6 Cheers for the BAFTAs — Why We’re WatchingMarc Ehrenbold
The BAFTAs are upon us.
Come Sunday evening, we’ll be hunkered down in front of the telly, picking at a platter of cheese and crackers and mini gherkins, cheering on team BAFTA. We haven’t been this amped up for an awards show in a long time. Why? The simple explanation: credit where credit is due.
Here’s the long explanation:
1 Cheer: The visuals. According to Deadline, of the 20 acting nominees, 18 are sure to show. Meaning, of course, that the star power will be strong this year — and not just for the Brits watching from home, but for film lovers watching from far and wide. BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry explains: “The awards show goes out in 167 territories; before 2001 it only went out in the UK. And the international audience ensures people are coming from all over the world to attend.” As the awards aren’t entirely geared toward Anglophiles–more a combination of cinephile-meets-Anglophile–they make for a great, great opportunity to introduced audiences everywhere to all that British cinema has to offer via a few choice awards. Having Hollywood’s heaviest hitters in London will only add more eyes, and with more eyes will come more recognition and support for British cinema. On top of that, it looks like we’re headed to a clear (blue) view of all the action on the carpet–the BBC’s forecast for Sunday calls for a dry, sunny day.
2 Cheers: The Independent was good enough to remind us that “in the past five years every film that has won the Best Film BAFTA has then gone on to take the top prize at the Oscars. The last film not to do so was Joe Wright’s Atonement in 2008, which highlights BAFTA voters’ tendency to favour British films in a close race.” Thus, by Sunday’s end, we’ll have a good sense of where our Best Picture pick within our Oscar pool will fall. We’re rooting for 12 Years a Slave.
3 Cheers: For a sneaking suspicion, held by The Independent‘s Kaleen Aftab: “I have a sneaking suspicion that BAFTA may well make McQueen the first black director to win the directing prize.” Watching history get made is enough reason for us to tune into this year’s telecast. And for such a film as 12 Years a Slave? With a deserving, uber-talented director whose vision was long and who may, despite his hard/inspiring work, very well go unnoticed at The Oscars? A thousand times yes. Let’s give this to Steve McQueen, BAFTAs.
4 Cheers: And the Best Actor goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor. This, this will happen. As with Steve McQueen, it may be his last this season. DiCaprio can’t take him, not in a fair fight. Of course, if we are considering outside factors, Ejiofor becomes the sure winner. Because, well, BRITISH. Besides, we’re exceedingly proud of him. DiCaprio will have his turn again. So, too, will Ejiofor. But, again, DAMN PROUD OF HIM. We all are. He ought to win a major award for this performance.
5 Cheers: The Best Supporting Actor goes to…Michael Fassbender, named the “slight favourite in a tight category” by The Independent. He, too, deserves this win. He, too, won’t get another chance this strong for 12 Years a Slave. He’s not campaigning for Oscar and he’s up against Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers–an actor with a solid performance + weight loss + swell campaign strategy. Fassbender really doesn’t stand much of a chance. And that’s okay. Still, we’d like him to have this one. (And if not Fassy, Barkhad Abdi, for his stirring performance in Captain Phillips.)
6 Cheers: LUPITA NYONG’O, for her sheer presence and her (fingers-crossed) Supporting Actress win. We’re actually, ironically, hoping that Lupita does not win the EE Rising Star Award. It’ll do her no favors. The last five winners were Juno Temple, Adam Deacon, Tom Hardy, Kristen Stewart, Noel Clarke. As Vada Magazine points out, “the four previous winners other than Hardy beat off competition from the likes of Michael Fassbender, Michael Cera, Jesse Eisenberg, Carey Mulligan, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. So basically, you should look out for whoever doesn’t win this one.” We’d feel much better about the situation were Lupita to win both Supporting and Rising Star. And If she can only take one? Supporting, all the way. Jennifer Lawrence will understand, God love her. Still, this is a tough one to call and, perhaps because of that, we really can’t wait to see how it plays out.