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5 Whispers From BAFTA

Living in the UK I get to see the British Academy of Film and Television Awards live on television. Wrong. While the awards show kicks off at 7pm British time, we here sitting comfortably at home in the UK have to wait until 9pm for the ceremony to be aired on BBC One. That’s right, the BBC. The British Broadcast Corporation, hold off for two hours before we get to see the show. And edited too, so we don’t get to see some of the lesser considered categories like Visual Effects or Editing until right at the end in a lame-ass montage that is so visually ineffective, it does indeed need to be improved in its editing. I suspect the two hour pause is so they can fuck about with the flow of the bastard thing, and also so they can cut out any profanity that might spill out (oh you Brits) like “fuck about” or “bastard thing” for instance. This also means I have to stay the fuck off the internet for one hundred and twenty minutes. That is a long time, that is a lot of tweets I am not reading on my feed. Ah, what the hell, it is after 9pm right now and I am watching the show live. Oops, forgot, not live, I am seemingly lagging behind.

The nominee list for Best British Film, also known as Making Sure A British Film Wins, was one of the best in years, which included the likes of Ex Machina, Brooklyn, Amy, 45 Years, The Lobster – oh that’s all of them. Wow. Brooklyn won of course, a worthy winner indeed. I’m not going to cover the Visual Effects award announcement too much as it puts to bed my earlier example of those categories they shove at the end. I am not going back now, I’ve lost two hours already. Anyway, well played Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A pretty obvious choice, reminding how head-scratching it was to hear pundits and experts now touting it for Oscar following its VES win recently. Excuse me, it was obvious before that. Didn’t see Daisy Ridley in the audience (or the poorly edited 2 minute red carpet segment), by the time I publish this I will have no doubt scouted the internet for red carpet pictures and found she was not there. But let’s keep this authentic. I knew John Boyega would win the Rising Star award too, they cut to him in the audience about three times in the opening segment. So, does that count as another win for Star Wars?
As Inside Out wins Animated Feature my wife, my amazing, generous, adorable wife, brings me over a bowl of spiralized fried parsnips and carrots with a glass of Pinotage Shiraz. Happy Valentines and BAFTAS, she says. Wow. I am suddenly transferred to heaven. The writing stops. I munch. In the meantime, here are five things to take from the BAFTA shenanigans:
Freedom of Speech
Stephen Fry tried his damnedest to entertain his audience, and as funny and charming as he always is, once again I couldn’t help feeling he let his nerves get the better of him on a couple of occasions. That said, so beloved and well respected he is, there is a reason why he is asked to host the ceremony year after year. Great job, sir. Although much of his material was relevant, he only skimmed the surface of some of the big talking points in the movie world – the modernizing of Trumbo as Trumpo for example. It was the Aussie actress Rebel Wilson that provided me the biggest laughs. She claimed she had never been invited to a serious show like the Oscars as they are racists. And spoke openly about her love for Idris Elba, that he made her nervous, and that she could not resist chocolate on Valentines Day. Wilson said she was happy to congratulate the winner of the five men, and looking forward to consoling the four losers. Over to you, Chris Rock.
Support For Mark Rylance
I love that Mark Rylance was not available to accept his award for the Best Supporting Actor, but Steven Spielberg was. Considered something of a surprise here, or at least I definitely heard the internet gasp, Rylance has been on the awards circuit the whole time. From the very beginning. He is in my view still a big favorite for the Oscar by the way, movie-talkers seem to have forgotten that amidst the Stallone buzz and Elba snub, and now this BAFTA win, he is up close and personal to that victory. Let’s see. There’s no Paul Dano, Idris Elba, Michael Shannon, Jacob Tremblay, Michael Keaton to compete with Rylance. If Stallone is a done deal then this speculation will be out-dated in two weeks time. I still say look out for Christian Bale and in particular Mark Ruffalo for further indicators as to where votes may have been spread for Best Picture, preferentially of course.

Support For Kate Winslet
It’s was a real possibility even before the BAFTA ceremony opened its doors that while all the squabbling over Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara and category fraud was going on, Kate Winslet was being check-boxed as the actual winner of Supporting Actress. For a role that is also essentially a lead performance. I do find the Leo and Kate winning on the same night a little bit redundant as a reason why Academy members would award Winslet here – as sweet as that would be – but that stuff that stick. The guilt of omitting the film Steve Jobs itself must play a part in voters minds – in particular that Adapted Screenplay snub for Aaron Sorkin. Not to mention that they are simply unable to give Michael Fassbender the Best Actor award. Not here, the Oscars, or anywhere it seems. Winslet in her own right though is just terrific in Steve Jobs. Now with the BAFTA as well as the Golden Globe behind her it is going to be rather tough to vote against her. 
The Revenant Dominates
With DiCaprio having the Best Actor Oscar in the bag for months now, The Revenant has also been one of the most talked about film experiences – even well before its actual release. Receiving the most Oscar nominations last month, and now adding Sound awards at the BAFTAs to the much more predictable Cinematography, Actor, as well as Director and Film. Who knows what else could happen. There is now precedent for Mad Max: Fury Road getting left in the cold somewhat (bloody hope not), and we could be on for The Revenant domination. With Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams, you can’t help but wonder where the fuck the Academy where back then, Alejandro González Iñárritu though is getting some unjustified hate (or rather grumbles) for this potential double, history-making achievement. The whole diversity theme, as well as the DGA win, make it near impossible to predict others standing in its way.
No Surprises After All
So with The Revenant looking very strong for the big two of Best Picture and Best Director, and obviously Leo taking Best Actor, this once unpredictable, most exciting in years, awards race has finally wilted a little. Brie Larson looks unstoppable too. The Supporting categories may still not quite be settled, but both Screenplay winners most definitely are – especially following BAFTA and WGA telling us what we already knew. Mad Max and The Revenant could well take the lion’s share of the techs, Inside Out for Animated, Amy for Documentary. With Mustang and Son of Saul not released in the UK in time they did not feature here, but it has looked like the latter for months. Seems like we may be looking for the producers of the Oscar telecast to bring something fresh and original to the proceedings, now the unknown bubble may have finally burst. But no magic tricks or songs about boobs please.

What else did BAFTA tell us? Feel free to comment below.



  1. Asif Khan Asif Khan February 15, 2016

    You pretty much said it all really. Everything I would have written in my bafta post but didn't. Except your own bafta viewing experience of course. ☺

  2. Fullmoon9990 Fullmoon9990 February 15, 2016

    I feel your pain my friend.
    How annoying it can be, to have this show edited and pasteurized. For any movie goer, but more for you, a lover of the art, it is extremely frustrating.

    Any way…

    I was expecting more from Bafta, but lately it seems to be more a branch of the American industrial show than from a British independent industry.

    As always, you are a master with the words. We almost can picture you and your frustrated experience.

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