress race is as intriguing as last year’s.

Leading Actor

Nominees: Adeel Akhtar (Ali & Ava), Mahershala Ali (Swan Song), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), Stephen Graham (Boiling Point), Will Smith (King Richard)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: Smith’s inclusion here (which I didn’t project) just might solidify him as the Oscar frontrunner (with Cumberbatch pretty close behind). Academy hopefuls Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!) and Denzel Washington (Macbeth) were left out as was Daniel Craig in his swan song as Bond in No Time to Die. In their place – Smith, Ali (following up on his Globe nominated turn), and DiCaprio.

Side note – somehow, Denzel has never been nominated for a BAFTA.

Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Ann Dowd (Mass), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Ruth Negga (Passing)

How I Did: 4/6

Commentary: Dowd finally shows up! I must say – no huge shockers here as she and Ellis made it over Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) and Kathryn Hunter (Macbeth). We’ll see if DeBose’s potential sweep continues here.

Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mike Faist (West Side Story), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Woody Norman (C’Mon C’Mon), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 3/6

Commentary: There was a double dose of Dog love for Plemons (who I didn’t predict) and Smit-McPhee (who I did and he could certainly win). I also went with Faist’s costar David Alvarez instead in a last minute switch that I now regret. And young Norman is responsible for the only nod for C’Mon C’Mon. I also went with Benicio del Toro for The French Dispatch and Jamie Dornan in Belfast. At this point, an Oscar nod for Dornan seems like a reach. Also worth noting is that, despite Pizza over performing, no Bradley Cooper.

Original Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Here’s a list that may absolutely match the Oscar one. I said After Love over Richard (which had a solid day). Like with the Academy, this might be a Belfast v. Pizza showdown and considering how well the latter did, I might lean that way.

Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: CODA, Drive My Car, Dune, The Lost Daughter, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Went with West Side Story over Dune. This is Power‘s to lose.

Animated Film

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines

How I Did: 3/4

Commentary: Rather predictable list though I said Ron’s Gone Wrong instead of Luca.

Film Not in the English Language

Nominees: Drive My Car, The Hand of God, Parallel Mothers, Petite Maman, The Worst Person in the World

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: No Flee here or Titane with God and Mothers in. Drive My Car is the favorite.

Documentary

Nominees: Becoming Cousteau, Cow, Flee, The Rescue, Summer of Soul

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Summer of Soul did well when factoring in the surprise Editing nod. It made it along with Cousteau over my picks of The Sparks Brothers and The Velvet Underground.

Cinematography

Nominees: Dune, Nightmare Alley, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, The Tragedy of Macbeth

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Well – Macbeth got something (!) Only miss here was going with Belfast instead of Alley.

Costume Design

Nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley

How I Did: 2/5

Commentary: There’s always a pesky 2/5 race where I just whiff. I got Cyrano and Dune right but the others popped up over House of Gucci, Last Night in Soho, and West Side Story. I didn’t predict it, but Cruella could be the main competition for Dune.

Editing

Nominees: Belfast, Dune, Licorice Pizza, No Time to Die, Summer of Soul

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Soul‘s aforementioned placement is unexpected – could it possibly follow suit with the Academy? Also didn’t project Pizza. They are in over Last Night in Soho and (you guessed it) West Side Story.

Makeup and Hair

Nominees: Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Cyrano over The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Honestly, other than Cyrano, I think any of the hopefuls could take this.

Original Score

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Don’t Look Up, Dune, The French Dispatch, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Ricardos and Don’t Look Up in; The Green Knight and Spencer out. Probably a showdown of Dune v. Dog. 

Production Design

Nominees: Cyrano, Dune, The French Dispatch, Nightmare Alley, West Side Story

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Here’s a rare category where I incorrectly had West Side missing. It’s in, along with Cyrano (which had a decent haul with tech races) over Belfast and Macbeth.

Sound

Nominees: Dune, Last Night in Soho, No Time to Die, A Quiet Place Part II, West Side Story

How I Did: 4/5

Commentary: Place over Belfast. Expect Dune to reign supreme.

Special Visual Effects

Nominees: Dune, Free Guy, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Matrix Resurrections, No Time to Die

How I Did: 3/5

Commentary: Should be another victory for Dune as Free Guy and Ghostbusters made it over my selections of The King’s Man and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

And there’s your recap. As a reminder, my FINAL Oscar predictions (which I’m currently beating myself up over) will be posted tomorrow! Stay tuned…

2021 BAFTA Predictions

The last major precursor nominations before Tuesday’s Oscar nods come out tomorrow and it’s the British Academy Film Awards or BAFTAs. Let’s discuss them a bit, shall we? The BAFTAs can be a confusing branch to figure out.

For starters, the number of nominees in each category is a tad puzzling. Best Film has five as do the tech races and screenplay derbies. Director and the acting competitions contain 6 while Animated Film is 4. However, Documentary and “Film Not in the English Language” is 5. Got that?

While past years have matched the Oscars fairly closely in the big categories, 2020 was an exception. While 4 of the 5 Best Film contenders ended up nabbing BP mentions from the Academy, it was just 3 of the directors. For Best Actor, it was also 3 but in Best Actress only two. Same goes for Supporting – 3 in Actor, 2 in Actress.

In other words, projecting the BAFTAs is a major crapshoot but I’ll try. Since it’s British voters, titles such as the BBC’s After Love are expected to perform well in some of the major races.

Another major note – I am only forecasting competitions where there’s a direct correlation to the Academy. Therefore I’m not weighing in on Best British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer, or Casting.

For each race, I’ll give you my picks (and I triple checked the numbers) and an alternate. A recap on how I did and my general thoughts are up tomorrow and my final Oscar predictions will be up Friday!

Film

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Alternate: No Time to Die

Director

Predicted Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog 

Julia Ducournau, Titane

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car

Aleem Khan, After Love

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Alternate: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Leading Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World

Claire Rushbrook, Ali & Ava

Joanna Scanlan, After Love

Alternate: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Leading Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Adeel Akhtar, Ali & Ava

Daniel Craig, No Time to Die

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Stephen Graham, Boiling Point

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: Will Smith, King Richard

Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Ruth Negga, Passing

Alternate: Vinette Robinson, Boiling Point

Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

David Alvarez, West Side Story

Benicio del Toro, The French Dispatch

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

After Love

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

Drive My Car

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Alternate: The Tragedy of Macbeth

Animated Film

Predicted Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Ron’s Gone Wrong

Alternate: Luca

Film Not in the English Language

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

Petite Maman

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Alternate: The Hand of God

Documentary

Predicted Nominees:

Cow

Flee

The Rescue

The Sparks Brothers

The Velvet Underground

Alternate: Summer of Soul

Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: West Side Story

Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

House of Gucci

Last Night in Soho

West Side Story

Alternate: Cruella

Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

West Side Story

Alternate: The Power of the Dog

Makeup and Hair

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Altenrate: Last Night in Soho

Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

The Green Knight

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

Alternate: No Time to Die

Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Alternate: West Side Story

Sound

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

No Time to Die

West Side Story

Alternate: The Power of the Dog 

Special Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The King’s Man

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Alternate: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Murder Mystery Movie Review

Like the whodunnit paperbacks that Jennifer Aniston’s character reads to distract herself, Murder Mystery is a flimsy experience that you’ll quickly forget. It’s not bad while it lasts, but I wouldn’t count on retaining it. Adam Sandler and Aniston team up again after 2011’s middling Just Go with It and that title aptly describes this. Don’t expect much other than a few amusing moments from the cast and it’s probably best viewed in transit somewhere as a minor distraction.

Sandler is New York cop Nick, who yearns to be a detective but can’t pass the exam. Aniston is his hairdresser wife Audrey. They’ve been married 15 years and she’s bitter that Nick hasn’t made good on his long standing promise of a European vacation (Amazon gift card is more his speed). He finally acquiesces and on the ride over, Audrey befriends the dashing Charles (Luke Evans) who invite the couple to join his family on their luxury yacht.

Charles is nephew to Malcolm Quince (Terence Stamp), a mega billionaire who owns the vessel. He stole Charles’s young fiancée and their nuptials are imminent. Others on the boat are financially dependent on Malcolm, including his son (David Walliams), a Hollywood actress (Gemma Arterton), a Formula One driver (Luis Gerardo Mendez), and a hip hop influenced maharajah (Adeel Akhtar). When Malcolm is killed, Nick and Audrey find themselves aboard a plot akin to her throwaway books.

The body count rises as the head couple become the lead suspects. Nick must utilize his detective skills, which are most certainly not considerable. Murder Mystery is often as generic as its name. Sandler is in goofy nice guy mode while Aniston plays exasperated for an hour and a half. They do share a comfortable chemistry that helps as this moves along. Some of the supporting players momentarily rise above the material, including Arterton (her reaction to accusations of being the culprit is genuinely funny).

It’s not exactly high praise to say that this isn’t bad like some of Sandler’s other Netflix excursions. Mildly diverting is more apt. For a watch involving a flight or long train ride somewhere, Murder Mystery could fit the bill for Sandler and Aniston admirers if you decide to just go with it.

**1/2 (out of four)

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick is a pleasing combination of a romantic comedy that feels one part wholly original as it comes from the real life experiences of stand-up Kumail Nanjiani, essentially playing himself. The other part is not without imperfections and that could be called the Judd Apatow part, who produced it. Like Apatow’s best work, there’s plenty of heart, laughs, and observations about the comedy scene. Like even in his best work (and certainly his most middling pictures), it’s a bit too long and occasionally veers into semi-stale territory.

That said, Nanjiani’s creation takes you out of typical genre territory for most of its two-hour running time. Sick was written by its star and wife Emily V. Gordon and it takes a page out of their true life experiences. Pakistani comic Kumail Nanjiani portrays Pakistani comic Kumail Nanjiani, who’s struggling to make ends meet doing night gigs in Chicago while also driving an Uber. One night he’s pleasantly heckled on stage by Emily (Zoe Kazan) and the two hit it off post show. A one-night stand that transpires over several nights occurs – in the sense that they keep saying it’s the last one-night stand. She’s busy in grad school, he’s doing his career thing. Before they know it, they realize they’re in some sort of feeling resembling love yet they dare not say it.

Kumail can’t tell his family of his new whatever he and Emily call it. His background demands that he enter an arranged marriage with a girl of Pakistani ethnicity and his parents (especially Mom) bring a slew of such women to the dinner table every time Kumail comes to dinner. It’s this complication that soon ends the relationship.

The title comes into play when Emily is rushed to the hospital and put into a medically induced coma. Kumail is informed and he soon meets Emily’s folks (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter). Their knowledge of their daughter’s former relationship is the opposite of Kumail’s parents. They know everything and aren’t exactly warm to the idea of Kumail hanging around the ICU.

The Big Sick, more often than not, avoids many typical rom com cliches. Some of this is due to one of the leads not being available for a solid portion of the proceedings. This allows Kumail and Emily’s parents to develop a fascinating dynamic. Veteran performers Hunter and Romano make the best of their parts and their marriage is an interesting one in itself. The screenplay is refreshingly honest in a way that few in the genre manage to be. Kumail is far from perfect in how he handles situations, but not in an overly broad silly way. He’s trying and it’s not easy to balance his cultural leanings and his feelings for Emily. Kazan is charming and vulnerable as Emily, as she slowly realizes the difficulties involved with dating Kumail.

We get a little bit of exploring the stand-up comedy scene as Kumail is trying to land a sought after spot at the Montreal Comedy Festival. There’s nothing terribly new about that aspect of the script (Apatow covered it well in Funny People), but Nanjiani is certainly familiar with it. And that’s what really puts The Big Sick in satisfying territory. Nanjiani and his spouse write what they know – each other. And you root for them to work it all out.

*** (out of four)