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BAFTA Nominations: 2015

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From Anchorman 2 to critical darling. (Source)

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced their nominations. Anymore they’re a fairly important precursor to the Oscars, but even in their own right they’re worth analyzing.

I’m not over the moon with all of their choices this year, but there are a few pleasant surprises to be found.


  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Revenant
  • Spotlight

They fucked over Mad Max? Well, fuck you too, BAFTA.

Actually, this is a very good list–four **** films (saw The Revenant last night–it’s a low **** but it makes the cut) and a ***½ film which everyone else considers ****. A very welcome boost for Bridge, a surprising but also welcome boost for The Big Short (now my #3 of the year), and a nice reaffirmation of Carol‘s status after a bumpy last few days.

But no Mad Max. That hurts.

British Film:

  • Amy
  • Brooklyn
  • The Danish Girl
  • Ex Machina
  • 45 Years
  • The Lobster

I’ve seen three of these six: Brooklyn and Ex Machina are both excellent films and worthy of their place here, while The Danish Girl is an okay film which got on, I suppose, because it’s prestigious.

Amy I need to see, 45 Years I’d like to see, The Lobster I need in my life.

No Suffragette. Too bad.

I hope High-Rise wasn’t eligible. It’d be a fucking shame if they snubbed it. (I checked. It isn’t.)


  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • Ridley Scott, The Martian
  • Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies

Holy shit. No Tom McCarthy?

And they put Adam McKay on instead? And recognized Spielberg?

I’m completely fine with that.

Doesn’t make up for the inexplicable George Miller snub (if the Academy follows suit…God help me), but all five of these efforts are in my top 10 (and three are in my top 5), so I won’t complain too much.

Trumbo Cranston and CK

The blacklist couldn’t keep him down, let alone the BAFTAs. (Source)


  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Cranston won’t quit, will he? This might actually be our Oscar category.

I’ve seen all five of these performances. They’re all in my top 10, but none get higher than #3. My #2, Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes, should be here, but the BAFTAs this year, as you’ll see, were a little weak on highlighting British cinema.


  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

This is 4/5 of the Oscar category. Smith isn’t happening.

Really surprised they went with her over Charlotte Rampling, by the way. Haven’t seen either film, but Rampling seems like the more award-worthy performance on paper.

Still, they did a pretty damn good job, getting 4 of my top 5 on here (the 5th is Vikander for Ex Machina). I can live with this.

Supporting Actor:

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Surprised they generally liked Ex Machina but didn’t go for Oscar Isaac.

Still haven’t seen Beasts. Still think Ruffalo’s performance is overpraised.

In fact, none of the other three crack my top 5: Rylance is my #9, Bale my #11, and Del Toro my #13. I’ll root for Elba just on principle.

Hateful Eight Daisy

Daisy might not be too likable, but the awards groups love her. (Source)

Supporting Actress:

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
  • Julie Walters, Brooklyn
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Very glad to see Walters getting some love. She was a true scene-stealer in that film.

A good list overall. Vikander and Mara I consider Lead (my #2 and #12, respectively), but Leigh is my #3, Walters my #6 and Winslet my #7.

A little surprised they didn’t nominate Rachel McAdams. Not that she needed to be, but it shows they weren’t over the moon about Spotlight.

Original Screenplay:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight

A solid lineup of scripts. Even the weakest of them will still probably end up nominated by me (thanks to my adding a third Screenplay category). I think this has a decent shot at being the Oscar category, give or take Ex Machina. (I think Sicario will probably get in instead.)

Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Room
  • Steve Jobs

Another solid lineup. Glad they didn’t nominate The Revenant (since the writing isn’t actually that strong). I’m rooting for The Big Short all the way here, but there’s not a truly bad choice to be made here.


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

Wasn’t this the exact same five films the ASC picked? Isn’t someone going to recognize The Assassin?

At least Mad Max finally starts getting nominations. They might not let in the Picture or Director clubs, but they can’t deny it entirely.

(Also, having just seen The Revenant…holy shit.)

Big Short quad cast

Just part of the ensemble the editors had to juggle. (Source)


  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

I didn’t think The Revenant was spectacularly well-edited (it’s my #14), but otherwise this is a very strong category, yet again representing 4 of my top 5–including my top 3.

Production Design:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

No love for Crimson Peak, which is too bad. Still a solid list, as they all make my top 20 (and Max is my #2). This could be the Oscar list as well, though I’m a little iffy on Star Wars‘ chances.

Costume Design:

  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Again, leaving Crimson Peak off is unfortunate (perhaps it wasn’t eligible?), but otherwise these are all good to great choices.

Makeup & Hair:

  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Mad Max and The Revenant are both so good that the rest of the category hardly matters. The Danish Girl makes sense, Carol had some top-notch period hairstyles, and Brooklyn…well, I myself don’t know how it beat out The Hateful Eight. But that’s just me.

Original Music:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars and Hateful Eight are worthy. The Revenant is okay, but not really worth more than a nomination. Bridge is my #18 and Sicario is somewhere off my list. Not a banner year for film music, but at the very least Mad Max should be here.


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m toying with changing over to one sound category next year. In any case, Max is the clear winner for me here; Star Wars and The Martian are both excellent as well, but Bridge is an odd choice and The Revenant, while solid, wasn’t as sonically astounding as I was hoping. It’s my #10 in mixing and my #5 or 6 in Effects.

Special Visual Effects:

  • Ant-Man
  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Again, Max is by far my favorite here. Too bad The Walk didn’t make it. No bad choices, though.

Film Not in the English Language:

  • The Assassin
  • Force Majeure
  • Theeb
  • Timbuktu
  • Wild Tales

I’ve seen four of these. The Assassin is okay, Force Majeure is brilliant, Timbuktu is excellent, and Wild Tales is a lot of fun. I really want to see Theeb.

No Son of Saul, but it probably wasn’t eligible.


  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • He Named Me Malala
  • Listen to Me Marlon
  • Sherpa

Amy is walking away with this, no doubt.

I’m familiar with four of these, but not Sherpait’s a documentary about the Sherpas who guide climbers on Everest, and about an icefall which killed 16 of them. Might be worthwhile.

Animated Film:

  • Inside Out
  • Minions
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Only three nominees. That doesn’t look good. Especially when one of them is Minions. But Inside Out has this in the bag.

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer:

  • Stephen Fingleton (writer/director), The Survivalist
  • Alex Garland (director), Ex Machina
  • Debbie Tucker Green (writer/director), Second Coming
  • Sean McAllister (director/producer), Elhum Shakerifar (producer), A Syrian Love Story
  • Naji Abu Nowar (writer/director), Rupert Lloyd (producer), Theeb

I wonder if Garland has this sewn up or if they’ll give him Original Screenplay and let someone else take this.

Mad Max Hugh Keays Byrne

He has a word for the Picture and Director snubs. And it starts with “M”.

All right, let’s take stock of what we’ve got here:

  • Mad Max got shut out of Picture and Director, which doesn’t bode super well for the Oscars. I’d still be shocked if it got left out, but this probably scotches any chance it has of winning. Probably. However, it still got 7 nominations, and assuming it can repeat that at the Oscars (while possibly adding Score, since The Revenant is ineligible), it will probably have enough going for it to get it over the top and into Best Picture.
  • The Big Short continues its late surge. 5 nominations, including a surprise Director nod. Now, the BAFTAs and Oscars only matched up 3/5 in this category last year (they had Damien Chazelle and James Marsh, the Oscars had Bennett Miller and Morten Tyldum), so it’s not a sure thing that McKay will get an Oscar nod, but things are looking up for this one. There’s also the question of whether or not Christian Bale gets in, but we’ll worry about that later.
  • Spotlight only gets three noms, missing Director and Editing, which is…interesting. I don’t know if one should read too much into it, but you have to go back to 2004 to find the last Oscar winner for Director who didn’t get a BAFTA nom (and then you have to go back another 15 years before that). But since that puts both the frontrunners at a disadvantage, it makes one wonder…who the fuck is actually winning Best Director? As for Editing, between missing this and missing the Eddie, it’s not looking too good for its chances. You have to go back to 1992 to find an Editing winner that didn’t get nominated here. So Spotlight could, potentially, end up winning Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and nothing else. Which would be weird as fuck.
  • Bridge of Spies is holding on nicely, with a healthy 9 nods (tied with Carol for the most of the year). At this point I might need to recant my hesitation in predicting it in Best Picture. Director is another matter…but this is Spielberg we’re talking about.
  • Carol, likewise, is doing pretty fucking well, and assuming Haynes gets the DGA nod, the Oscars will follow suit. Which is peachy.
  • The Martian misses Picture and Adapted Screenplay but gets Director, Actor, and four other noms. I’m thinking the Academy will give it Picture and probably Screenplay (though at whose expense I am not sure), but it’s not as sure a thing as it once seemed.
  • Sicario is holding steady. Given that the Oscars could go up to 10, I think it’ll get on there, but it’ll probably end up as one of those solid nominees that isn’t actually a threat to win.
  • The Hateful Eight is pretty much a lock in three categories: Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress, and Score. Whether it gets anything else is up in the air; I maintain it could sneak into Cinematography, and wouldn’t totally rule out Picture, but these three are pretty much set in stone.
  • Steve Jobs, likewise, has Adapted Screenplay and Actor in the bag (for nominations), with Supporting Actress a likely prospect and Original Score and Editing solid possibilities. Not too bad for a film whose box-office failure is borderline-infamous.
  • Bryan Cranston might just be an Oscar nominee yet. That’s cool.
  • I don’t know how to feel about Paul Dano’s chances. I don’t know how much of an impression Love & Mercy made in the UK, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry, but it’d be a damn shame if he and the film get completely overlooked.
  • Idris Elba might just be an Oscar nominee yet as well. That’s pretty sweet.

I think I’ll close with that. Ol’ Mary Todd’s calling.


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