Sunday 12 February 2012

Baftas 2012 Predictions

Yes the big film event that everybody has been waiting for is upon us. No, not the Oscars, the Baftas. Infamous for being one of the most snooze-inducing film ceremony (well at least they never had Rob Lowe dancing with Snow White), their profile has risen over the last few years as they seemed to have become a more reliable indicator of the Oscars than the Golden Globes, although this year their nominations vary wildly. It is still a shame that they do not solely represent home grown talents, as the majority of film awards in other countries do (in Spain, France, and even Canada) but we cannot ignore them so we might as well discuss them!

I am finding making some predictions a little harder than last year, when I scored a respectable 5 out of 6 correct awards predictions (and 6 out of 6 at the Oscars!). Last year The Social Network, once the hot favourite, was losing momentum while the juggernaut The King's Speech was about to win everything. That the British academy chose to ignore so many talents in a particularly rich and diverse year for British cinema is unforgivable, but it could be an interesting night with many surprises.

Best Film:

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The Artist win is perhaps less of a dead cert than at the Oscars. For the last few years the Brits have got used to dominating the Oscars, and while The Artist has been well loved in the UK, I could not help noticing a certain jealousy that, for once, it was the French's turn to come up with a small film/underdog which unexpectedly goes on an awards winning streak. Even such enlightened papers such as The Guardian, while giving the film a very positive review, seems to have welcomed its ongoing awards season success through gritted teeth. Which is why I do wonder if Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy could create an upset, although, since there is a separate Best British Film category, it is more likely that the John Le Carre adaptation will win this instead.

Best Director:

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive
Martin Scorsese for Hugo
Tomas Alfredson for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Lynne Ramsay for We need to talk about Kevin

Probably the trickiest category to predict. Nicolas Winding Refn has enjoyed a lot more love from this side of the pond and he has already won best director in Cannes. But Martin Scorsese did impress with his loving recreation of the wonder wold of early cinema days, for a completely different kind of film that we had been accustomed to. Obviously The Artist owes a great deal of its success to its delicate direction, which made what could have easily turned into a pastiche a magical love letter to silent cinema. And let's not forget the meticulate direction of Tomas Alfredson, or the fact that We need to talk about Kevin won Best Film at the London Film Festival this year. Solely because there are so many choices to pick, I will still go with Michel Hazanavicius as the most likely contender to win it.

Leading Actor:

Brad Pitt for Moneyball
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Solider Spy
George Clooney for The Descendants
Jean Dujardin for The Artist
Michael Fassbender for Shame

George Clooney is the favourite for the Oscars, although I do feel his performance is not quite groundbreaking enough to warrant a trophy on this particular occasion. Michael Fassbender is on fire at the moment and won best actor in Venice but there are still some who might have been put off by the subject matter of the film. Jean Dujardin is absolutely fantastic in The Artist and I have a feeling he will actually beat George Clooney at the Oscars. Still, it might seem like a leftfield choice but I think it will be Gary Oldman night tonight. He is pretty much British acting royalty and is long due an acting award for such a prestigious career plus Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a massive hit in the UK. While he was the first serious early contender, and seemed to have been overtaken in the odds since, I believe it will be his night still. Expect a standing ovation if he does win,

Leading Actress:

Berenice Bejo for The Actress
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn
Tilda Swinton for We need to talk about Kevin
Viola Davis for The Help

I have this nagging feeling that Viola Davis is on her way to Oscar glory. But as far as the Baftas are concerned, I cannot see how this will not go to Meryl Streep. That she can still surprise us after so many incredible performance is a testament to her formidable skills. The Iron Lady was not well received and it is an understatement to say that Margaret Thatcher remains a controversial personality in the UK, but I cannot see how the Brits will resists offer La Streep an award for her fantastic portrayal of a British icon.

Supporting Actress:

Carey Mulligan for Drive
Jessica Chastain for Help
Judy Dench for My Week With Marylin
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer for The Help

It is nice to see Carey Mulligan getting a nomination for her much more subtle performance in Drive rather than her cringe-worthy one in Shame. Jessica Chastain deserves an award of some sort but with so many performances to choose from, there is not one that seems to stand out, mainly because she is excellent in every film she is in. It is surprising to see that Vanessa Redgrave was not even nominated for her powerful performance in Coriolanus but I do feel Octavia Spencer, while perhaps a less certain choice than at the Oscars, since The Help did not quite triumph as it did in the US, will still win it with her crowd-pleasing performance from an underrated actress who has been under the radar for too long.

Supporting Actor:

Christopher Plummer for Beginners
Jim Broadbent for The Iron Lady
Jonah Hill for Moneyball
Kenneth Branagh for My Week With Marilyn
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Ides of March

Christopher Plummer might be the favourite but his performance is a little one-note and obvious. There is a lot of love for Kenneth Branagh at the moment, who after a somehow sagging career has shown us some new depth in his acting skills, and was rightly rewarded with a Bafta TV award for Wallander in 2009. Here in My Week with Marilyn he tackled yet another British acting institution, Sir Laurence Olivier, and I do feel that he is going to walk away with it.

Sadly circumstances mean that while I shall be watching the awards tonight, I will not be able to live blog last year on the account of going to a champagne Bafta party, join me tomorrow when I embarrass myself with the details of all my incorrect predictions!

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