Friday, December 2, 2022

How The BAFTA Nominations Could Impact The Acting Races At The Oscars

By Ryan C. Showers 

After the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations and the Screen Actors Guild nominations, it left a puzzle of unanswered questions. Trying to pinpoint Oscar nominations in a substantial and reasoned way has been essentially on ice, waiting for the British Academy to weigh in with their picks. Understanding and making informed decisions about predictions for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress is even more dependent on BAFTA this year than in year’s past. The new rules put in place by BAFTA, extending the acting categories from five nominees per category to six, will provide an ample amount of opportunities for off-the-wall surprises, too.

Here is an outline of how BAFTA could help clarify the Oscar contenders.

Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Hopkins, Riz Ahmed, and Gary Oldman have been the united four through phase two of awards season thus far, and there is no reason to think this trend will end. Some believe Oldman will eventually be vulnerable – I disagree: he has hit all of his marks and he is the protagonist of a leading Best Picture contender. As a British acting legend, he will certainly maintain his streak of precursor success at BAFTA. If we’re looking at the overall Best Actor race, there is a vacancy since Delroy Lindo failed to manage a position at the Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Whomever the British Academy selects to stand beside the safe four will be the big players vying for the Oscar lineup.

BAFTA voters may rally around Kingsley Ben-Adir for a nomination in Best Actor. After all, he has British roots and is an up-and-coming talent. If Ben-Adir is nominated at BAFTA, he is now a viable option again after the Critics Choice, SAG, and Golden Globe snubs. And the same goes double for Delroy Lindo for “Da 5 Bloods.” If he shows strengths with these voters of all groups of people, it will show a sign that there is still hope for the goodwill he has accrued over the past year for his revelatory work. A reasonable case could be made for Lindo to end up nominated at the Oscars after all, with a BAFTA + Critics Choice combination. However, if he misses this nomination, his chances at an Oscar nomination continue to look grim.

One dark horse contender nearly everyone is sleeping on is Madds Mikkelsen for “Another Round.” He has the perfect path to make everything else fall into place in the Best Actor race: He brings star power; his film is the frontrunner to win Best International Film at the Oscars; his soulful performance grounds “Another Round;” and he measures up to a certain snob appeal both BAFTA and Oscar voters subscribe. The most important factor of Mikkelsen to swiftly enter the Best Actor lineup is Javier Bardem’s precedent in “Biutiful” in 2010. Bardem missed Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and SAG, despite “Biutiful” earning Best Foreign Langue Film nominations at those precursor shows. Bardem stormed the race with a BAFTA nomination and successfully clinched an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Mikkelsen eerily makes sense to take the unwieldy fifth slot in this category. Another late-breaking contender who may get a BAFTA nomination is Tahar Rahim for “The Mauritanian,” following up his Golden Globe nomination. Or perhaps, Steven Yuen proves his accomplishment on the SAG shortlist for Best Actor proves his campaign is the real deal. This could very well happen since “Minari” is likely to be a success with BAFTA voters.

Predicted Nominations for Best Actor at BAFTA
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round
Gary Oldman – Mank

Spoiler: Steven Yeun – Minari / Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian

BAFTA’s impact in sewing up some acting categories is not limited to simply Best Actor. The competition for Best Actress could crystalize based on who the British voters select. The main four who have earned all the major precursors thus far – Carey Mulligan, Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, and Vanessa Kirby – are fairly certain to continue their trend at BAFTA. That leaves two spots up for grabs. The implications of whoever is voted into these two slots are significant since neither Golden Globe winners for Best Actress, Rosamund Pike in “I Care A Lot” and Andra Day in “The United States v. Billie Holiday,” are not eligible through the longlist. (It is widely expected Day to receive an Oscar nomination despite lacking a SAG nomination and not being longlisted at BAFTA.)

A contender many pundits continue to predict is Sophia Loren in “The Life Ahead,” as they did so confidently at the Golden Globes, where she was snubbed. Loren is possible at BAFTA, but the buzz around her performance is always suggested to be over the horizon but never actually materializes. Despite seeming to have strength for a nomination here because of her status international veteran, in my experience, only full-on British actors have a significant advantage at BAFTA due to identity, not European actors more broadly. That being said, I am fairly certain the final two BAFTA spots will be occupied by Amy Adams in “Hillbilly Elegy” and Kate Winslet in “Ammonite.”

Adams, who is a SAG nominee, has been on the bubble for much of this season and is enhanced by the prospect that her co-star, Glenn Close, is still in the hunt to win Best Supporting Actress. BAFTA has nominated Adams a total of seven times in ten years, even for a project that was dead-on-arrival like “Big Eyes” and something that was too nuanced for the Oscars to touch in “Arrival.” Despite controversial reactions from critics, “Hillbilly Elegy” found itself on many BAFTA longlists, indicating at least some members were taken with it. Considering the BAFTA’s sensibility for embracing projects that Film Twitter attempted to cancel, like “Vice,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Green Book,” this should be an easy get for Adams.

If this does happen, Adams would be entering the race’s final stretch with SAG and BAFTA nominations, both institutions with Academy voter crossover. She would be towering competition to someone who appears safe but is actually quite vulnerable, like Vanessa Kirby. “Pieces of a Woman” has been flailing due to controversy with Shia LaBeouf, lack of recognition for Ellen Burstyn at televised awards thus far, and sinking buzz in general. All of this spells bad news to Kirby, who went from frontrunner in the fall to someone who is crawling to the finish line.

As I have alluded to several times thus far, the British Academy voters prioritize British options for nominees at their awards, even in films and with performances that have a rough track record elsewhere. This year, a film that will benefit from that is going to be “Ammonite,” from my vantage point. I highly recommend considering Francis Lee’s period piece when predicting Best British Film. Consequently, Winslet seems to be the most logical choice to round out Best Actress. Winslet has campaigned harder than anyone this year. Her performance is genuinely masterful and respected even if the film is not, and she portrays a historical figure in history, Mary Anning. A nomination at BAFTA in the innocuous sixth slot feels like her “reward” for chugging through tough reception for her film with a smile on her face.

Predicted Nominations for Best Actress at BAFTA 
Amy Adams – Hillbilly Elegy
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Kate Winslet – Ammonite

Spoiler: Sophia Loren – The Life Ahead

This opportunity for “Ammonite” also is true for Saoirse Ronan in Best Supporting Actress. Thus far, she has not been an active competitor in the precursors, mostly due to the muted reception to “Ammonite” overall. But this is a classic awards performance, so combined with the general admiration BAFTA voters have for Ronan and the general inconsistency of the Best Supporting Actress race, a nomination should go over smoothly.

Best Supporting Actress has had many narratives this year. In one sense, it has been a rematch between Glenn Close vs. Olivia Colman, who are in the lead now but both face real hurdles in going all the way to an Oscar win. It has also been a category to reward “Minari” and the critics’ darling, Yuh-jung Youn, who ended up missing the Golden Globes lineup. But also, people have insisted it is Amanda Seyfried’s time as a young actress who has paid her dues over the past decade in a Best Picture contender. That seemed like a promising line of attack until she missed what should have been an easy SAG nomination. All the meanwhile, a veteran with a juicy role, Ellen Burstyn, still looms in this category, despite missing Golden Globe and SAG nominations. If Burstyn is admitted from the BAFTA longlist to the shortlist, it will increase her Oscar chances significantly.

However, my money is on BAFTA recognizing Glenn Close, Colman, Youn, and Seyfried, with Jodie Foster’s subtle portrait in “The Mauritanian” joining them. Foster stunned the world with an upset at the Golden Globes recently, and there has been almost 30 years since a Golden Globe winner for Best Supporting Actress has missed an Oscar nomination. A BAFTA nomination would strengthen her campaign and seems logical given the number of places “The Mauritanian” appeared on high-profile longlist categories. Foster is a contender who is striking at the perfect time to have the apex of her buzz when voters are paying attention.

That all being said, it is without a doubt that BAFTA nomination morning will be the moment of truth for Maria Bakalova’s bid for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance in “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” has earned her a bundle of critics’ prizes, an army of online supporters, and major nominations for Critics Choice, SAG, and Golden Globe. A few weeks ago, I made a comparison between Jennifer Lopez’s campaign for “Hustlers” last year to Bakalova’s bid this year. Everything I just mentioned as strengths to Bakalova’s campaign is what Lopez achieved last year. Then Lopez missed the BAFTA nomination and then eventually the Oscar nomination. I predict Bakalova will succumb to the same trajectory.

BAFTA voters are notoriously snobby and establishment and Bakalova simply does not have an Academy-friendly role, let alone the British Academy. “Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm” is specifically an American phenomenon, to begin with, but more importantly, the gross-out humor in the film and Bakalova’s performance is not the BAFTA’s typical cup of tea. Also, British veteran Rosamund Pike just pummeled her for the Golden Globes just days ago. To continue the comparison, Lopez also lost the Globe after she was predicted to win by pundits. Bakalova’s campaign took a significant knife to the gut with this single fail-swoop by the Hollywood Foreign Press. My prediction is, Bakalova will miss the BAFTA nomination and, subsequently, the Oscar nomination.

Predicted Nominations for Best Supporting Actress at BAFTA
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy 
Olivia Colman – The Father
Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian 
Saoirse Ronan – Ammonite
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Youn Yuh-jung – Minari

Spoiler: Ellen Burstyn – Pieces of a Woman

Supporting Actor is the least remarkable category to predict, but BAFTA could throw a curveball or two based on who is and is not eligible from the longlist. Sacha Baron Cohen, David Kaluuya, and Leslie Odom Jr. are the safe contenders I assume God himself could not stop from being nominated at the BAFTA awards for Best Supporting Actor. After that, though, there is room for a few surprises. I am banking on English actor Mark Rylance earning a surprise nomination for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” BAFTA was the turning point for Rylance five years ago in taking the lead in the Oscar race for his winning performance in “Bridge of Spies.”

I also have Bo Burnham predicted for a longshot nomination, riding the wave of the expected adoration BAFTA will have for “Promising Young Woman.” The most likely final contender would seem to be Chadwick Boseman for “Da 5 Bloods,” however, I am not so sure BAFTA will embrace that film much at all. However, Boseman’s narrative may push him over the finish line here with the extra sixth slot. If not, Stanley Tucci could get his only major notice of the year for the little-seen British production, “Supernova.”
 
Predicted Nominations for Best Supporting Actor at BAFTA
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Bo Burnham – Promising Young Woman
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami
Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7
 
Spoiler: Stanley Tucci – Supernova

Who do you think will be nominated at the BAFTAs this year? Do you think they will have any impact on the Oscar nomination voting this year? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.

You can follow Ryan and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @rcs818

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