The 2016 awards season has been a long haul, but the end is in sight with just two big ceremonies to go. First up is the BAFTAs and, coincidentally, those gold masks are handed out on Valentine’s Day. Voting closes on Wednesday, after which the few days left will all be about speculation. And, as ever, I’ve dusted off my trusty crystal ball to predict who’ll be feeling the love on Sunday night – and who’s going to be left out in the cold.
The most prestigious category of the lot – both for the BAFTAs and the Oscars – is also the most fluid it’s been for some time. At the start of the season, Spotlight was favourite to clean up but, after coming away empty handed at the Golden Globes, it was overshadowed by The Revenant. Over in the States, the Producers Guild Of America chose The Big Short as their Best Film, shifting the momentum again, although how much that’s affected BAFTA members is difficult to tell.
Should win Spotlight This, for me, is easily the most complete film of the five nominees, and doesn’t put a foot wrong from start to finish. But it has one shortcoming which is nobody’s fault. It’s full of people talking to each other, on the phone, in offices and coffee shops. Which means that, regardless of it making a more than worthy winner, it doesn’t make great headlines or pictures in the media. There’s another film that does.
Will win How do you compete with a marauding bear and a buffalo liver lunch in a starkly dramatic landscape? It’s unlikely that any of this year’s Best Picture contenders can, which means that the award is The Revenant’s for the taking.
BAFTA’s first (and not only) big nominations snub was to leave Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy off the shortlist. He was replaced by Ridley Scott for The Martian, but otherwise it’s the same line-up as for Best Film. That doesn’t necessarily make it easier to predict, but last weekend’s Directors’ Guild ceremony is a big indicator for both BAFTA and the Oscars.
Should win In the absence of McCarthy, Todd Haynes’ labour of love, Carol, would be a more than deserving winner, as well as having the added advantage of being classed as a British film. A truly heady and intoxicating brew about the power of love, it’s beautiful film making and Haynes deserves the credit for it.
Will win In last year’s battle between Birdman and Boyhood at the BAFTAs, Alejandro Inarritu lost out. Inevitably, there’ll be a feeling that it’s his turn this year and that, coupled with his Directors’ Guild win, means it’s close to being a done deal. A win for home grown favourite Ridley Scott would go down a storm, but it’ll be Alejandro Innaritu for The Revenant.
This is one of the easier categories to predict, and that’s no disrespect to the other four nominees. As in previous years, one performance has swept all before it and 2016 doesn’t look like being any different.
Should win Leonardo Di Caprio for The Revenant. Having seen all five performances in contention, his stands apart from the others because it demands so much more of the actor. The lack of dialogue means he has to communicate with his body and through a series of guttural noises.
Will win Much as I rated Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, his turn will come another year. I can’t see how Di Caprio can fail.
The Leading Actress category looks like mirroring Leading Actor. The biggest shock, however, was the omission of Charlotte Rampling for her shattering performance in 45 Years. Despite the movie getting a Best British Film nomination and a subsequent Oscar nod for Rampling, the fact remains that BAFTA got this one very badly wrong.
Should win Brie Larson for Room. Lenny Abrahamson’s critically acclaimed claustrophobic drama only scored two BAFTA nominations, for Larson and Best Adapted Screenplay. Larson is currently the bookie’s favourite, despite competition from Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn and, of course, Cate Blanchett.
Will win BAFTA has done its usual trick of including a Brit in the nominations, this time Maggie Smith for The Lady In The Van. And, although she won at the Evening Standard Film Awards on Sunday, it’s unlikely that she or, indeed, the excellent Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl, can stop the front runner’s momentum. Larson it is.
Best Supporting Actor
The hardest to call of the acting categories, this is packed with top notch performances with little more than a whisker between them. Any one of them would make a worthy winner and, with the absence of a certain Mr Stallone, the door is wide open.
Should win While my own personal favourite is Benicio del Toro in Sicario – the best thing he’s done in years – it should be Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies walking off with the trophy. Good as the film is, he holds the whole thing together and a BAFTA would finish in style what has been a remarkable year for him.
Will win Rylance would be a popular choice, but my money’s on Idris Elba, who scooped two Screen Actors’ Guild awards just a week ago. One was for Beasts Of No Nation, for which he’s nominated here, but which the American Academy overlooked. BAFTA likes to differentiate itself from the Oscars and giving the award to Hackney’s finest would do that perfectly.
Best Supporting Actress
Essentially a two horse race, this is between Rooney Mara for Carol and Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs. The other three – Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alicia Vikander and Julie Walters – are, sadly, also-rans. So which one will it be?
Should win OK, so Rooney Mara’s role in Carol isn’t really a supporting one, but splitting the Leading Actress vote with Blanchett would have made no sense. She’s also currently the bookies’ favourite for a beautifully subtle piece of acting. But a BAFTA favourite?
Will win Kate Winslet, on the other hand, is an Academy favourite, and on both sides of the Atlantic. While I’m no great fan of hers, even I have to admit that in Steve Jobs she delivers her best piece of work for some time. She lost out to Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl at the Screen Actors’ Guild – another instance of a leading role in the supporting category – but I can’t see her losing at BAFTA.
So, there you have it. Now all we have to do is wait until Sunday night to see how close to – or wide of – the mark I am. I’ll be rounding up the winners and losers on The Coops Review after the ceremony and talking about them on a special piece for BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex on Monday morning, 15 February, at about 11.30 am. Either way, I hope you can join me and whatever’s left of my finger nails.
The full list of BAFTA nominations can be found here. The ceremony will be televised on BBC1 on Sunday, 14 February at 9 pm.
BAFTA predictions will also be featured in Talking Pictures on Thursday, 11 February.