BAFTA Shakes Up The Race, But Everything Still In Play As Oscar's Moment Of Truth Nears

Breathing a sigh of relief once again Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave pulled out another squeaker at the BAFTA Awards just as it did at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and the Producers Guild (where it tied Gravity). Going into the BAFTAs  with ten nominations  and favored status, as it was directed by Brit Steve McQueen and starred Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor,ee bafta it looked like a total shutout losing award after award and going 0 for 7 (including surprising losses for Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor) but finally BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-AWARDS-BAFTAgetting on the board with Ejiofor’s Best Actor win and then pulling off Best Film shortly after in a ceremony that reflected the kinds of splits we have seen all season. At the Globes you may recall it went 0 for 6 before nabbing Best Drama Picture at the end of the evening. Somehow McQueen winds up on stage at the end of all these shows making an acceptance speech and that’s what counts.

Related: BAFTA Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Wins Best Film But ‘Gravity’ Carries Most Weight With Six Total Nods; Chiwetel Ejiofor & Cate Blanchett Take Actor Wins; ‘American Hustle’ Scores 3 Including For Jennifer Lawrence

BAFTA Awards 2014This is an unusual year to say the least and the BAFTA win for 12 Years A Slave where it helps the most gives it bragging rights as Oscar voting is getting underway this weekend. But these kinds of narrow victories might be a little tension-headache inducing for Searchlight as it now heads to the Oscars in the tightest race in years. Slave was expected to do much better here than it did overall. The results indicate voting was all over the map.  BAFTA is important as there may be as many as 500 members that it shares in common with the motion picture Academy. The outcome really did nothing to add more clarity or certainty in a see-sawing Best Picture Oscar race with Gravity’s six BAFTA wins including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron and Outstanding British Film keeping it in strong contention.  Perhaps BAFTA voters thought they could offer up their own PGA-style split by giving these two films their own producing prize? Who knows?   Here’s the good news for Slave . The BAFTA Best Film winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture for the past five years a row. However in the four previous years before that streak it failed to match Oscar’s top winner, so into  which camp will Slave fall? Again, who knows? Makes things exciting though.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - VIP ArrivalsBAFTA did offer up a few surprises along the way as well in other categories. An absent Jennifer Lawrence won  Best Supporting Actress for American Hustle repeating her Globe win at a time when Slave’s SAG and CCMA winner Lupita Nyong’o  seemed to be gaining all the momentum,  but Nyong’o was stopped here twice. She also lost the Rising Star Award to Will Poulter, the kid from We’re The Millers. Ouch!  It seems to me the BAFTA win puts this race back into play. Potential Oscar spoiler 84 year old June Squibb of Nebraska wasn’t nominated here by the way.   Hustle did well overall taking Original Screenplay and Make Up & Hair too to nicely rebound from its key Guild shutouts. It still has a long way to go to jump ahead of Slave and Gravity but the Academy’s preferential voting system could help it, and I am hearing some good buzz from voters.  It should be noted that Spike Jonze’s Her which took Original Screenplay over Hustle at the Globes, CCMA and WGA was not in contention at BAFTA but will be at the Oscars. The same is true for Ejiofor’s Best Actor win and Captain Phillips’ Barkhad Abdi’s upset Supporting Actor BAFTA wins as  Globe, CCMA and SAG winners Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were not invited to this particular party. Dallas Buyers Club (which just finally opened in England) got no nominations despite being eligible. That’s likely due to the film’s invisible profile in the country.  BAFTA was a great opportunity for McConaughey’s chief Best Actor rival Leonardo DiCaprio to grab a winning headline at this key moment but the Brits stayed with one of their own in Ejiofor who finally got on the board with a major award.  DiCaprio’s Wolf Of Wall Street was not  a Best Film nominee and was completely passed by in the four categories in which it did compete.

Another surprise was the victory of Philomena over John Ridley’s 12 Years A Slave as Best Adapted Screenplay.  British favored sons Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope are  previous BAFTA winners on the TV side so perhaps their emergence here with Philomena’s only win out of four nods could not be classified as the kind of big surprise it would be if they can repeat this feat at the Oscars against Slave or WGA winner Captain Phillips (which had the advantage of not having to compete with either as they weren’t eligible at WGA).

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Winners RoomNo surprise at all was the Best Actress win for Cate Blanchett who has this race locked. The Great Beauty in Foreign Film and Frozen for Animated Feature can chalk up another impressive win, after several in other contests. I also would imagine we will likely see Catherine Martin’s BAFTA wins for Production Design and Costume Design for The Great Gatsby repeated on March 2nd too. And though we won’t see Rush‘s surprise win for Best Film Editing at the Oscars (due to the Ron Howard movie’s completely unfair shutout in the nominations) it was very nice to see the Formula 1 racing drama get something major this season.

As the last major stop before the Oscars two weeks from today, BAFTA hasn’t solved anything except to keep the big question open: Who is going to come out on top? No one can really say with any certainty.

  1. My prediction: 12 Years will be shut out at the Oscars just like The Color Purple was shut out (even though they had 12 nominations).

  2. what are the criteria to be nominated? That’s kind of strange that Dallas buyers club got zerowhen those two actors have been winning everything. Do you think the Oscars would give a young actress like Jennifer Lawrence the Oscar 2years in a row?

    1. She didn’t deserve her Oscar last year. And she doesn’t deserve it this year. But, I wouldn’t put it past the Academy. She’s a good actress, but she’s winning these awards for overrated performances.

      1. I think Jennifer is a fabulous actress, but I find it completely baffling that she keeps winning. Did any of the top critics go “hand the BSA to her now? Some of it feels like it is because they are thrilled with the concept of her: buckets of charisma + American milk-maid pretty + talented + under 30….and not the actual performance. She’s a great actress, but it seems like outside factors keep pushing her over people who also gave great performances.

      2. O” shut up.. So tired of the Jennifer Lawrence jealous on some blogs.. Lupita was a one note in the movie , she doesn’t show until half the movie and doesn’t steal any scenes she’s in… Jennifer should have been nominated Best Actress for Catching Fire, she was amazing in it and way better then Sandra Bullock in Gravity , just the last 5 minutes of the movie her facial expressions deserved a acting award..

        Lupita chick might not even be to be around, how many more times do the first time nominated black actress have to win Best Supporting Oscar, it’s embarrassing that Jennifer Hudson , MoNique have Oscar’s for one movie they did that was half decent, at least Octavia Spencer has acting chops and some range.

        When Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for Winter’s Bone, her first nod, no one thought she has to win,, unless Lupita performance stole the movie which her’s doesn’t, why this attitude “she has to win” from some quarters .

        1. “way better then Sandra Bullock in Gravity” – hahahaha.
          that’s where you lost your argument.
          Gravity is Sandra’s best performance and jen lawrence is a vastly overrated overrated one note performer.
          so, very funny.
          lol.
          so cute.

          1. I agree with you a 100%! Sandra Bullock’s performance in Gravity was outstanding. She was the heart of the movie and she carried the whole movie by herself. It was “the performance of her career.” A lot of critics are predicting IF Cate Blanchett don’t win the Oscar, the award should go to Ms. Bullock. That says a lot considering the category this year is so strong even the great Emma Thompson didn’t get nominated (she was excellent btw in Saving Mr. Banks).

            I am rooting for GRAVITY to win Best Picture @ the Oscars. What an incredible film-making achievement! I hope the Academy voters see’s that. It would be so weird and outrageous if GRAVITY wins at least 7 Oscars only to lose the top prize in the end (head-scratching moment). It would not be a convincing win for 12 Years A Slave because that would look like a virtual tie to me. Just sayin’.

      3. She sure did deserve last year’s best actress award for Silver linings playbook. Do you even remember who you think should have won?

        1. Yes. Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty or Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. No question or competition. The Academy went for the pretty girl as they often do e.g. Gwyneth over Cate, Reece over Felicity.

  3. - Can’t believe they snubbed Fassbender even after Leto was missing in the nomination. Poor Michael. They just don’t want to give this award to him. When 12 Years a Slave premiered everyone were like: “Yeah, Fassbender has it in the bag. No one can outdo him”. And now no one is giving those awards to him.

    – It was hilarious when everyone were expecting DiCaprio to get that award since Matthew McConaughey was missing. But it went to Ejiofor. Poor Leo. At least Ejiofor will always have BAFTA now. Still no one knows who will get Oscar. Hope Leo will finally get it.

    – The kid from We’re The Millers got that Rising Star award because… well… it’s not like Lupita will become star in the future. She’ll probably just vanish after Oscars. They always like to nominee or give supporting awards to some unknown actors and then those actors vanish after awards season.

    – Thank God 12 Years A Slave finally won last award. That would be embarrassing.

    1. Don’t cry too much for Fassbender. He announced months ago that he wouldn’t do any campaigning for the Oscar, so he’s a lot lower on the radar than he would be otherwise.

      I have to admit, I’ve been wondering — if Fassbender were out there campaigning, would he perhaps add the edge of star power that “12 Years a Slave” appears to be missing? I still think it’s the favorite for best picture, but it ought to be grabbing way more trophies than it is.

    2. Not sure why you would find it laughable that Leo did not win when you think that he should have won. Leonardo gave THE best performance of the year. No actor has won best actor since Denzel washington without being nominated for BAFTA.

    1. But as mentioned above, the BAFTA and Oscar organizations have about 500 overlapping members. If you’re interested in the Oscar race, then it matters.

  4. 12 years took heavy losses in key categories where it needed to win (S. Actress and Screenplay). I think a shutout is more likely then yet another surprise victory.

  5. Gravity should have won best picture, more original and technically worthy movie then 12years but it did win best director , best British film and the most awards of the night.

    Both Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett deserved their win, so did Chiwetel Ejiofor , if you like 12years , he is the movie , carries it , thought Michael Fassbender should have won too for 12years.

    Glad American Hustle won the second most awards of the night .. Loved the movie , would be happy if it surprised and won best picture at the Oscar’s.

  6. “Gravity” should have won for Best Film. It is a visionary film for the Ages.
    An artwork of the highest order, it is the greatest science fiction film since
    “2001:A Space Odyssey.” Bravo, Cuaron, you have earned the right to be
    mentioned in the same breathe as the incomparable Stanley Kubrick.

  7. I’m glad Ejiofor and Blanchett won, but Fassbender should also have won for his brilliant performance in a very difficult role.

  8. Anne, you are stupid. Both films are totally different. Gravity has a lousy screenplay, it is not the best sci fi film ever.

  9. It’s all so ridiculous. All this time, money, energy and attention spent to follow and see who lobbied most effectively and so gets to stand on stage and accept a trophy. This so called “Award Season” (when did that become something people say with a straight face?) now drags on for 6 months. All of these great artists could be making other films instead of out there politicking. The whole thing is so completely insular, and has little to do with art.

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