BAFTA Snubs and Surprises Shake Up Oscar Race

The British Academy Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards announced their nominations on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Many of the films that have established themselves as serious contenders in this awards season were among them. However, there were also some films that were not eligible simply because they did not have a UK theatrical release within the deadline.

While many American films usually make the cut, the BAFTAs are prone to nominating within house. This year was no exception. The inclusion of many British nominees who have not competed in the awards season in America have shaken up the Oscar race.

BAFTA gives two top awards: Best Film and Outstanding British Film. This year, only dramas earned nominations the first category—“Call Me by Your Name,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Noticeably absent from this list were comedies—“Lady Bird,” “I, Tonya” and “The Big Sick”—and the horror film “Get Out.”

The nominees for Outstanding British Film span across genres. The British films “Darkest Hour,” “The Death of Stalin,” “God’s Own Country,” “Lady Macbeth,” “Paddington 2,” and ”Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” all compete for the honor.

Annette Bening (“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”) burst into the Best Actress alongside predicted Oscar nominees Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”), Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”), and Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”).

For Best Actor, expected nominees Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”), and Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) made it while James Franco (“The Disaster Artist”) was snubbed. Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”) gained momentum by scoring a nomination while Jamie Bell (“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”) also entered the race.

Kristin Scott Thomas (“Darkest Hour”) and Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) join Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”), and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”) in the Best Supporting Actress competition.

In the Best Supporting Actor category, Hugh Grant (“Paddington 2”) got a surprise nomination for a role in a sequel to a children’s film. Christopher Plummer (“All the Money in the World”), Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), and Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”) continue to gain momentum. Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) will go head to head with co-star Rockwell, hopefully not canceling each other out.

Denis Villeneuve (“Blade Runner 2049”) surprisingly joined Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me by Your Name”), Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”), Guillermo Del Toro (“The Shape of Water”), and Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) for Best director. BAFTA’s exclusion of female directors, such as Greta Gerwig and Patty Jenkins, received a lot of backlash.

For Best Original Screenplay, BAFTA followed suit in what other awards have nominated: “Get Out,” “I, Tonya,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The scripts for “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Death of Stalin.” “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” “Molly’s Game,” “Paddington 2” will all compete for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Other categories that honor films as a whole do so in the foreign, documentary, and animated genres. The non-English language films are “Elle,” “First They Killed My Father,” “The Handmaiden,” “Loveless,” and “The Salesman.” In the documentary category, BAFTA nominated “City of Ghosts,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “Icarus,” “An Inconvenient Sequel,” and “Jane.”

Only three films made the cut for Best Animated Film: “Coco,” “Loving Vincent,” and “My Life as a Courgette.”

In addition, each year BAFTA gives out an award voted on by the public. Known as the EE Rising Star award, the public votes for the young actor or actress they feel will have a promising career. Last year, Spider-Man Star Tome Holland won the honor. The nominees this year are Daniel Kaluuya, Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Tessa Thompson and Timothée Chalamet.

Although this is only the beginning of the season, it seems too late for many British films to fully break into the Oscar race. However, the Academy is known to make a few surprise nominations themselves. The voting process for Oscar nominations has already begun, and nominations will be announced on January 23. Perhaps the BAFTA nominations are just in time to make a dent.

The 71st Annual BAFTAs will be held on February 18.

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