BAFTA Awards: What 'Artist', Dujardin, Streep Wins Mean For Oscar – Hammond

If there was any question before today’s British Academy Film Awards that The Artist was the film to beat for the Oscars, the results in London just cemented it, and in an impressive sweep that portends big things. It wasn’t just the expected awards for Picture, Director, Music Score, Costumes. It was also another Best Actor notch in Jean Dujardin’s belt following his all-important SAG win two weeks ago. It also scored less obvious BAFTA trophies  for its black and white Cinematography and most surprisingly for director Michel Hazanavicius’ Original Screenplay, a category widely predicted to go to Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris. A writing award for a screenplay of a essentially dialogue-less movie surprised even Hazanavicius who has told me he expects to lose in this category to his idol, Allen.  It just goes to show the amount of love this film has gotten, not only from critics but the industry where it has also won key PGA and DGA honors. BAFTA, like those groups has a large crossover of Academy members. As much as one sixth of the entire Academy voting bloc are also members of BAFTA.

Last year’s BAFTA winners for Picture , Actor and Actress (The King’s Speech’s Colin Firth and Black Swan’s Natalie Portman) all repeated at the Oscars although oddly Social Network’s David Fincher beat hometown boy Tom Hooper in the directing contest while King’s Speech co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter took Supporting awards only to lose to The Fighter’s Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (she wasn’t even nominated for a BAFTA) at the Oscars. Two years ago Oscar fave The Hurt Locker took the BAFTA Best Picture and directing award but local favorites Firth (A Single Man) and Carey Mulligan (An Education) grabbed the lead acting awards while corresponding Oscars went to Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock.

So even with the Academy voter crossover the correlation isn’t perfect but it is significant, and it can change the dynamics of the race.  In 2007 after losing in previous matchups both Lead Actress Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) and Supporting Actress Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) got their first significant wins late in the awards season game at BAFTA and rode those victories straight to upset wins at the Oscars.  And like Dujardin seems to be doing this year,  Roberto Begnini in 1998 took SAG/BAFTA victories to a somewhat surprising (at the time) Best Actor Oscar win for Life Is Beautiful. And while BAFTA is the last pre-Oscar test for his category mates Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Gary Oldman, Dujardin can lock up yet another win on February 24 at the French Cesar awards giving him a quartet of major victories (SAG, BAFTA, Cesar, Golden Globe) before walking into the Kodak on the 26th.  While Clooney seemed to be ruling the Best Actor race early on, all momentum has now shifted to Dujardin who also is winning charm points from a recent Jay Leno appearance, a hilarious Funny or Die video  and last night’s surprise dancing turn on Saturday Night Live. He’s on a roll, peaking at just the right moment and part of a movie juggernaut that appears to be coasting to Best Picture. The stars are aligned , folks.

On the other hand the Best Actress race is starting to turn into something resembling the Republican primary. It’s become a real knock down-drag out battle between BAFTA, Golden Globe and New York Film Critics winner Meryl Streep vs The Help’s  Viola Davis who beat Streep head on at the Critics Choice Movie Awards and SAG. I suppose Streep held a bit of an advantage at BAFTA since she played ‘The Iron Lady’, an iconic ,if controversial , British figure in Margaret Thatcher. But it was no slam dunk as there was some question as to how the Brit contingent would welcome this American superstar playing one of their own. It didn’t seem to hurt. In fact during a Q&A I moderated last week with Streep an audience member asked if it might be more appropiate for an English actress to have been cast as Thatcher. Streep laughed and didn’t miss a beat by replying, “We all bring something very specific (to a role). I brought a lot of New Jersey to Margaret Thatcher”.

And now both Streep and Davis head to Oscars with no clear outright momentum in their seesaw battle at  the precursor awards. Hard to say and should they split the vote, could a third contender, My Week With Marilyn’s  Michelle Williams sneak in for the upset? Stranger things have happened and I have talked to numerous voters who told me they voted for Williams. Incidentally this is only Streep’s second BAFTA win ever. Of 14 previous nominations she last won 30 years ago for The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

The BAFTA supporting winners Christopher Plummer (Beginners)  and Octavia Spencer (The Help) continue their winning ways without a stumble and these BAFTA wins pretty much guarantee they will be repeating in the same categories at the Oscars, no suspense here folks.

Among chief Best Picture rivals of The Artist , the BAFTA results were downright discouraging.  Hugo, which wasn’t even nominated for Best Film but did get 9 nods won only two for Sound and Production Design. Still that was a better showing that either Moneyball, The Descendants and Midnight In Paris which all went home empty handed. Ouch.  The Help took only Spencer’s Supporting award. This was a trouncing by The Artist of such proportions that Adapted Screenplay winner Peter Straughn (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) said upon accepting, “I’d just like to thank The Artist for not being adapted from a book”.

There is a little bit of good news on the horizon for competitors of The Artist. In the WGA awards , the last major Guild awards show of the season next Sunday, The Artist isn’t nominated due to its ineligibility since it wasn’t produced under Writers Guild auspices. But other than that  it appears the improbable contender, a French produced black and white silent film that has made less at the box office to date than all of its major competition, is looking like it just can’t lose.

Harvey Weinstein strikes again.

  1. I hated The Artist”…if I had been home I would have turned if off or fell asleep.
    Almost every year they give best to something silly or boring.
    Last year they actually chose the best movie.
    bah..why spend such large sums of money to go out when you can stay in….

      1. Have to agree with you wholeheartedly Terrence.

        The fact that the film makers and deep pockets supporting this warmth emitting film, bit the proverbial bullet on this possibly – ‘high risk’ project – where clever mime and expressive faces told a wonderful ‘feel-good’ story, that’s tried and true, is worthy of a prize in itself.

        BAFTA did follow suit and OSCAR probably will also. The reason is clear, if not to only a few.

        On another note:The host of this years BAFTA awards was none other than the erudite Stephen Fry who dished up a potpourri of magnificent, satirical delights for us all to linger on. A truly sumptuous buffet of an assortment of cleverly designed, witty and articulated morsels to feast upon throughout the evening.

        Entertainment minus the decidedly low blows. Take note Mr Gervais!

    1. Hated it ?? You’re kidding. As to ‘deep pockets’. Whose? Harvey Weinstein? You mean Weinstein even sways the British? And the New York Film Critiques? Wow !! He should be president of the United States if he has that kind of clout.

  2. Charm points for an appearance on Jay Leno? Sorry, anyone with the poor sense to appear on Leno loses big points. Here’s hoping enough Academy members feel the same way.

    1. Well, if being on Leno is a negative then they’d have to cancel the Oscars outright, since EVERYONE has been on Leno at one time or another.

  3. Thrilled to see THE ARTIST picking up major screenwriting awards; hopefully it can be lesson to those in industry who don’t know any better — l** cough Jessica Alba ** — who for some mystifying reason think screenwriting is little more than writing dialogue.

    Sure, dialogue is a big PART of screenwriting and writing great dialogue is hard; but guess what, creative entire visual worlds from scratch and creating layered and interesting characters that audiences invest themselves in and crafting rich and surprising and compelling STORY is also hard and has nothing to do with clever words coming out of actors’ mouths.

  4. The significance of The Artist holds as much importance to the history of film as say a win by The Greatest Show on Earth, Best Picture of 1952, which most audiences never heard of and the same will be said about The Artist given enough time. Brando had it right by not attending the awards particularly when you have a guy like Harvey Weinstein (a tip to the cap for his love of movies) manipulating the system and running some of the shrewdist award campaigns over the last three decades and taking, in this instance, a slight film, which cribs its storyline from A Star is Born and the life of actor John Gilbert, and making it important. But what the hell it wasn’t crammed to the gills with CGI effects. That means something, doesn’t it? So carry on Hollywood and let the drumroll begin. In the interim, more popcorn,anyone?

  5. Since Meryl Streep and Viola Davis are so ridiculously neck and neck, that I can’t even tell now which one is the frontrunner and which one is the damnclose runner-up, I have been considering a potential ‘lucky third’ scenario for a while, as well, but now that you wrote that Michelle Williams DOES get votes even with all the Streep/Davis talk, I’m starting to think it might turn out to be more realistic in the end, than I thought.

  6. How can anyone really hate THE ARTIST unless they are a shill for one of its competitors!? It simply is the BEST of the year… Fun while you watch it and the good time stays with you long after seeing it. A love letter to anyone who loves movies!!!

    1. I agree. How can anyone ‘hate’ that movie? Iv’e seen it twice ( tonight will be my 3rd time) and each time the audience applauded at the end. Dujardin is terrific.

  7. I couldnt agree more– to reward the artist is ridiculous. I can accept the kings speech winning over the social network but honestly does the academy really prefer simplistic movies over complex ones? This is the third year in a row if the overly simplistic and boring artist wins, that the academy will choose this way. It makes you wonder if the academy is truly watching all the movies, which should push the academy to move the show to march not earlier.

    1. Whoa. Wait a minute.

      You “can accept the kings speech winning over the social network”….. “the academy really prefer simplistic movies over complex ones”….. but The Artist getting the BP nod “is ridiculous”…. but Kings Speech is “acceptable”….

      There’s something skewered and illogical about this posting….

  8. The awards season is now almost half the year. Soon they will be making movies for just one month and awarding themselves the other 11.

  9. If there is such a strong correlation why did the very deserving drive gets nods for picture, director and supporting actress but got snubbed from Oscar nods. Why is there correlation anyways– there are a lot of britains voting for the american academy awards?

  10. Well and guess I’m officially ready to skip Oscars. We know all the winners. Spencer and Plummer for Best Supporting actors. Dujardin for Best actor, Artist for best picture. And it’s only unknown for for Beast actress. And I’m not ready to sit for 4 boring hours and listen to unfanny and stupid jokes of host to find out if they will give it to Maryl Streep. Oscars will probably have lowest rating ever.

    I’m so tired when they are giving all the awards to same people in one season. And by the time Oscars come – everybody knows the winners. They really need to push Oscars early. But one the other hand no one will be interested in other awards. The only solution is if they will stop choosing one actor and one film and give all awards to them.

  11. Don’t know how much impact the Meryl thing will have on Oscars. She was playing the most famous female Briton in history. Viola was playing a black American maid. Not a shocker Streep won in the UK. And besides, didn’t Sean Penn lose BAFTA the two years that he won the Oscar? Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t. The cultures are different.

      1. Is that so?? Then why didn’t BAFTA give more awards to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy?? It got only one award. Instead they gave ( horrors !!) a FRENCH movie seven awards. I think you need to revisit the facts.

  12. I really really hope that The artist doesn’t win the oscar for original screenplay the story was pretty thin in my opinion, I feel like the artist will be a Crash type of winner in that people will son realize that it was mostly hype.

  13. I was able to watch 10 minutes of The Artist this weekend. I don’t care how many awards it wins/buys. It was boring. It was silent.

    And I’m not a Transformers/Avatar/blow shit up guy. I can’t watch that crap. I like A MOVIE. So if someone with my tastes can not sit through The Artist that is something.

    1. Sorry but Artist is a great picture. You had to sit more then 10 minutes. It is a little boring the first minutes. But then it gets interesting.

    2. As soon as the you used “it was silent” as a negative you’re words stopped having any meaning to me…..

  14. Why do voters of these organizations fall so in line with Weinstein? The Artist was a nice little film but nothing that should be sweeping. The Iron Lady was not a good movie at all.

    If it’s down to Streep vs Davis I can think of 100 reasons Davis should win. I cannot believe it’s even close. Davis got probably 1 halfway decent film role offered to her this year and she knocked it out of the park and her film was the only Best Picture contender that made any sort of connection with audiences (grossed 170 million). The Iron Lady was a bad movie period and audiences have ignored it. How interesting they pass over Streep in recent years for Kate Winslet playing a Nazi sympathizing child pedophile and Sandra Bullock’s forgettable movie(but also made money) but all of a sudden it’s Streep vs a black woman who audiences fell in lvoe with and your torn as to who to vote for? Interesting.

  15. Do the people pushing the Michelle Williams may slip in due to split votes realize that

    A.) There is no such thing as vote splitting (IE. Melissa Leo/Amy Adams). I could easily argue that Streep and Williams will draw more similar types of voters. You know the types that vote to give Oscars to baity forgettable biopic performances in films no one have seen distributed by Harvey Weinstein.

    B.) Harvey Weinstein threw Michelle under the Harvey express by going on Team Iron Lady/Streep 100% even though he distributes Williams film as well. They sent out screeners of Iron Lady to the entire SAG membership but not My Week with Marilyn. How’s that ethical?

  16. I am now convinced that the Academy Awards voters just look at who has won in the earlier contests and mark their ballots accordingly. That way they don’t have to actually watch the moives. Very simple process. Explains alot of awards the past few years.

  17. MIDNIGHT IN PARIS did not do well in the UK. It had only one nomination in screenplay, but still you keep hyping this as an upset so you can keep promoting the overrated THE ARTIST as if it was a surprise. Keep licking Harvey’s ass DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD.

    1. I’ve watched the Oscars for a long time and I can honestly say that they do a pretty good job in their awards. I don’t agree with all of them, but who does? But when it comes down to analyzing their selections, they’re understandable. They pass the logic test. I always laugh when I hear people slam the Oscars for awarding blockbuster movies ( Titanic, with its sappy script and one dimensional characters) and ignoring small movies. But then when they award to small movies, they’re slammed for ignoring movies people go to see. You can’t win this battle folks.

  18. Davis takes it! This is just like last year when Annette Bening and Natalie Portman were front runners and everyone was running around saying “But I hear a lot of members are voting for Nicole Kidman.” Upset never happened!

    I’m not a member of the Academy, but any given year, I never feel that people are eager to give Meryl Streep another Oscar. “She NEEDS at third one!” Well, there are a lot of great actors out there who don’t even have one. And most of the movies she’s been in recently are BAD. Maybe if she gets in a project that people actually like and gives one of her A+ performances then people will award her.

    Sometimes it feels like when you were in high school and the teacher gave you the option of doing the easy, medium and hard math problems. (I recognize that this is reductive), but Meryl has been given “easy” projects as of late, so no one really cares. They are designed to have her score an A+. But there are actors out there, who may not be the acting geniuses that Ms. Streep is, but they are attempting the harder problems (roles, projects) and doing B+ to A work. I would vote for those actors any day of the week.

  19. One of the key moments for me watching the BAFTAs last night was the tumbleweed moment when the producer of The Artist accepting the award for Best Picture gave a shout out to Harvey Weinstein that I think he thought would be followed by a clapping sound from the audience…..nothing…a few coughs….cue an embarrassed producer saying something along the lines of “well we love him anyway” before walking off stage. Harvey wasn’t shown the love by the BAFTA audience last night for some reason!

  20. If ‘The Artist’ had been released in 1953, just a year after Singin in the Rain, or even 1960, it would be forgotten today as a largely throwaway novelty in the shadow of its peers.

    Only in 2012 can a completely averagely-written homage with such paper-thin characterizations be stretched out to 90+ humorless minutes, and still have people call it genius.

    There’s a reason we still don’t make films in this arcane style. That’s because we’ve found better ways of talking to each other cinematically.

    1. You’re incapable of understanding this, but your posting is the complete tipoff of why you don’t get why The Artist is getting all the love from the critics and the guild voters.

  21. Of course the guys in the low slung jeans who can hardly string two words together will hate The Artist. I’d be nervous about my own taste in movies if they didn’t.
    As a somewhat jaded BAFTA voter, sick to death with CGI, teen gross-out movies and sundry exploitative actioners aimed mostly at the teen market, The Artist has come as a breath of much needed fresh air, with its joyous optimism and great dance sequences. Everyone involved is at the top of their game and Jean Dujardin’s clever and witty performance as Valentin just boots all the tired old competition into has-been category. The Artist well deserved its 7 BAFTAs, plus numerous other awards. I am not the only voter/critic who has seen this film several times, unheard of. Also a first is listening often to Ludovic Bource’s beautiful music, which matches the era of 1920s Hollywood perfectly, but is subtly updated.
    I suspect the reason The Artist is also not breaking all box office records is that the cinema chains are jittery about distributing
    The Artist everywhere. Even the title smacks of art house.
    This state of affairs will change now that the ballyhoo of the BAFTA awards to The Artist has woken them up to the potential goldmine that has got to be fully released.
    Perhaps Jean Dujardin should do more of his great dance routine on TV, preferably with his beautiful dancing partner Berenice Bejo.
    Let’s hope they’ll do a turn at the Oscars,dressed of course in their film outfits. Get the tash back Jean!
    C’est formidable!

    1. Patsy, I largely agree with you. The Artist is daring simply because no one would imagine that rewinding the clock, so to speak, would work any longer. But we would be wrong. It works because of the sympathetic performances of the the main actors. Funny how negative reviewers ( though there are not many) of this film will attack it on the grounds of it being a contrived tear jerker, yet at the same time heap praise on some typical Hollywood movie of disfunctional families full of foul mouthed kids that come out ok in the end.

  22. Once again the Documentary Branch of the Academy proves that it blew its 2012 nomination process. “Senna” wins 2 BAFTA’s yet never made the Academy’s “Documentary” Branch’s cut. Another Epic Fail for this “doesn’t have a clue” Branch!

  23. Face it, both Streep & Davis give great performances. However, Streep is the true lead in her movie & does a wonderful job.

    Davis is a fine actor, yet she was a supporting player… until the PR dept. wanted to push Spencer in supporting & Davis was made lead. Before the movie opened it was all about Emma Stone leading the cast, that was until the movie company figured she didn’t have a shot at a nom. w/ all the great female roles this year.

    Plus, look at the screen time for all the players & I’m sure Steep is on top… and should be in that position! Meryl was AMAZING in her movie – it is time ofr her to win (again)!

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