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The BAFTAs will take place on Sunday 13th March, closely followed by the Oscars on Sunday 27th March – and the nominees have already been announced. And while some pundits will undoubtedly be able to say that they predicted the shortlists, for the rest of us, there are definitely some surprises.
Leonardo DiCaprio was recognised by BAFTA, earning a nomination in the Leading Actor category for Don’t Look Up. Adam McKay’s film proved divisive with both critics and audiences, but both awards bodies lavished it with nominations: it got four BAFTA nominations and four Oscar nominations, including Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score.
Unfortunately, despite attracting a similar amount of attention from press and fans, House Of Gucci didn’t get as much love. Despite a nomination in the Outstanding British Film category and a Best Leading Actress nod from BAFTA, on the other side of the Atlantic voters were less keen, and the film was only recognised in the Best Makeup And Hair category.
Speaking of hair and makeup, we’re not surprised to see Jessica Chastain in the shortlist for the Best Actress Oscar: her transformation into televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye was really incredible. It’s also fantastic to see Kristen Stewart in the running for her turn in Spencer, while the ever-brilliant Olivia Colman might pip them both to the post for her role in The Lost Daughter.
(Oddly, Colman doesn’t seem to have been nominated for a BAFTA – what happened there?)
One thing that really stood out to us, looking at the nominees, is that getting a theatrical release now seems to be less important to a film’s chances than it used to be. The debate about whether or not films released straight to streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon should be eligible for Academy Awards had been going on for a while, but the pandemic seems to have put an end to it.
Last year, the Academy eased up on its rules about theatrical exhibition because cinemas had to be closed for much of the year. That could have been a one-off, due to the circumstances, but this year the same exemption has been made. It’s still possible that the rule will be reinstated next year, but it seems more likely that this change will become permanent. For better or worse, films that aren’t shown in cinemas are being given the same consideration as films that are.
In terms of diversity, there are a couple of things to celebrate. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car is the first Japanese film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and Hamaguchi is also in the running for Best Director, which – we hope! – shows that the Academy is continuing to broaden its horizons by considering foreign language films.
Another first, also in the Best Director category, is that Jane Campion is now the first woman to receive two nominations for that particular statuette. Her first, for The Piano in 1994, saw her lose out to Steven Spielberg. He’s also nominated this year, for West Side Story. Will we see history repeat itself? Only time will tell – though according to the bookmakers, her main competition is Kenneth Branagh, for Belfast.
The most fiercely coveted award, of course, is the one for Best Picture (or Best Film, in BAFTA parlance). There’s a full overlap between the two awards shortlists, with every film nominated for a BAFTA also nominated for the Oscar: Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Dune, Licorice Pizza, and The Power Of The Dog all stand a chance of picking up both gongs.
There are more films in contention for the Oscar than for the BAFTA, though: West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, King Richard, Drive My Car, and CODA are all also in the running. That means, for the second year running, there are two films directed by women in that category. It’s the kind of progress that’s been a long time coming – only 18 films directed by women have ever been nominated for that honour – but it’s great to see things moving in the right direction, no matter how slowly.
So what’s our money on? That’d be telling! What we can say is that we’ve got big plans for our Awards Season here at Regent Street Cinema. Stay tuned for more information – and if there’s something you missed that you’d like a chance to see up on the big screen, do drop us a line