If you took the winners sheet of the 66th British Academy Film Awards and transcribed it onto your prediction sheet for the Oscars, I get the feeling you wouldn’t be terribly far off. Obviously the director race is still up in the air, but two weeks from the big night and things are solidifying rather nicely. Rarely do the words “solidify” and “nicely” belong in the same sentence in relation to the Oscars, but this year is ringing somewhat agreeably, even if few of the eventual winners match my favorites in the category to a tee. So ran the BAFTA awards, which had plenty of surprises up its sleeve and, as alluded to above, may be most indicative of where the season’s heading.
Argo went home with the top two prizes for Film and Director, along with an Editing merit for William Goldenberg. Proponents of Lincoln may not be so enthused to see the film remains scarcely served on awards circuit, Tony Kushner not even scooping up an Adapted Screenplay win. Not that they should sulk too much, since Daniel Day-Lewis remains the surest thing of this season. Love was spread generously across the board, Skyfall grabbing Outstanding British Film and a surprise Original Music win for Thomas Newman. Life of Pi scooped up Cinematography and Visual Effects, both practically locked for the Oscars.
Where Silver Linings Playbook was jammed out of any performance wins, David O. Russell was rewarded for cleverly adapted screenplay on the film. On the original end of screenplays, Django Unchained brought hope back to the surface that Tarantino might rise to the podium on Oscar night. Christoph Waltz, too, has been an expanding presence in the Supporting Actor race, perhaps gaining so much respect for the simple fact that he didn’t disappear entirely after Inglourious Basterds. Les Miserables loss in the British Film race hardly snuffed out its favor amongst voters, garnering Sound, Production Design, Makeup and Hair wins alongside the given triumph of Anne Hathaway. I would, however, like to at some point open up a conversation about Hathaway’s performance as a whole, rather than simply her four minutes of bravery in “I Dreamed a Dream”.
One of the major surprises of the night which may have ramifications on Oscar night is Brave‘s Animated Feature win. On the one hand, many felt Frankenweenie was a given for the British Academy’s tastes. On the other hand, they are right next door to Scotland. Only time will tell how much this means to the race in the grand scheme of the season. I have a theory though that one win which will prove especially foretelling is Emmanuelle Riva’s for Best Actress. Some may suspect this is simply the Brit’s tastes, and it may well turn out that way, but Riva’s mere nomination has changed the game radically enough.
Lastly, I feel obligated by personal affinity to mention Lynne Ramsay’s Swimmer, which won the Short Film award and which is now online in its full 15 minute capacity. I encourage it be watched and admired. You can take a look at the full list of BAFTA winners below, courtesy of the British Academy of Film and Televisions Arts website.
66th British Academy Film
Best Film: Argo
Best Director: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer: Bart Layton, The Imposter
Outstanding British Film: Skyfall
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Film Not in the English Language: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Cinematography: Life of Pi
Best Original Music: Skyfall
Best Sound: Les Miserables
Best Production Design: Les Miserables
Best Visual Effects: Life of Pi
Best Costume Design: Anna Karenina
Best Makeup and Hair: Les Miserables
Best Editing: Argo
Best Short Animation: The Making of Longbird
Best Short Film: Swimmer
EE Rising Star Award: Juno Temple