BAFTAs and the Success of the British Film Industry …

Today saw the announcement of the Bafta nominations in London, providing us with minimal shocks (in all honesty) and a better insight into how the, more prominent, Academy Award (Oscar) nominations might pan out. A typically British affair saw Stephen Fry presenting the announcements and a number of British films being nominated for awards they otherwise wouldn’t have managed to have maned to achieve from US audiences (films like Paddington, Mr Turner and Pride). These awards are really a great success as they allow for quality British films to reach out to a wider audience that they otherwise wouldn’t manage to appeal to, and often at the expense of overrated US films, many of which gained Golden Globe Awards nominations but aren’t anywhere near as good (examples such as War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close particularly stand out)…

In general the awards panned out as would be expected, with Birdman, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game and Boyhood picking up the majority of the nominations. The surprise package would be the huge success of The Grand Budapest Hotel, one of my personal favourite films of 2014 but often considered a bit too wacky and oddball for the awards season voters with Wes Anderson having very limited success in terms of the Oscars and Baftas (only ever being nominated in the writing category for some of his best works like Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr Fox). The film achieved a whopping 11 nominations, including Best Film, Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes) and Best Director (Wes Anderson). The main snubs of the day were Selma (the film starring David Oyelowo portraying the story of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr) which has received widespread critical acclaim but limited commercial success, scoring a low score on IMDb and not managing to regain very much of its $20 million budget as of yet.. A further snub was in the form of Jennifer Aniston’s turn in the film Cake, which managed a Golden Globes nomination and is hotly tipped for a potential Oscars nod, but lost out to Imelda Staunton for her role in British, gay-rights comedy drama, Pride (which was one of the most successful British films of the day).

The American films however did also fare will in terms of nominations, as would be expected, with Whiplash, Nightcrawler, American Sniper, Foxcatcher and Gone Girl all earning multiple nominations along with the other big contenders. Obviously the US film industry is expected to do very well in the Baftas, with Michael Keaton the favourite to pick up the Best Actor Award for his huge career reviving role in Birdman, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood the favourite to pick up Best Film and Director.. It has also been good to see the Baftas highlight the return to form of many great actors in 2014, namely the likes of Jake Gyllenhall, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton and Reese Witherspoon, all of whom rightly earn their nominations in their given categories. JK Simmons (Whiplash) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice) also deserve notable recognition as the favourites to collect Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress. Furthermore Chris Nolan’s monolithic sic-fi epic, Interstellar, looks set to do well in the technical categories such as Cinematography, Production Design and Special Visual effects.

However, British Films are competing all the way with their American counterparts.. Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ralph Fiennes are all making huge ground in the race for Best Actor, as well a showing off the wealth of British acting talent that there is out there. The British actresses were just as successful with Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones and Keira Knightley all being nominated for acting awards and almost dead certs to get oscar nominations. In a way the Baftas nomination truly reflects how successful British cinema is doing right now. This is made evident in the specific British awards that Bafta does such as; Best British Film, British Short and British Animation, giving exposure to the highly talented members of the British film industry that go unnoticed. This celebration of great British films is something I really do like about the Baftas, nominating the likes of ’71, Paddington, Pride, Mr Turner and even the experimental low budget Sci-fi film Under the Skin (one of the best films I saw in the cinema this year)! The help of Film 4 productions in producing such great British films (many of which got nominated) has to be mentioned in allowing such films to be placed at the forefront of public awareness (without Film 4 there wouldn’t be Trainspotting, Shaun of the Dead, Submarine, 12 Years a Slave…). The nominations even nodded towards the future of the British Film Industry with the nomination of two Brits in its Rising Star category; Jack O’Connell (of whom had a huge year starring in films such as Starred Up, ’71 and Unbroken) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beyond the Lights), both bright talents who are sure to do well in the future.

Overall, the Bafta nominations have been a great success for the British Film industry and demonstrated the wealth of talent that was displayed on 2014 with very few controversies or snubs in its nominations. Most importantly these nominations give us great insight as to how the Academy Awards nominations may look and builds up the anticipation for the biggest even on the film calendar (not that the Baftas isn’t good, its just not quite the Oscars…)!!!

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