Awards Season is without a doubt, one of the most exciting times to be a film fan. Through countless glitzy red carpets and emotional acceptance speeches, we are able to start every new year, by celebrating the last in the world of cinema. Preceding the Oscars as always is our very own academy, BAFTA, who make an effort to celebrate not only the international hits of the Silver Screen, but also the best of British too. This morning, host of ten years Stephen Fry and actor Sam Claflin announced the nominees for the 86th event. Here’s the low-down on the biggest categories and those selected for a chance to win one of film’s most sought-after awards.
And the Nominees are: Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything
Vying it out for the biggest award of the night are, naturally, five of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Biopics, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are nominated for their takes on the inspiring life stories of both Alan Turing and Stephen Hawking, respectively. Nominated in 11 categories, the big film of the night looks to be Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel – a surprising but welcome addition to the competition. And filling out this category is mega-hit black comedy Birdman and Boyhood – Richard Linklater’s incredible 12 year project. A surprising non-entrant for this award is David Finchers’ Gone Girl, beaten to the pip I expect by the Academy’s love for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
BEST BRITISH FILM
And the Nominees are: ’71, The Imitation Game, Paddington, Pride, The Theory of Everything and Under The Skin
In it’s efforts to celebrate the Best of British, six films made predominantly within our own industry have been selected for this special gong. Biopics The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are nominated again in this category for their depictions of real-life icons. Matthew Warchus’ Pride, about the gay activists who joined the Miners’ strike in 1984, is also nominated and remains a strong contender with a BIFA already under it’s belt. Also vying out for the award is the much-loved animated adaptation of Paddington, Jonathan Glazer’s unflinching Under The Skin (which starred Scarlett Johansson as a man-devouring alien scouring the streets of Glasgow) and ’71 -the star vehicle for rising actor,Jack O’Connell. Surprisingly, despite the critical acclaim attached to it, biopic Mr. Turner appears to have been snubbed from several categories, including this one.
And the Nominees are: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), James Marsh (The Theory of Everything) and Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Up for the coveted title of ‘best director’ is serial nominee, Wes Anderson for his distinctive and stylised direction of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alejandro González Iñárritu for his innovative creations in Birdman and Richard Linklater, for the masterful making of his incredible 12 year project, Boyhood. Also nominated is James Marsh for his handling on Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything and in a surprise twist, newcomer Damien Chazelle has been recognised – in what was arguably David Fincher’s space on the nomination list – for his electrifying film, Whiplash.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
And the Nominees are: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Arguably one of the toughest categories, the performers nominated for the Leading Actor gong have all proved themselves to be masters of the craft. Benedict Cumberbatch is up for his moving portrayal of the long forgotten War Veteran and Mathematician, Alan Turing, while fellow biopic-star, Eddie Redmayne is recognised for his transformative performance as renowned Physicist and MND sufferer, Stephen Hawking. Also nominated is Michael Keaton for his invigorating role as Riggan Thompson, a.k.a Birdman. Surprisingly, in the place of actors such as Ben Affleck and Timothy Spall for their work in Gone Girl and Mr Turner respectively, are Ralph Fiennes and Jake Gyllenhaal; Fiennes is nominated for his astonishingly brilliant comedic turn as Monsieur Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel, while Gyllenhaal is recalled for his inspired performance as charming psychopath, Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
And the Nominees are: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Dominating the category for leading ladies are actresses, Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones. Pike is recognised for her chilling turn as Amy Elliott Dunne in Gone Girl, while Jones recieves plaudits for her understated portrayal of Jane Wilde-Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Also nominated is Reese Witherspoon for her performance as real-life hiker and author, Cheryl Strayed in Wild and Julianne Moore for her role as Alice Howland – a doctor who is suffering from early onset Alzheimers disease – in Still Alice. Surprisingly – or not surprisingly given her regular attendance to awards shows in recent years – Amy Adams is nominated for her portrayal of artist Margaret Keane in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
And the Nominees are: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and JK Simmons (Whiplash)
In the running for the Supporting Actor accolade, are co-stars in Bennett Miller’s biographical drama Foxcatcher, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. Carell, in a role so far removed from his comedic roots, plays introverted sports coach, John Du Pont in the film, while Ruffalo portrays David Schultz, the Olympic medallist and brother of Channing Tatum’s wrestler Mark Schultz. Also nominated is Ethan Hawke, for his ongoing performance as Mason Sr. in Boyhood, Edward Norton for his performance as method actor, Mike Shiner in Birdman and JK Simmons – after several underrated but brilliant supporting roles in his career – is recognised for his turn as fearsome jazz tutor,Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash.
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
And the Nominees are: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Rene Russo (Nightcrawler), Imelda Staunton (Pride) and Emma Stone (Birdman)
In the running for the supporting actress accolade are Patricia Arquette, for her ongoing performance as the mother, Olivia, in Boyhood and Keira Knightley, for her portrayal of Joan Clarke – a crossword enthusiast who aided Alan Turing to crack the Enigma code in The Imitation Game. Also nominated for the gong is Emma Stone, for her turn as RIggan’s daughter, Sam in Birdman and Imelda Staunton is too recognised for her role as Welsh Lesbian and activist, Hefina Headon in Pride. In a surprising, but welcome twist, Rene Russo is also nominated for her part as Nina Romina in Nightcrawler.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
And the Nominees are: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Nominated for the best original screenplay, are Wes Anderson for his peculiar comedic escapade, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Richard Linklater for his scripting of Boyhood, Dan Gilroy for his neo-noir crime thriller, Nightcrawler and Damien Chazelle for his self-inspired musical drama, Whiplash. Also in the running is black comedy, Birdman which was scripted by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo. Interestingly, all the original screenplay nominees are also the directors of their films, making the award just as much about the celebration of masterful multi-faceted direction.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
And the Nominees are: Jason Hall (American Sniper), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Graham Moore (The Imitation Game) and Paul King (Paddington)
Nominated for best adapted screenplay, are Gillian Flynn for her cinematic reworking of her own thriller novel Gone Girl, Anthony McCarten for his remodelling of Jane Wilde-Hawking’s memoirs ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen‘ in The Theory of Everything and Graham Moore’s interpretation of Andrew Hodges’ biography ‘Alan Turing: The Enigma‘ in The Imitation Game. The remaining contenders may prove surprising – the first being Paul King’s heart-warmingly kitsch adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved character, Paddington. The second is Jason Hall’s variation on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, a soldier who served a tour of duty in Iraq, in Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
And the Nominees are: Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls and The Lego Movie
As is tradition with this category, only three films are nominated for the chance to win. This year, the contenders are Disney’s Big Hero 6, inspired by the Marvel superhero comics of the same name, The Boxtrolls from the makers of Paranorman and Coraline and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s incredibly successful (and awesome) crafting in The Lego Movie. Obviously with only three nominees allowed in this category, films like How to Train Your Dragon 2 and to an extent, Paddington were omitted.
EE RISING STAR AWARD
And the Nominees are: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jack O’Connell, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley
The only award throughout the entire ceremony to be voted for by the British Public, the nominees for this year’s Rising Star Award have all truly proved themselves as ‘ones to watch’. King of the pack is former Skins actor, Jack O’Connell, who has dominated screens this year in films such as Starred Up, Unbroken and ‘71. Competing against him are actresses Margot Robbie – who starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Scorsese’s mega-hit The Wolf of Wall Street – and Gugu Mbatha-Raw who shone as a mixed-race gentlewoman living in 18th century England in Belle. Also vying for votes are stars of The Divergent Series, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley; Teller has recieved acclaim for his performances in Rabbit Hole and Whiplash, while Woodley has become popular for her roles in films like The Descendants and The Fault in Our Stars.
Previous winners of the award have included James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart, Tom Hardy and last year’s recipient, Will Poulter. Who takes the gong this year is completely down to you – You can vote for your winner here.
For the full list of categories and nominees visit the BAFTA website, here.
The 86th EE British Academy Film Awards, hosted by Stephen Fry, will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 8th February.
Look out for our Writers’ Predictions of the winners, coming soon!
Words by Annie | @cumberbamf