Awards Christopher Machell

Baftas 2018: Our predictions

With the UK’s most prestigious film and television awards taking place later today (18 February), it’s time to enter into a round of foolproof – or is that foolhardy? – predictions on who will win at the 71st British Academy Film Awards. To add an extra level of frisson, the Baftas are historically seen as an indicator of Oscar winners, so the outcome on Sunday night will surely be seen as a predictor for the Academy Awards in March. Now, on with our predictions.

BEST FILM – NOMINEES
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water

A strong line up, to be sure, all of which appear to have a shot at the title. But dig a little deeper and things aren’t as simple, as several of the entries have been dogged by some controversy. Three Billboards has been accused of racism in some quarters, whereas Darkest Hour’s simplified historical drama has proved a damp for many. Its WWII counterpart, Dunkirk, may also be seen as a Brexit metaphor too far. The Shape of Water too, is currently being accused of plagiarism, and gay drama Call Me By Your Name has been predictably shunned by the Fox News crowd, so it’s hardly plain sailing for any of this year’s entries.

Nevertheless, The Shape of Water is not just a safe bet – it has proved consistently popular with audiences and critics, with many calling it among director Guillermo del Toro’s best work.

Winner: The Shape of Water

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM  – NOMINEES
Darkest Hour
The Death of Stalin
God’s Own Country
Lady Macbeth
Paddington 2
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Another cracking and diverse set of entries here. After Darkest Hour misses out on the Best Film gong, it might get a crack at the whip here, but beyond its central performance there really isn’t much of substance here. Similarly, Chris Morris’ satire The Death of Stalin may suffer as a comedy, whereas Lady Macbeth, though superb, came out too early in the year to make enough of a splash at awards season.

Really, though, is there any question what this one will go to? Marmalade jars at the ready.

Winner: Paddington 2

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER – NOMINEES
The Ghoul: Gareth Tunley (Writer/Director/Producer), Jack Healy Guttmann & Tom Meeten (Producers)
I am Not a Witch: Rungano Nyoni (Writer/Director), Emily Morgan (Producer)
Jawbone: Johnny Harris (Writer/Producer), Thomas Napper (Director)
Kingdom of Us: Lucy Cohen (Director)
Lady Macbeth: Alice Birch (Writer), William Oldroyd (Director), Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Producer)

An award that sets out the British Academy as a champion of home-grown new talent, previous winners include Bart Layton (director) and Dmitri Doganis (producer) – The Imposter Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill and Lucan Toh for last year’s Iran-set terrific Under the Shadow, and Stephen Beresford and David Livingstone for the beloved Pride. As fun as Jawbone is, it’s perhaps not up to taking on heavy-hitters like The Ghoul or haunting doc Kingdom of Us. William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth is a strong runner in this race, but its Zambian setting and timely subject matter on the exploitation of young women make Rungano Nyoni’s effort the real standout in this category.

Winner: I Am Not a Witch

DOCUMENTARY – NOMINEES
City Of Ghosts
I Am Not Your Negro
Icarus
An Inconvenient Sequel
Jane

While the line up here is very strong, there are three leading contenders: Icarus, An Inconvenient Sequel and Jane, all of which could easily take the gong. However, Al Gore’s follow-up to his Inconvenient Truth could hardly be said to have made the same impact as the original, essentially foretelling more of the same environmental disaster, but worse. And it’s questionable whether Icarus connected with audiences sufficiently to put it ahead of the pack. In contrast, Brett Morgen’s study of Jane Goodall ticks a lot of the right boxes – a beloved national treasure as its subject, gorgeous photography, all wrapped up in an environmental message that is neither controversial nor doom-laden.

Winner: Jane

ANIMATED FILM – NOMINEES
Coco
Loving Vincent
My Life as a Courgette

There may be only three nominations in this category (seriously, where is the Lego Batman Movie?), but at least that means we don’t have to endure the ludicrous prospect of Boss Baby being nominated for a Golden Globe, an Oscar and a Bafta. My Life as A Courgette was a beautiful, mature story but seen by too few. Similarly, the seven-year production cycle of Loving Vincent, in which every frame literally is a painting, is a stunning technical but perhaps didn’t quite connect with audiences.

But with Pixar knocking it out of the park (again) with Coco, is there any doubt as to who will ultimately walk away with the award?

Winner: Coco

DIRECTOR – NOMINEES
Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

The front-runners for Best Director are undoubtedly Denis Villeneuve, Christopher Nolan, and Guillermo del Toro. However, with the Blade Runner sequel more likely to clean up in the technical categories and not nominated for Best Picture, it’s improbable that Villeneuve will walk away with the coveted Bafta mask. Seven out of the previous ten Best Director wins went to the Best Film winner, so if that pattern is to be believed, and The Shape of Water does indeed take Best Picture as predicted, that leaves one clear winner.

Winner: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – NOMINEES
Get Out, Jordan Peele
I, Tonya, Steven Rogers
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Without nominations in any other categories, we might expect the judges to reward Jordan Peele for his searing Get Out screenplay here, and they may well do that. However, there are no women nominated for Best Director, and all of the Best Picture nominations were directed by men. Accordingly, the Academy will be unlikely not to take this opportunity to reward a female writer, so there is only one clear choice here.

Winner: Lady Bird

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – NOMINEES
Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory
The Death of Stalin, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, David Schneider
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Matt Greenhalgh
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Paddington 2, Simon Farnaby, Paul King

Simon Farnaby and Paul King’s warm screenplay for the second Paddington outing potentially puts this ahead, though after it wins Best British film the Academy may want to reward another team. Ianucci’s satirical The Death of Stalin and Greenhalgh’s moving work for Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool are the most obvious choice, but with so much buzz around it, and losing out in the other categories, our money’s on James Ivory’s screenplay.

Winner: Call Me By Your Name

LEADING ACTRESS – NOMINEES
Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Five nominees in this category and all, frankly deserve to win. Saoirse Ronan could easily walk away with Best Actress to accompany Greta Gerwig’s Best Screenplay. Equally, Sally Hawkins’ achingly romantic turn in The Shape of Water and Annette Bening’s heartbreaking performance as waned star Gloria Grahame are both worthy of the award. But there’s little doubt who will take it on the night, with McDormand’s blistering role as grieving mother Mildred arguably her best ever.

Winner: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

LEADING ACTOR – NOMINEES
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name

While it would be wonderful to see Jamie Bell pick up a gong for his career-best turn, or indeed rising stars Daniel Kaluuya and Timothée Chalamet take the award, there are only really two horses in this race: Daniel Day-Lewis and Gary Oldman. Day-Lewis gives arguably the more accomplished performance, as his (allegedly) final role, he may yet take the award. But the buzz has almost exclusively been around Oldman’s choleric turn as Winston Churchill. Oldman’s histrionics and the prosthetics that transform into the jowly war Prime Minister are pure awards bait.

Winner: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

SUPPORTING ACTRESS – NOMINEES
Allison Janney I, Tonya
Kristen Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

This race is much closer than the leading actress category, with performances across the board. Nevertheless, out of the five nominees, Allison Janney, Laurie Metcalf and Lesley Manville are the most likely to take it. Metcalf’s beleaguered mother in Lady Bird has received universal acclaim, but there’s been buzz around Janney and Manville too. Between these three, this one is anyone’s guess.

Winner: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

SUPPORTING ACTOR – NOMINEES
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Hugh Grant, Paddington 2
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

There are only two horses in this race. Christopher Plummer, for all his exceptional last-minute work, will find his nomination unfortunately tainted with the controversy of his predecessor. Woody Harrelson gave was excellent, but overshadowed by his co-star Sam Rockwell, and Hugh Grant, is well, Hugh Grant. It could easily go to Rockwell, but with little recognition elsewhere, the smart money is on Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project.

Winner: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

ORIGINAL MUSIC – NOMINEES
Blade Runner 2049, Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer
Darkest Hour, Dario Marianelli
Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat

Winner: The Shape of Water

CINEMATOGRAPHY – NOMINEES
Blade Runner 2049, Roger Deakins
Darkest Hour,Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema
The Shape Of Water, Dan Laustsen
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Ben Davis

Winner: Blade Runner 2049

EDITING – NOMINEES
Baby Driver, Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
Blade Runner 2049, Joe Walker
Dunkirk, Lee Smith
The Shape Of Water, Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jon Gregory

Winner: Baby Driver

PRODUCTION DESIGN – NOMINEES
Beauty And The Beast, Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
Blade Runner 2049, Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
Darkest Hour, Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
Dunkirk, Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
The Shape Of Water, Paul Austerberry, Jeff Melvin, Shane Vieau

Winner: The Shape Of Water

COSTUME DESIGN – NOMINEES
Beauty And The Beast, Jacqueline Durran
Darkest Hour, Jacqueline Durran
I, Tonya, Jennifer Johnson
Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges
The Shape Of Water, Luis Sequeira

Winner: I, Tonya

MAKE UP & HAIR – NOMINEES
Blade Runner 2049, Donald Mowat, Kerry Warn
Darkest Hour, David Malinowski, Ivana Primorac, Lucy Sibbick, Kazuhiro Tsuji
I, Tonya, Deborah La Mia Denaver, Adruitha Lee
Victoria & Abdul, Daniel Phillips, Lou Sheppard
Wonder, Naomi Bakstad, Robert A. Pandini, Arjen Tuiten

Winner: Darkest Hour

SOUND – NOMINEES
Baby Driver, Tim Cavagin, Mary H. Ellis, Dan Morgan, Jeremy Price, Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Mark Mangini, Mac Ruth, Theo Green
Dunkirk, Alex Gibson, Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo, Mark Weingarten
The Shape Of Water, Christian Cooke, Glen Gauthier, Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira, Brad Zoern
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood

Winner: Baby Driver

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS – NOMINEES
Blade Runner 2049, Richard R. Hoover, Paul Lambert, Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson
Dunkirk, Scott Fisher, Andrew Jackson, Paul Corbould, Andrew Lockley
The Shape Of Water, Dennis Berardi, Trey Harrell, Mike Hill, Kevin Scott
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Stephen Aplin, Chris Courbould, Ben Morris, Neal Scanlan
War for the Planet of the Apes, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Joel Whist

Winner: War for The Planet of the Apes

The 71st British Academy Film Awards will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 18 February.

Christopher Machell | @Dr_Machell