The British Go Wild For Joker

On a packed awards precursors day that included DGA and PGA announcements, our compadres overseas put out their nominations as well. The British Academy Film Awards (or BAFTAs) went wild for Joker, which led all contenders with 11 nods. The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood were close behind with 10 and 1917 achieved 9.

The BAFTAs are an often decent harbinger of what follows at the Oscars. In the acting races, they’re often good for 3 or 4 of the eventual contenders stateside. Let’s take a look at the top six races with a little analysis.

Best Picture

The Nominees: 1917, The Irishman, Joker, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite 

No real surprises here. If anything, this is another sign that Marriage Story isn’t a real contender to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Yet that’s kind of been the general consensus for a little while.

Best Director

The Nominees: Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite), Sam Mendes (1917), Todd Phillips (Joker), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

A 5 for 5 match with Picture. Other than Phillips, the other four were pretty much automatic nominees. Phillips gets the slot over Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), and today’s surprise DGA player Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit).

Best Actor

The Nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Taron Egerton (Rocketman), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

The ultra competitive Best Actor derby continues. Phoenix has to be considered the favorite after his Golden Globes victory and Joker leading the way with nods. It’s another good showing for Egerton after his Globes podium walk. Pryce gets in over Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) and Robert De Niro in The Irishman. The latter’s exclusion should be noted. De Niro didn’t get a Globe, SAG, or BAFTA nod. For those picking him to get recognition from the Academy, actors left out of all three very rarely make the cut.

Best Actress

The Nominees: Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Saoirse Ronan (Little Women), Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Buckley being named is a genuine surprise. She’s not really on the Oscar radar screen at all. She gets in over Cynthia Erivo in Harriet or Awkwafina for The Farewell. Those snubs, among others, got the BAFTAs trending today as no performers of color were nominated.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees: Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Al Pacino (The Irishman), Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Nothing much to speculate about here. This is the same Supporting Actor list as the Globes and could easily be the Academy’s five. In all cases, Pitt is the front runner.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Florence Pugh (Little Women), Margot Robbie (Bombshell), Margot Robbie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Johansson is a double nominee in lead and supporting once again. That’s not unexpected. On the other hand, the double nod of Robbie in this category very much is. She’s expected to be recognized for Bombshell, but not Hollywood. This comes at the expense of Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, who’s generally seen as second in line behind favorite Dern.

Some other quick notes:

  • It was a bad day for The Farewell. Snubs in the acting races weren’t all that surprising. Being left off Original Screenplay is.
  • Ford v Ferrari had a poor showing with one nod for Editing (no Sound or Score… where it could contend for Oscars).

And that wraps up a busy day of Oscar precursor coverage! You can expect my final predictions on what the Academy will do on Monday by Friday or Saturday…

Oscar Watch: Downton Abbey

Fans of the British period piece series Downton Abbey, which aired stateside on PBS, will get their fix nearly four years after its conclusion with a film version. Written by its creator Julian Fellowes, Abbey picks up shortly after the events of the series finale with many cast members (Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and more) returning to their roles.

The show was no stranger to major awards attention, including Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAGs, and dozens of Emmy nods. Could that TV love translate to Oscar voters noticing the cinematic rendering?

Probably not in major categories. Abbey has a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 80% and while reviews are solid, I don’t see this getting attention in Picture or the acting derbies. On the other hand, Production Design and especially Costume Design could be doable. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The British Are Picking! A BAFTA Recap

Our British friends had their version of the Oscars today with the BAFTA Awards. The ceremony has a checkered history with its American counterpart in matching wins, particularly with Best Picture.

In this decade, the BAFTA and Oscar victor for the top prize matched from 2010-2013. However, the shows have honored different recipients for the last four years. The Picture winner tonight is Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexican drama Roma. Given the recent BAFTA history, perhaps that isn’t a great sign for its Academy prospects. Yet it’s performed extremely well with other precursors and likely remains the front-runner for that other awards program in two weeks. Cuarón also took Best Director and the BAFTA/Oscar for that race has lined up for the previous four years.

Rami Malek won Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody and that could have him sitting well for Oscar as the BAFTA winner has matched Oscar seven out of eight years this decade. I give him an edge over Christian Bale in Vice.

That seven for eight statistic also applies to Best Actress and things got a little interesting today as Olivia Colman (The Favourite) took the trophy instead of Glenn Close (The Wife) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born). I still think Close is the Academy’s favorite, but Colman is making a potential run.

The supporting races furthered a strong front-runner and gave another a first win. Mahershala Ali (Green Book) has made it a clean sweep in Supporting Actor in the precursors and he’s the heavy expected Oscar winner. For Supporting Actress, Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) wasn’t nominated here, but remains a slight favorite two Sunday’s from now. BAFTA’s favorite, however, was from The Favourite and it was Rachel Weisz picking up her first significant trophy.

Keep an eye on the blog for my final predictions for the Oscars!