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The 2017 BAFTA awards are being held this Sunday, live from the Royal Albert Hall on BBC On from 9pm, with host Stephen Fry taking charge of the ‘British Oscars’ for the 12th time.
Here, we take a look at the nominations and decipher who we expect to win but also, who we would like to see win.
Nominations: ‘Arrival’, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, ‘La La Land’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’.
All of this year’s nominations are exceptional examples of film-making, spread across different forms, from fantasy with ‘Arrival’ to social-realist drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’ to LGBT drama ‘Moonlight’.
When looking the most likely winner, I have three syllables for you. ‘La La Land’. It is impossible to see how this will not win. It has grabbed much of the pre-award show buzz, and with a historic 14 Oscar and 11 BAFTA nominations it is hard to think it will not win at least half of them. ‘La La Land’ has divided people’s opinions, some labelling it ‘a classic’ and others calling it ‘utter drivel’. Maybe this because it is not your typical musical, like previous multi- Oscar winning productions ‘The Sound of Music’ or ‘Chicago’, and this may have thrown a few people off its unmistakeably charming and powerful scent. For me, it is a masterpiece that I will watch time and time again, and show to my kids time and time again. Every aspect pieces together beautifully, under the watchful eye of Damien Chazelle, from the cinematography, to costume design to the original music. It is a film that makes you feel with every sinew of your body, from happiness to heartbreak.
On a personal note is a possibility that ‘I, Daniel Blake’ will win. The power of this film is plain for all to see, it is not very often a film is debated and referenced so often in Parliamentary debate, and the fact it is based on real stories from real people makes it message even more compelling. Ken Loach is a master of what he does and ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is debatably his best film to date. It would be great to see this win but unfortunately I cannot see anything beating La La Land.
Prediction: La La Land
Personal: I, Daniel Blake.
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
Nominations: ‘American Honey’, ‘Denial’, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, ‘Notes on Blindness’, ‘Under the Shadow’.
The one that will push ‘I, Daniel Blake’ furthest will be American Honey- the story of Star, a young adolescent woman running away with a traveling sales crew across Mid-West America- but I still expect Loach’s powerful drama starring Dave Johns and BAFTA nominated Hayley Squires to win.
Prediction: ‘I, Daniel Blake’
Personal: ‘I, Daniel Blake’
Nominations: Dennis Villenue ‘Arrival’, Ken Loach ‘I, Daniel Blake’, Damien Chazelle ‘La La Land’, Kenneth Lonergan ‘Manchester by the Sea’, Tom Ford ‘Nocturnal Animals’.
Again, it’s hard not to believe that Damien Chazelle won’t win an award, whether it be the BAFTA or Oscar. I fully expect him to take both. He was previously BAFTA and Oscar nominated for his fantastic screenplay of the equally fantastic film ‘Whiplash’. He has already won the Golden Globe for Best Director this year. I think every person nominated merits their inclusion, each conjuring exceptional films in their own right, ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is superb and Lonergan has managed to get a career- defining powerhouse of a performance from Casey Affleck and Tom Ford has masterfully written and crafted the film ‘Nocturnal Animals’, based on the book ‘Tony and Susan’. ‘Arrival’ is one of the smartest, most well thought out and best acted Sci-Fi/Fantasy films there have been probably since ‘Gravity’, possibly ‘Interstellar’, and in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ Loach has produced a film that has got people talking and has social inequality/ benefits system to the forefront of the British psyche, an achievement that cannot be understated. However, I think La La Land is an example of any director out there about attention not just to actors and their performance but also locations, cinematography, costume design and music.
Prediction: Damien Chazelle ‘La La Land’
Personal: Damien Chazelle ‘La La Land’
His portrayal of Desmond Doss- who saved 75 men’s lives serving as a combat medic at Hacksaw Ridge during WW2 is mesmerising (Doss is the only person ever to receive the Medal of Honor (the American version of the Victoria Cross) without firing a bullet). If it was up to me, Garfield would be walking away with the BAFTA on Sunday. Both Gyllenhaal and Mortensen give excellent performances but I was surprised not to see Denzel Washington nominated, especially given he won the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) award last week. From the two front runners, I think that Casey Affleck will win. I just don’t think Gosling’s performance in ‘La La Land’, as great as it was, is better or on the same level as Affleck’s in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. Nevertheless, I wonder if the power of ‘La La Land’ will persuade the panel to give Gosling this award?
Prediction: Casey Affleck ‘Manchester by the Sea’
Personal: Andrew Garfield, ‘Hacksaw Ridge’.
Nominations: Amy Adams ‘Arrival’, Emily Blunt ‘The Girl on the Train’, Emma Stone ‘La La Land’, Meryl Streep ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’, Natalie Portman ‘Jackie’.
This is a strange one because as big of a Meryl Streep fan as I am (everyone minus Donald Trump is), I don’t know how she is in this category when you consider performances such as Ruth Negga in ‘Loving’ or Isabelle Huppert in the French film ‘Elle’, both Oscar nominated. But then again she is also Oscar nominated, favoured over Adams and Blunt, so is she on course for a 3rd BAFTA this year? I hope not. I feel that the two front runners will be Natalie Portman ‘Jackie’ and Emma Stone ‘La La Land’. They (minus the ‘overrated’ Streep) are the only two that are both BAFTA and Oscar nominated. I feel that Adams performance in Arrival was excellent, but that her Oscar snub won’t bode well for her. I also think Blunt was the best of a bad bunch in ‘The Girl on the Train’ and she carried the film with her portrayal of alcoholic divorcee Rachel. On the other hand, Portman’s portrayal of the widowed Jackie Kennedy is electric, eye-catching and quite simply superb. When she is on-screen, you cannot take your eyes off her and I cannot think of anyone else who could have played the role as well as she did (maybe Streep). Stone again, working with Gosling in ‘La La Land’, is great, embodies wannabe star Mia Dolan’s superbly, and although the part was originally written for someone younger (rumour has it Emma Watson), Stone owns it and is particularly striking singing ‘The Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’. I hope that Portman wins and I think she will.
Prediction: Natalie Portman ‘Jackie’
Personal: Natalie Portman ‘Jackie’
Aaron-Taylor Johnson plays disturbed Ray Marcus in Tom Ford’s ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and won the Golden Globe earlier this year so he is by no means out of the race however I feel that the two front runners are Dev Patel ‘Lion’ and Mahershala Ali ‘Moonlight’. Both are Oscar nominated and both performances are brilliant in their own right, yet Ali took the SAG award last week so for me that makes him the favourite. Personally, I would love to see Dev Patel win as I believe this is his best performance ever but we will all have to watch on Sunday to see.
Prediction: Mahershala Ali ‘Moonlight’
Personal: Dev Patel ‘Lion’.
Out of the three I believe that Viola Davis will win and it cannot be said she does not deserve it. She has been growing in stature in the industry since beginning as Annalise Keating on hit US show ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ and having won both the Golden Globe and SAG Awards already, she is the favourite. Naomie Harris filmed all her scenes for Moonlight over three days, and if you take that into account it is a remarkable performance. Playing one character over three different time periods over three days would be a stretch even for Meryl Streep (can you tell I’m a fan). I don’t doubt that sometime in the future she will win either a BAFTA or Oscar but I think she will be pipped at the post by Davis this year. Nevertheless, Hayley Squires deserves a mention because it is a massive achievement and a testament to her natural talent that she kept Octavia Spencer ‘Hidden Figures’ (who replaced her in the Oscar nominations) out. I think it would be a fantastic moment to see her win but I just think Viola Davis has the momentum.
Prediction: Viola Davis ‘Fences’
Personal: Naomie Harris ‘Moonlight’
EE BAFTA RISING STAR AWARD
This is a tough category to pick because it is voted for by the public. After recent questionable voting decisions by the British public (you all know what I’m talking about… Honey G on X Factor) it’s clear that we don’t always tend to vote for the most talented but often the most popular or the most entertaining. In this case it tends to be the most well-known. The past two years have been won by John Boyega (2016) and Jack O’Connell (2015), both undoubtedly talented actors with impressive careers in front of them. However, when you consider that O’Connell had already accrued a massive fan base from the hit TV series Skins and Boyega had recently appeared in the new Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’, it’s not hard to see why they beat off competition such as Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley in O’Connell’s case and Oscar and BAFTA winner for best actress the same year Brie Larsson in Boyega’s case.
Nevertheless, it is an award and in my opinion it should be going to Ruth Negga. Oscar nominated for her performance in ‘Loving’, in which she co-stars with Joel Edgerton, Negga is simply outstanding, and hotly tipped by some to take home the Oscar on February 26th. It may be hard to fathom that she could be considered a rising star at 35 but that is the nature of the beast that is the film industry. She has extensive stage experience and similar to Mark Lawrence, she is making the jump across to the big screen. ‘Loving’ feels like a film that will catapult her career and we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future.
I feel that the award will be heading Tom Holland’s direction because he probably the best known out of all the candidates. Being cast as Spiderman will be a massive boost to his career, both as an actor but also as a public figure, and the power of the franchise cannot be understated. Anya Taylor-Joy was excellent in the fairly divisive film ‘The Witch’ (personally not a fan) as was Laia Costa in ‘Victoria’ but my gut tells me that not enough people will have seen them or recognise their faces. Lucas Hedges is again superb in ‘Manchester by the Sea’, Oscar nominated, but that film hasn’t reached as wider audience as it did in the USA, and this will go against Hedges in this case.
Prediction: Tom Holland
Personal: Ruth Negga
Other Award predictions
Adapted Screenplay: Nocturnal Animals
Original Screenplay: La La Land
Outstanding Debut: Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh- Under the Shadows
Film not in the English Language: Son of Saul
Animated film: Kubo and the Two Strings
Cinematography: La La Land
Editing: La La Land
Make Up and Hair: Florence Foster Jenkins
Costume Design: La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Special Visual Effects: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Original Music: La La Land
Sound: La La Land
British Short Film: Home
Animated Short Film: The Alan Dimension
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