Nearly Deja Vu At The BAFTAs

After a long list that contained few surprises but some interesting possibilities, the final nominations for this year’s BAFTA Film Awards proves to be something of a balancing act – plenty of usual suspects along with some unexpected inclusions and one or two oddities.

The Artist leads the way with 12 nominations – in other words, the same number as on the long list – with Tinker, Tailor close behind on 11 and Martin Scorcese’s Hugo on 9.  My Week With Marilyn loses out with only six nominations compared to its original 16 and Spielberg’s War Horse, currently packing them in at the cinemas, only gets five.

Tinker Tailor is in the running for Best Film (against The Descendants, The Help, Drive and, of course, The Artist) and Outstanding British Film (alongside My Week With Marilyn, Senna, Shame and We Need To Talk About Kevin).  Although realistically its chances must be better in the second category, any one of those titles could walk away with the trophy – and it’s refreshing to see a documentary make the cut.

Sadly, neither Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur nor Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus made it onto the short list for the British Film Award but, as I anticipated, they are both nominated in the Outstanding Debut section, alongside Joe Cornish for Attack The Block.  The judges will have their work cut out to decide a winner!

Only two Best Film nominees have their directors competing for the Best Director award – The Artist and Drive.  Martin Scorcese receives a nod for Hugo and the list is completed by two Brits, Tinker Tailor’s Thomas Alfredson and Lynne Ramsay for We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The acting nominations run pretty much true to form – George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jean Dujardin, Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Tilda Swinton – although Gary Oldman’s turn as George Smiley gets a much-deserved nod for Best Actor.  The Supporting Actor award, however, includes a few unexpected names – Jim Broadbent for The Iron Lady, Jonah Hill in Moneyball and, much to my delight, Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Ides Of March – and Judi Dench makes a surprise, but nonetheless welcome, appearance among the nominees for Best Supporting Actress for her Sybil Thorndike in My Week With Marilyn.

One of the oddities I referred to earlier is War Horse’s surprisingly poor performance.  However, my guess is that the American Academy will find it much more to their taste and nominate accordingly.  Another is the absense of Olivia Williams’ performance in Tyrannosaur from the Best Actress list: she’s really come into her own this year as a talented and versatile actress, so it shouldn’t be too long before she has more trophies to add to this year’s BIFA for the same film.

I’ll be predicting winners – and, sadly, losers – in the run-up to the BAFTA awards ceremony, which takes place on Sunday, 12 February.  But, before then, there’s more nominations to come: both the Oscars and the Razzies announce their shortlists early next week.

For the full list of BAFTA Film Awards nominations, go to http://www.bafta.org/film/awards/nominees-winners-2012,2449,BA.html

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