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For Your Consideration: Predicting the BAFTA Award Nominations

For Your Consideration: Predicting the BAFTA Award Nominations

After taking a little break for the holidays, awards season is back in full swing. The National Society of Film Critics and the Producers Guild of America each lent their stamps of approval earlier this week just as Oscar voters rush to get in their ballots (which are due this Thursday at 5pm PST). We’ve updated our big Oscar prediction charts accordingly, but we thought we’d also take a stab at Oscar’s British sibling BAFTA, which will be announcing their annual nominations on Friday.

The first group to announce after Oscar voting closes, the BAFTA nominations won’t have a direct influence on those choices. However, they could be very telling anyway. BAFTA membership crosses over significantly with the Academy, and their picks should make clear what the British contingent of Oscar voters are leaning toward. Last year, all five of the BAFTA nominees for Best Picture went onto Oscar nominations, while 14 out of 20  acting nominees did the same. Though notably two of the actors that did not make BAFTA’s cut — Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto — went on to win Oscars, so it’s definitely not a full-fledged crystal ball. Which is part of what makes the BAFTAs such an interesting aspect of awards season: They tend to go their own way a lot more than, say, the Critics Choice or Golden Globes. And that way usually is in the direction of homegrown films.

There’s a lot of British films in the conversation this year. “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” lead the pack, but “Mr. Turner,” “Pride,” “Locke” and “Under The Skin” have also got a few major mentions here and there. And if “Gravity” could be considered a British film at the BAFTAs last year (it won their separate prize for best local film), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — a British/German co-production — certainly could be this year. Add that to films with British components — “Selma” has a very British cast, “Wild” is written by a Brit, “Gone Girl” stars one — and there’s definitely no shortage of UK talent for BAFTA voters to check off. What will that end up looking like when the nominations are announced? Our best guesses in the major categories below:

Best Film

Last Year’s Nominees:
“12 Years a Slave” (Winner)
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Gravity”
“Philomena”

Oscar crossover: 5/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Boyhood
“Birdman”
“The Imitation Game”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”

Is it this simple? The five films that seem most likely to nab Oscar nominations for Best Picture are the five films that make BAFTA’s cut? It kind of makes sense. “Birdman” and “Boyhood” are both basically sure things, and the three others — “The Imitation Game,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Selma” — are either very British or have very British casts. The soaring “Grand Budapest Hotel” (itself very British) seems like the spoiler, but we can’t decide which one it would take out.

Best Director

Last Year’s Nominees:
Alfonso Cuarón – “Gravity” (Winner)
Steve McQueen – “12 Years a Slave”
David O. Russell – “American Hustle”
Paul Greengrass – “Captain Phillips”
Martin Scorsese – “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Oscar crossover: 4/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay – “Selma”
Alejandro González Iñárritu – “Birdman”
Mike Leigh – “Mr. Turner”
Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”

It might be foolish to switch out “Imitation Game” director Morten Tyldum and “Theory of Everything” filmmaker James Marsh here, but it seems like BAFTA voters are more likely to opt to reward the men behind “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Mr. Turner” in this category instead. Wes Anderson and Mike Leigh surely have a lot of support, and both films were British productions or co-productions. Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) is probably next in line to miss out in favor of one of them, but it’s definitely hard to imagine Iñárritu or Linklater falling out.

Best Actress

Last Year’s Nominees:
Cate Blanchett – “Blue Jasmine” (Winner)
Amy Adams – “American Hustle”
Sandra Bullock – “Gravity”
Judi Dench – “Philomena”
Emma Thompson – “Saving Mr. Banks”

Oscar crossover: 4/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Marion Cotillard – “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones – “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore – “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”

Brits Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) seem like safe bets, as do Oscar locks Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”). Jennifer Aniston, however, appears to be ineligible here for “Cake.” That that contested fifth slot will likely go to either Marion Cotillard (“Two Days, One Night”), who has been a favorite at BAFTA (she was nominated for Oscar-snubbed “Rust and Bone” two years ago), or Emily Blunt, another Brit who has a bit of momentum for “Into The Woods.” But our fingers are crossed that Scarlett Johannson pulls off a major surprise and gets in here for “Under The Skin.” Johansson is still somehow Oscar nomination-less, but she’s been honored at BAFTA plenty. In 2003, they gave her two nominations in this category for “Lost in Translation” (for which she won) and “The Girl With The Pearl Earring.”

Best Actor

Last Year’s Nominees:
Chiwetel Ejiofor – “12 Years a Slave” (Winner)
Christian Bale – “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern – “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Tom Hanks – “Captain Phillips”

Oscar crossover: 4/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
David Oyelowo – “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne – “The Theory of Everything”
Timothy Spall – “Mr. Turner”

This category is absolutely the toughest call. It could easily be entirely filled with British men, with Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), David Oyelowo (“Selma”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner”) and Ralph Fiennes (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) all arguably giving the performances of their careers this year. But that would mean Oscar frontrunner Michael Keaton would miss out for “Birdman” — and that is hard to picture. So who misses out? Probably Fiennes, though everyone is vulnerable. And there’s also Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) and Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”), both of whom shouldn’t be counted out either.

Best Supporting Actress

Last Year’s Nominees:
Jennifer Lawrence – “American Hustle”
Sally Hawkins – “Blue Jasmine”
Lupita Nyong’o – “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts – “August: Osage County”
Oprah Winfrey – “The Butler”

Oscar crossover: 4/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”
Imelda Staunton – “Pride”
Emma Stone – “Birdman”
Tilda Swinton – “Snowpiercer”

The supporting categories are where the BAFTAs are most likely to stray significantly from the assumed Oscar nominees. The British likes of Dorothy Atkinson (“Mr. Turner”), Imelda Staunton (“Pride”) and Tilda Swinton (“Snowpiercer”) will definitely give Oscar’s likely quintet of Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”), Jessica Chastain (“A Most Violent Year”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Emma Stone (“Birdman”) and Meryl Streep (“Into The Woods”) a run for their money. But who exactly is in and out as a result is one of the bigger question marks leading up to the nomination announcement. We say Chastain and Streep lose out to Staunton and Swinton, but that’s far from a safe bet.

Best Supporting Actor

Last Year’s Nominees:
Barkhad Abdi – “Captain Phillips” (Winner)
Daniel Brühl – “Rush”
Bradley Cooper – “American Hustle”
Matt Damon – “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Fassbender – “12 Years a Slave”

Oscar crossover: 2/5

This Year’s Predictions:
Ethan Hawke – “Boyhood”
Bill Nighy – “Pride”
Edward Norton – “Birdman”
JK Simmons – “Whiplash”
Tom Wilkinson – “Selma”

JK Simmons (“Whiplash”), Edward Norton (“Birdman”) and to a slightly lesser extent Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”) are fairly safe calls here, but those last two slots are ripe for surprise. Most Oscar prognosticators think Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”) and Robert Duvall (“The Judge”) take them with the American Academy, but their British counterparts might mix things up with Tom Wilkinson (“Selma”), Bill Nighy (“Pride”) and/or Charlie Cox (if they really like “The Theory of Everything”). Note that last year this category only went two for five when it compared to Oscar.

Best British Film

Last Year’s Nominees:
“Gravity”
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
“Philomena”
“Rush”
“Saving Mr. Banks”
“The Selfish Giant”

Oscar crossover: N/A

This Year’s Predictions:
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Mr. Turner”
“Pride”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Under The Skin”

For fun we thought we’d throw in predictions for Best British Film, which last year somewhat controversially went to the minimally British “Gravity.” As we’ve made clear, there’s no shortage of options, with “The Imitation Game,” “Mr. Turner” and “The Theory of Everything” the sure things. If “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is deemed British enough, it’s in too, with “Pride,” “’71,” “Locke” and “Under The Skin” the most likely films to take the remaining slots. Or maybe somehow BAFTA will find a way to make “Birdman” and “Boyhood” qualify as British (we joke).

Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Contributing Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

Check out Indiewire’s latest chart of Oscar predictions here.

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