‘King’s Speech’ leads BAFTA list with 14 nods

Posted by · 11:53 pm · January 17th, 2011

If you’ve been with us for a couple of years, you’ll know that the BAFTA nominations infuriate me on an annual basis. However, my therapist recently advised me that I need to heal my relationship with BAFTA through forgiveness, so I’ll lead with few the things that pleased me about this morning’s announcement.

For one thing, though the longlists already tipped us off to most of the “surprises” here, I’m happy to see Julianne Moore finally nominated alongside her “The Kids Are All Right” co-star Annette Bening in a serious Best Actress race. Pete Postlethwaite’s posthumous nomination for “The Town” (his first from BAFTA, unbelievably, and the only one for Ben Affleck’s film) is shamelessly rooted in sentiment, but happily, it happens to come for a striking mini-performance anyway.

While it was inevitable that Brit hit “The King’s Speech” would lead the field, it’s nice to “Black Swan” close behind with 12 nods, including mentions for its contemporary production and costume design.

I’m glad BAFTA voters have partially forgiven Mike Leigh: with only two nominations, neither of them for his screenplay, “Another Year” got less than its due, but it’s an improvement on his 2008 donut for “Happy-Go-Lucky.” And while the unpreviewed Best British Film category could be more adventurous (“Neds,” people? “Monsters?”), voters at least put a stop to “Kick-Ass”‘s grim run through the British awards circuit.

Okay, I’m done being nice. Despite odd commendable details, this remains a list riddled with lame-brained decisions, many of which show up crippling flaws in BAFTA’s voting system. Theirs is the reverse of the AMPAS drill: while the winners in each category are determined by the applicable voting branch (or “chapter,” in BAFTAspeak), the entire BAFTA membership votes on the nominees across the board. And the cluelessness of some voters about crafts unrelated to theirs is all too evident in some cases.

How else to explain “TRON Legacy” (one of the VFX chapter’s top five choices, as marked on the longlists) missing out for Best Visual Effects, while “Toy Story 3” slides in? Or “Winter’s Bone” (again, a chapter pick) losing out to “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” in Best Adapted Screenplay? (Debra Granik’s film, by the way, gets zero respect from BAFTA, with Jennifer Lawrence cockblocked — again — by the Lisbeth Salander phenomenon.) How is this a preferable way to run things?

Over in Best Score, we know that the music branch would have nominated Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but their work evidently went over the heads of the non-pros, who replaced it with “127 Hours.” “The Social Network,” by the way, didn’t have the best of mornings: with only six bids, it’s the least-nominated of BAFTA’s five Best Film contenders, further suggesting that we’re likely in for a night of patriotic “King’s Speech” petting. (Side note: the nomination leader, or co-leader, hasn’t lost the top prize at the BAFTAs since 2003.)

Of course, some of the most vexing decisions here were also made by the voting chapters. I continue to be mystified by “Despicable Me”‘s showing in the race thus far, as it once more elbowed British production “The Illusionist” out of the animated race — in a banner year for the medium, could this trifle really be our third Oscar nominee?

I suspect many eyebrows will be raised by the Best Supporting Actress category, where, as foretold by the longlists, Barbara Hershey beat her younger, buzzier “Black Swan” co-star Mila Kunis to a nomination, despite the latter’s more impressive showing on the American awards trail. This is Hershey’s first major nod of the season — could BAFTA be previewing an Oscar surprise here, as they did with Alan Alda in 2004? I’m starting to wonder.

That’s not the only talking point in that race, as Golden Globe champ and de facto Oscar frontrunner Melissa Leo was frozen out, while her co-star Amy Adams made the cut. This isn’t the first time Adams has elbowed aside a more-hyped senior co-star at the BAFTAs — two years ago, Viola Davis was similarly snubbed for “Doubt.” When in doubt, British voters pick the name they know best. Or, to stick to my Twitter line: “If you’re an older actress and you want a BAFTA, do not co-star with Amy Adams. SHE WILL DEVOUR YOUR DREAMS.”

With Hailee Steinfeld rightly promoted to Best Actress (where she finds herself nominated in place of chapter choices Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan), the Best Supporting Actress race is, again, the least predictable one here.

Anyway, enough from me. The BAFTAs will take place on Sunday 13 February. I plan to be in Berlin then — and frankly, the less I have to think about them, the better. Full list of nominations at The Circuit.

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65 responses so far

  • 1 1-18-2011 at 7:17 am

    Maxim said...

    “Non-Pros? This is exactly a Pro would do, coz a Pro knows that there is more to music than just creating an ambience for visuals on screen.”

    And I guess that makes you a “Pro” too, despite an utter failure to understand what makes good film music.

  • 2 1-18-2011 at 7:44 am

    Maxim said...

    Lastly, although they were only relatively briefly in the movie, I feel that both Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper gave terrific performances in the movie. I think that both deserve at least as much recognition as Damon and Bridges.

  • 3 1-18-2011 at 7:55 am

    Patryk said...

    Best news here: Barbara Hershey.

  • 4 1-18-2011 at 8:11 am

    Patryk said...

    Seems BAFTA only likes Tilda Swinton in supporting roles in American films. Go figure.

  • 5 1-18-2011 at 8:19 am

    Doug said...

    No ‘Never Let Me Go’?

  • 6 1-18-2011 at 8:20 am

    John said...

    Nice to see Rapace getting the proper praise for that performance. Other than Ms. Portman, she’s the strongest of the contenders for this slot. Also, good script, so nice to see it get praised there. Finally, it’s a darn shame that this movie is so prevalent in the Foreign Film categories in this year’s race, yet it’s not eligible for the Academy’s slot. Darn shame.

    Glad to see Hershey get praise. Nice nod for Postlethwaite. Hailee is the lead, so good to see that.

    Since they were thinking outside the box, would have been good to see DiCaprio get a nod, but ah well.

  • 7 1-18-2011 at 10:03 am

    Chris said...

    I don’t understand how anyone could praise the diversity of these noms, when they only nominated 22 films in 19 categories (excluding Best Debut and Rising Star). Yeah, sure they nominated people whom nobody else nominated. But it’s still the same films over and over again, especially in the technical races.

  • 8 1-18-2011 at 10:18 am

    Paul8148 said...

    The big three things to me is Steinfeld and Manville placements and can Bardem and his A-list friends pull the nom out.

  • 9 1-18-2011 at 10:44 am

    AdamL said...

    Yeah I’m a Brit and I also hate the BAFTAs. Do like the Noomi Rapace nom though.

  • 10 1-18-2011 at 2:36 pm

    matsunaga said...

    I don’t get the love for The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo? Good thing they didn’t nominate it for Best Film….

    Apparently, they let go of Never Let Me Go….

    It’s sad that Shutter Island and one of the year’s best The Ghost Writer continue to be snubbed… I hope AMPAS gets to nominate them…

    And why do I have a feeling they might give the win to Franco? Well I might be wrong…

    It seems like BAFTA choices were a little all over the place this year… Well nice to see surprises for Moore and Leo missing out a nomination… I just hope they included Kidman instead of Repace…

  • 11 1-18-2011 at 3:52 pm

    ninja said...

    Kudos to BAFTA for stirring things up. Awards have been a predictable snooze up to this point so maybe something else but TSN wins this time around. Also, nice to see Steinfeld in the right category cause BSA is one of the biggest category frauds ever. She`s bone fide lead, WTF.

    That said, too much love for the year`s most overrated movie and performance – GWTDT. A by the numbers been-theere-done-that “thriller” with no thrills since the killer is obvious form the first scene he/she`s in. A broding, ultra-obnoxious main character with one facial expression. How`s this crap raking up so much acclaim? Radical feminism is hot again? Whatever. I`m sure Fincher will make much better movie so they should save their love for that.

  • 12 1-18-2011 at 4:36 pm

    Stephen Holt said...

    Hi Guy! I’m a big fan. But I guess you haven’t been following me and MY Oscar blog, because I’ve been saying it may be Annette AND Julianne and NOOOOOM!

    Also,I’ve been positing Barbara Hersey in Supp. NOT Mediocre Mila K. FOR MONTHS! AND Leslie Manville.

    I’m British by descent, and went to school in England and lived there on and off a lot in the -70s-80s, so I feel more cued in to a European mind set.

    But I feel that “The King’s Speech” is going to REALLY sweep. And when AMPAS members are undecided, they look East. To the BAFTAS. So look out Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and that movie about typing!

  • 13 1-18-2011 at 5:39 pm

    overseer said...


    It was music that made the film look great, but not great music!

  • 14 1-18-2011 at 5:53 pm

    Jason. said...

    Julianne Moore, throughout the whole season I saw her as the one whose gonna take that 5th Best Actress slot at the Oscars. Annette Bening is taking her along for the ride. I’m pretty sure AMPAS voters won’t just vote for Bening and not Moore seeing as how pretty much all of Bening’s scenes are shared with Moore.
    As for the Best Supporting Actress it is odd to nominate Adams and not nominate her co-star Leo. Though maybe Leo isn’t as well known as Adams in the UK or maybe its just that they like the Las Vegas & Detroit critics groups saw that Adams was simply better.
    As for Barbara Hershey, though it’s nice, shes not getting that Oscar nomination. This same thing happened before with Hershey. She got the Best Supporting Actress BAFTA nod but failed to get the Oscar nod for Hannah and Her Sisters over Dianne Wiest in the same film who took home the Oscar.
    Kunis will get in based on her blazing sexuality. It’s the same thing that got Cruz her nomination for Nine.