BAFTA Nominations: Notable Omissions, Diversity Efforts & Netflix’s Best Year Yet

BAFTA Awards

Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite lived up to its name in the nominations for the BAFTA Film Awards which were unveiled this morning in London. The twisted look inside the court of Queen Anne is the leader at 12 mentions including for Best Film, Best British Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress (Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman) and Supporting Actress (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz).

The Favourite recently swept the British Independent Film Awards and had been expected to fare well today. The Best Film category has a strong lineup of contenders, but there were inevitably some surprises in the overall mix.

Rounding out the Best Film field are Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman, the Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner from Focus Features that has five BAFTA nominations; Peter Farrelly’s Green Book (Universal domestic/eOne in the UK), which is AFI’s Movie of the Year and a triple Globes laureate and has four nods today; Alfonso Cuaron’s lauded black-and-white personal drama Roma from Netflix; and Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born from Warner Bros. Cooper appears in five categories out of the film’s seven including Best Film, Leading Actor, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Original Music.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC
A notable near shutout is Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther which has one nomination, in Special Visual Effects, but no love elsewhere despite being in the Oscar conversation. Emily Blunt was not mentioned in Lead Actress for Mary Poppins Returns while If Beale Street Could Talk’s Globe winner and Oscar hopeful Regina King was passed over. Mary Queen Of Scots scored a nod for Supporting Actress Margot Robbie, but not Saoirse Ronan (its other mentions are in Make Up & Hair and Costume Design). Widows’ Viola Davis is nominated in Lead Actress, but Steve McQueen is not in the Director field.

The BAFTA directing category matches with three names on the DGA’s list that was revealed Tuesday: Lee in his first BAFTA nom, Cuaron and Cooper. Also in for BAFTA are Lanthimos and Cold War‘s Pawel Pawlikowski.

As with the DGA, there are no women helmers in the mix and Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) is the only female filmmaker in either of the two Best Film categories. Says BAFTA Film Committee Chair Marc Samuelson, “It’s a serious problem, and it’s an industry-wide problem. It’s interesting in seeing the DGA nominations; nobody could be more focused on this than the DGA and they come up with 8 nominations and they’re all men.” Of all films submitted for BAFTA consideration, Samuelson notes that only 10% were directed by women. “The issue is women not being hired to direct or write in a way they ought to be.”

There are 17 female producers nominated, and 48 overall nominations outside the acting category are for women versus 32 last year. BAFTA has various talent initiatives to boost female filmmakers and Samuelson says the organization is “very concerned about this issue… But voters can only vote on what they are presented with.”

This year sees new eligibility requirements in effect concerning the British film categories. All entries into Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer are required to meet at least two of the four BFI Diversity Standards which are a framework for measuring inclusion and representation. Says Samuelson today, “It’s all about making change actually happen. It feels good so far, but this is just the beginning of the effort.”

Atsushi Nishijima
The Favourite, a film centered on three strong female leads, just opened to a $5M start in the UK last weekend. It hails from Fox Searchlight and was backed by the UK’s Film4 in a similar deal to last year’s multiple winner Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Film4 director Daniel Battsek says, “Following her Golden Globes success we are delighted that (Queen) Olivia Colman continues to reign supreme. We are thrilled for all 20 Film4 nominations and very proud that The Favourite leads the way. Thank you BAFTA!”

Big Fox has another strong contender in Bohemian Rhapsody with seven mentions. At $62.8M locally, the Freddie Mercury biopic, which won two Golden Globes on Sunday, is in the Outstanding British Film category at the BAFTAS, but notably missed out on the main Best Film race. Rami Malek is nominated in Lead Actor.

Universal Pictures
Tying with Bo Rhap, and in the strongest showing to date with a major awards body, is Universal’s First Man. The Damien Chazelle-helmed Neil Armstrong biopic premiered to much fanfare at the Venice Film Festival in August but had appeared to lose steam. It won a Globe on Sunday for Best Original Score but is not in the comparable BAFTA category. Rather, it has mentions for Claire Foy in Supporting Actress as well as Josh Singer’s Adapted Screenplay, and for Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Effects. Like Bo Rhap, First Man did not make the Best Film race.

As for the streamers, they have their best showing ever at BAFTA. Cold War is an Amazon title that is shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar and is in that BAFTA category, as well as Original Screenplay and Cinematography. It could repeat at the Academy Awards.

Netflix, meanwhile, notched eight nominations versus three last year. Samuelson says BAFTA “has tried to be very clear and delineate between the Film Awards and the TV Awards by requiring a real theatrical release with a minimum number of engagements and screens over a minimum period of time. These films have been properly theatrically released and promoted. The public will have been able to see them. We will review this in the spring, we review everything in the spring because things are moving so fast. The world is changing, as we all know.”

Matt Kennedy / Annapurna Pictures
Also making strong showings today Adam McKay’s Vice from Annapurna has six nominations including Original Screenplay, Lead Actor for Christian Bale and Supporting Actress and Actor for Amy Adams and last year’s winner Sam Rockwell.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Stan & Ollie each have three nominations (click here for the full list). We’ll be live blogging from the Royal Albert Hall on February 10 when the ceremony takes place with Joanna Lumley hosting.

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