The BAFTA Film Awards nominations revealed this morning in London smiled on fixtures of the season including Joker, The Irishman, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, 1917, Jojo Rabbit, Marriage Story, Little Women, The Two Popes and Parasite. The acting roster, however, met with jeers over lack of diversity as an all-white field of nominees sparked heated debate, and an all-male Best Director group also drew fire. Meanwhile, could Netflix scoring a streaming record 23 nominations provoke another standoff with exhibition as was the case in 2019?
BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry told BBC Radio 4 today that while she meant no disrespect to “an incredibly strong list” of nominees, she was “very disappointed” in the lack of diversity. BAFTA’s Emma Baehr had also told Deadline that the org would indeed have liked to see a more varied group, and called it “an industry-wide problem” which BAFTA will continue to work on. Still, #BaftasSoWhite is likely to be a dominant topic as we draw closer to the awards on February 2.
As for Netflix, the streamer has mentions across The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, Klaus, American Factory and The Great Hack. But last year’s nods that converted to wins ultimately resulted in UK exhibitor Cineworld pulling support for BAFTA while Vue threatened the same. In August this year, both Vue and Cineworld said they would not be showing The Irishman due to its curtailed theatrical window.
Whether a new row breaks out between the movie circuits and BAFTA is unclear for the moment. Vue boss Tim Richards tells Deadline, “After last year, we sat down with BAFTA and had a very good dialogue and are working with them this year as well to find an eligibility solution that works for everyone.” Baehr also noted, “We have had a good consultation with the industry, we’ve gone into forensic detail and are happy our rules are right and fair and create a fair playing field. If anything happens (with exhibitors), we would pick up the phone to have that conversation.”
The Irishman is the only Netflix title in the Best Film race, where it is joined by Joker, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite and 1917 (1917 and Hollywood won the two major film prizes at the Golden Globes on Sunday). Each of those films’ helmers is nominated for Outstanding Director at BAFTA.
Joker leads the pack with 11 mentions. The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios’ DC origins story scooped more than The Dark Knight‘s nine back in 2009 (that film’s sole win was a posthumous honor for Heath Ledger, as Joker).
BAFTA has typically kept the superhero genre in the VFX categories (including 2018’s Black Panther which went on to a Best Picture Oscar nomination among several others). But the gritty R-rated Venice Golden Lion laureate Joker is not your average comic book flick. Its BAFTA nominations haul comes after the Globes saw Joaquin Phoenix win the Best Actor prize and Hildur Guðnadóttir take home Best Original Score, becoming only the second woman to ever win the award and the first solo female winner in the category.
Looking at other candidates included today, Scarlett Johansson scored her third Leading Actress mention (for Marriage Story) and picked up a Supporting nod for Jojo Rabbit. Also doubling up, Margot Robbie figures twice in the Supporting Actress field (for Bombshell and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood). Part of the #BaftasSoWhite consternation is because of two slots being allotted to the same person. (Robbie is the second woman in recent memory to have two nominations in the same category after Kate Winslet previously doubled up on Leading Actress in two separate years with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Finding Neverland, then with The Reader and Revolutionary Road.)
Many of today’s leading nominees have factored with awards bodies over the past several weeks, although like at the Globes, The Irishman‘s Robert DeNiro did not make the cut (Joe Pesci and Al Pacino are both in Supporting), nor did Pain And Glory‘s Antonio Banderas. Along with Phoenix, the Leading Actor field includes Hollywood‘s Leonardo Dicaprio, Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver, The Two Popes‘ Jonathan Pryce and Rocketman‘s Taron Egerton.
While Paramount/Rocket Pictures’ Rocketman also figures in the Outstanding British Film and Make Up & Hair categories, it did miss out on Costume Design which is puzzling. Downton Abbey also failed to make the Costume Design cut, nor does it figure in any other race, period. The Focus Features/Carnival Films transfer to the big screen has been a huge success story with over $190M globally ($34.4M from the UK), but it’s worth noting that the show never won a single BAFTA TV prize during its entire run. It did pick up a special award when the series concluded.
Overall, there is a decrease in individual British nominees this year, from 75 last year to 65 this year.
The BAFTA ceremony will be held at the Royal Albert Hall on February 2.
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