The 2017 BAFTA Nominees Rundown

With the historic 70th BAFTAs this Sunday, let’s run down the year’s nominees.

Yep, it’s that time again.  Some of you may be thinking, “Callum, why are you wasting your time with Awards Season nonsense?  You could be writing about far more interesting things like the Lost Cels series you insist is not dead, or the 24 book you’re adamant that you will get around to writing some day!”  Well, friends, I am doing this because the world is a dark and uncertain place right about now, and we all need our constants in life to provide some semblance of stability.  I have been doing these BAFTA previews for the past 4 years (now including this one), and it doesn’t quite fully feel like an Awards Season if I haven’t had the chance to prove my clairvoyance on predicting an almost-always abysmal and super-predictable awards show!  Plus, the last Lost Cels did atrocious numbers and I’ve got a 24 thing coming tomorrow anyway.

So, the 70th British Academy of Film and Television Arts Film Awards are this coming Sunday!  An occasion where Film’s “best” and “brightest” will lock themselves into the Royal Albert Hall for several hours to give each other awards, listen to the laziest and most appalling Stephen Fry “jokes” he could scribble down on a cocktail napkin 5 minutes before walking out on stage, and giving many BBC bosses multiple stress-related heart attacks through the inevitable heartfelt anti-Trump/fascism speeches that will be given by awards recipients and subsequently edited out of the tape-delayed broadcast because “political fairness.”  I shan’t be watching the ceremony this year, thank God, because I have other things to do with my time, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t sit here and Armchair Quarterback the whole thing for those of you with office betting pools anyway!  Same prerogative as in previous years – just with stripping out the EE Rising Star Award for Best Documentary – so, for those of you who want more out of this other than “La La Land will win basically everything,” let’s get this show rolling!


Best Animated Film

ZootopiaNominees: Finding Dory, Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Zootopia (NOT Zootropolis!)

Who Should Win: I am that person who spent much of last year’s End of Year lists wondering if the collective critical world had suffered a serious brain damage that removed Zootopia from their memories, since it was conspicuously absent from most Best Film lists.  Hell, I’m pretty sure I saw Lion on more Best Film lists than Zootopia was!  This injustice did not sit right with me, particularly since you may recall that it was ultimately pipped by Arrival to my personal Film of 2016 top spot by a nose hair, with my even mulling over making them joint winners at one time.  You should be able to figure out which horse I am backing in this particular race from that.

Who Will Win: They don’t derisively backstage call it “The Disney/Pixar Award” for nothing, folks!  There was a time before Awards Season started gearing up where some of us may have wondered whether Zootopia’s chance of taking this award may have been compromised by the release of Moana, therefore splitting the vote, but those thoughts were ultimately proven to be nothing more than wild speculation.  Zootopia just took home Best Film at this year’s Annies, anyway, so this is a deserved lock.

Other Notes: Oh, hey, BAFTA!  You finally listened to my endless whining and opened up the nominations number in this category from the 3 of previous years to 4!  Of course, any compliments I may have had about this development are immediately rescinded due to such a change blatantly having only occurred so that you can nominate both of the Disney movies without having to field accusations of bias towards one studio or not giving a single shit about this category at all!  Last year was a banner year for animation, I said so back in my End of Year round-up!  I put 5 animated films on my list!  You telling me you couldn’t have also made room for The Little Prince?  Or Sausage Party?  Or even Your Name?  Or, hell, even Storks?  I mean, of course you couldn’t, cos you don’t give a single shit about animated film, you uppity snobbish bastards.


Best Documentary Feature

Notes On BlindnessNominees: 13th, Notes on Blindness, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, The Eagle Huntress, Weiner

Who Should Win: Weiner was one of last year’s best films – a painful, funny, maddening, painful, entertaining, painful, relevant, and painful look at modern politics that couldn’t have been more timely if it tried.  It broke its way into my Top 10, after I was certain that High-Rise was a lock for that spot, and was one of my favourite viewing experiences of last year… even if a fair percentage of it was viewed through my fingertips in pure cringe.  I’m amazed at its snubbing at the Oscars, so this is the only chance it has got to get the recognition that it deserves!  For, as we all know, great films are not great films if they haven’t been validated by anonymous Awards Bodies staffed near-exclusively by elderly White men!

Who Will Win: Weiner has absolutely no shot here, so let’s discard that entirely.  13th has been rapturously received by the critical branch of the UK, with Mark Kermode in particular railing against Netflix doing exactly the thing anybody with a functioning brain would have expected Netflix to do with their own production and skipping cinemas entirely, but I don’t see it actually taking home the prize for reasons we’ll get to later on.  People with eagle eyes who have already seen the Nominee List in full (or have skipped to the next section), however, will notice that Notes on Blindness is also up for Outstanding British Film, so for it to not win here despite being up for that other category would look more than a little bit silly.  So, Notes on Blindness, for those of you actually relying on me for betting options.

Other Notes: By all accounts, Notes on Blindness is a phenomenal film, but it also completely passed me by for the very simple reason that documentaries basically do not get a decent cinema release for those of us who don’t live in London.  I also missed The Eagle Huntress at the London Film Festival, so I can’t comment on either film.  But, that said (and going by the consensus that both films are great), this is a really, really damn solid list.  I’d probably have swapped Eight Days a Week (although it is really entertaining) out for Kate Plays Christine, although I do recognise the thorniness of how much one can consider that a “documentary.”  But otherwise, yeah, solid list.  This is also the only time in this whole article that I am going to say that, so savour that positivity whilst you can.


Outstanding British Film

I, Daniel BlakeNominees: American Honey, Denial, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I, Daniel Blake, Notes on Blindness, Under the Shadow

Who Should Win: Well, this is certainly a list, I guess.  Given that I’ve only seen half of the films featured, and that I despise one of them and find another to be a bad film even whilst I recognise its value as a social service, I guess I’ll throw my hat behind Andrea Arnold’s American Honey.  It’s a film that simultaneously enthralled and infuriated me as I was watching it, a film that was simultaneously the perfect hazy length and an over-long endless self-indulgent mess, a film where every single one of its strengths are also all of its weaknesses and vice versa.  It’s a film I cannot stop picking flaws in, yet continues rising higher in my estimations the more time between my viewing of it and now passes, hence why it became one of my Honourable Mentions last year despite heavy competition.  It’s a brilliantly singular film, if nothing else, and my favourite of the half of the list I’ve seen.

Who Will Win: In the same way that Notes on Blindness almost definitely has Best Documentary sewn up, look for I, Daniel Blake to waltz away with the award here with no resistance.  After all, if a Best Picture nominee can’t also win the Best British Film award, then this whole thing looks more than a mite incompetent, doesn’t it?  More so than usual, I mean.  Christ, how the hell is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here?

Other Notes: Seriously, BAFTA!  High-Rise was RIGHT FUCKING THERE!  And you give its spot to fucking FANTASTIC BEASTS?!  HIGH-RISE WAS RIGHT!  FUCKING!  THERE!


Best Original Screenplay

MoonlightNominees: Hell or High Water (Taylor Sheridan), I, Daniel Blake (Paul Laverty), La La Land (Damien Chazelle), Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Who Should Win: Much of this category is based around deliberately low-key dramas that utilise personal stories to quietly comment on larger social behaviours and issues, and also La La Land is here.  Of the two that I think are genuinely fantastic scripts, I’m gonna give the point to Moonlight.  Sheridan’s script for Hell or High Water is a brilliant little thing, and I am super happy to know that his should-have-been-nominated Sicario screenplay was not a fluke, but I think Moonlight does a better job at delivering its stealth knockout blow, that moment where a deliberately understated work that could be confused for a more modest work becomes transcendent.  The characters, the mood, the tone, all can be traced back to that script, which eventually builds to a moment that was heart-stopping.

Who Will Win: La La Land will be getting more than enough trophies at the ceremony, and the year’s BIG winners tend to surrender one category to the Critical Darling that otherwise goes home with nothing.  So, I expect this to be Moonlight’s consolation prize, along with Best Supporting Actor (but I’m getting ahead of myself with that one).  If it’s not, then I can guarantee you a victory for I, Daniel Blake and Paul Laverty’s… err… atrocious.  Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for with regards to that screenplay.

Other Notes: Gonna get this out of the way now so that it doesn’t look like I’m being a hypocrite when I don’t give it the rub in any of these categories: I love La La Land, but I wouldn’t say it “deserves” any of the awards it’s up for.  It’s heavily flawed, mostly outclassed by its competition, and the reason why I love it is because of an intangible feeling that energises a lot of the very good or great singular elements that make it up.  Manchester by the Sea, meanwhile, isn’t bad, I just didn’t feel anything at all whilst watching it beyond an admission that it is objectively a good movie.  As for snubs, the ghettoization of Animation claims another pair of victims in the form of Zootopia’s mature and complex metaphors for persecution, and Kubo and the Two Strings’s touching tale of family, stories, and forgiveness.  Comedy’s constant shunning at the BAFTAs means that long shots like the instant classic joke-a-rama of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and Kelly Fremon Craig’s hilarious and heartbreaking The Edge of Seventeen missed out on deserved attention.  Whilst for more “acceptable” fare, Eye in the Sky and The VVitch were last year.  Just saying.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nocturnal AnimalsNominees: Arrival (Eric Heisserer), Hacksaw Ridge (Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight), Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder), Lion (Luke Davies), Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford)

Who Should Win: Arrival of course has the showmanship of its big reveal at the end, where the structure of storytelling itself becomes the vessel for a clever-as-hell twist, and it has the hard-sci-fi angle of its procedural first half that is showy in its own way, but I feel that its real ace is the way that it sneaks in the emotional heft.  It’s so subtle yet so total that I didn’t realise just how far it had burrowed into my heart until the finale kicked into high gear and I was left full-on sobbing in the Odeon Leicester Square on a Monday morning surrounded by a bunch of other film critics and industry professionals who were noticeably doing the same.  That’s the x-factor, and Heisserer’s implementation of it is masterful.

Who Will Win: Again, since the Screenplay categories are basically a chance for awards ceremonies like BAFTA to recognise films that rack up the noms but otherwise end up the bridesmaids in the showier categories, Arrival does actually have a good shot at winning here, particularly since BAFTA chose to recognise Moonlight as an original screenplay, which the Oscars have not.  However, I’m going to go against my gut/heart (which is nearly always right about things) on this one and instead peg the other nomination hog that won’t be going home with anything substantial: Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.  Sure, it’s completely empty thematically with nothing going on in it besides endless misogyny that gets more repulsive every time I think about it – it’s basically 2 hours of slut-shaming revenge porn about how all women are vampiric monsters who should just drop dead – but it’s got the kind of showy structural gamesmanship that voting branches adore, and it cloaks itself enough in the veneer of Serious Prestige Filmmaking to be able to create the illusion that there’s something deeper here and if you don’t get it then you’re clearly just not smart enough!  It won’t win anything else, I hope it won’t win anything else, so it’s probably going over here.

Other Notes: Oh, wow, we really weren’t trying here, were we?  No self-respecting “Best Adapted Screenplay” award should have Hacksaw Ridge or Lion in its ranks, come the fuck on, people!  It’s also worth noting that this is the only nomination that Hidden Figures was able to rack up, and that’s important info for later so remember that.  Off the top of my head, I could staff a far better category than this, no sweat.  Keep Arrival, strip out everything else (Hidden Figures is still not out here), bring in James DeMonaco’s The Purge: Election Year (yes, really), Amy Jump’s High-Rise (IT WAS RIGHT FUCKING THERE), Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, and Josh Campbell & Matt Stuecken and Damien Chazelle’s 10 Cloverfield Lane (which I imagine would go down here despite otherwise being an original movie).  Boom!  See how easy that was, BAFTA?  And now I’ve stripped another undeserving nomination away from Lion!  Everybody wins!


Best Supporting Actor

MoonlightNominees: Mahershala Ali as Juan (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges as Sherriff Marcus Hamilton (Hell or High Water), Hugh Grant as St. Clair Bayfield (Florence Foster Jenkins), Dev Patel as Saroo Brierley (Lion), Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ray Marcus (Nocturnal Animals)

Who Should Win: Much as I do think he was great in it, I personally found Mahershala Ali to be a little too understated to my tastes.  Maybe a second viewing of Moonlight will bring a deeper appreciation for his work in that.  Otherwise, I guess I’m going to have to give this to Jeff Bridges, since Aaron Taylor-Johnson, whilst still his best performance in forever, is basically just chewing scenery, Dev Patel is lacking a character to play, and Hugh Grant…  (*giggles and snickers for 10 straight minutes*)  Bridges is really good, but this is not a very strong line-up outside of him and Ali.

Who Will Win: As mentioned two categories back, this is probably going to be Moonlight’s consolation prize.  There is always the chance that Aaron Taylor-Johnson could pull off a repeat of his upset win at the Golden Globes, particularly since BAFTA are bewilderingly in love with Nocturnal Animals, and I don’t think we can quite count out Jeff Bridges just yet, but my firm prediction Ali as the Participation Medal.

Other Notes: Todd VanDerWerff cleared up for me how Awards Bodies deal with the designations between Lead and Supporting last month when we both had a rage at this and the Lead Actor categories for the Oscars, so at least I can’t make a fool of myself by getting things wrong this year.  So, with that said: John Goodman.  Sure, I could have also offered up Luke Evans for High-Rise (RIGHT! FUCKING!), or Daniel Radcliffe for Swiss Army Man, or, to go even further out, Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters or Jason Bateman for Zootopia (one of these goddamn days somebody will nominate a voice performance under one of these things), but no.  John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane was the best performance in all of 2016, and it should have been hoovering up awards left right and centre.  If you disagree with me on this, then you can expect a swift visit from me very shortly.  I’ll be bringing along my copy of the film, duct tape, and eye drops.


Best Supporting Actress

LionNominees: Viola Davis as Rose Maxon (Fences), Naomie Harris as Paula (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman as Sue Brierley (Lion), Hayley Squires as Katie Morgan (I, Daniel Blake), Michelle Williams as Randi (Manchester by the Sea)

Who Should Win: Michelle Williams is only in Manchester by the Sea for about 3 scenes and 10 minutes, but my God does she ever make the most of them!  She is the lynchpin of the one scene in that film that affected me – not coincidentally, it’s the one that’s about feminine grief rather than masculine grief.  Hayley Squires, meanwhile, is the best part of I, Daniel Blake by far.  The film may not serve her character well at all, particularly in a late-film turn so cliché that it’s downright offensive, but she is able to make every scene she’s in noticeably stronger than it could have been due to her performance.  But, out of them all, my personal vote has to go to Naomie Harris’s absolutely haunting turn as the toxic, pitiable, addict mother of Moonlight.  Without wishing to get too personal, although my own mother is White and not a drug addict, that character cut right to the bone with me in a raw, painful way, and Harris is absolutely the key to that.

Who Will Win: Remember last year when this category had a strong list of contenders giving fantastic performances (and also Julie Walters was there for some reason) and we all had absolutely no idea who would end up taking home the gong on the night… only for Kate Winslet, of all goddamn people, to win for Steve Jobs?  Yeah, I see Nicole Kidman doing the exact same thing for Lion this year despite, unlike Winslet’s great turn in Steve Jobs, Kidman being absolutely TERRIBLE in Lion.  She’s been sweeping most boards in the run up to the Oscars for similarly baffling reasons, so why stop now, right?  Plus, y’know, this is Fences’s only nomination.  This is also important information that we will come back to later on.

Other Notes: Can’t comment on Viola Davis because Fences doesn’t reach the UK until tomorrow and, even then, it is not being shown anywhere within a 50-mile radius of me WHAT THE FUCK?!  Other than the obvious Nicole Kidman bafflement, this is probably the only category other than Best Documentary I don’t have a massive nagging issue with.  I personally would have thrown a nomination Kate McKinnon’s way for her work in Ghostbusters, for much the same reasons we gave Melissa McCarthy one for Bridesmaids, but, then again, I would have done that, wouldn’t I?  Doesn’t mean I’m wrong, though!


Best Actor

Manchester By The SeaNominees: Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling as Sebastian Wilder (La La Land), Jake Gyllenhaal as Edward Sheffield/Tony Hastings (Nocturnal Animals), Viggo Mortensen as Ben Cash (Captain Fantastic)

Who Should Win: Oh, hey!  It’s the second straight year in a row where the Best Actor category is filled with absolute garbage!  I know that it has been hard in recent years to find strong lead male performances in films, but you could try at least a little harder than this!  Hell, Andrew Garfield even had another movie this year where he was actually fantastic in it, unlike his woeful work in Hacksaw Ridge!  Can I just pretend that he’s been nominated for Silence instead?  No?  Fine, I guess I’ll go for Gosling, then.  I do think that, although he’s not a very good singer, he is a vital component as to why La La Land works (literally anybody else playing Sebastian would have made that character absolutely insufferable), but it’s less down to his performance and more due to Gosling being Gosling, which is something I always feel iffy about giving awards to.

Who Will Win: There is no way in hell that Casey Affleck is leaving that building without that statue.  No way.  It has been carved into stone since January of last year, when Manchester by the Sea first debuted at Sundance, that this award was going to be Affleck’s by birth-right and, much like with DiCaprio last year, every one of these races has been effectively jerry-rigged to ensure that he cannot lose.  Shame that he’s basically just doing a far less good version of the underrated performance that Will Forte gave in the otherwise-middling Nebraska.  Relatedly, yes, that will have been the first time that you have thought about Nebraska in 3 years.

Other Notes: Christ almighty, this goddamn award.  It’s become the bane of my existence these past few years.  Right: switch Garfield’s nomination to Silence, get rid of everybody else.  Although I have yet to see the film, as mentioned, Denzel Washington’s absence is very conspicuous.  I’d have given a nod to Trevante Rhodes for his role as Adult Chiron in Moonlight, although I do recognise how tricky semantics may come in to play for that one.  I’d also have nominated Andy Samberg’s brilliant comedic turn in Popstar, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo’s excellent debut work in Sing Street (a film whose thunder appears to have been completely stolen by La La Land, disappointingly), and then either Joel Edgerton’s quietly soulful performance in Loving or Art Parkinson’s vocal work in Kubo and the Two Strings.  Point is that you can find great lead actor performances if you look a little more outfield.  Further outfield than fucking Captain Fantastic, anyway.


Best Actress

JackieNominees: Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks (Arrival), Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson (The Girl on the Train), Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy (Jackie), Emma Stone as Mia Dolan (La La Land), Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Who Should Win: Oh, thank God, they nominated the right Amy Adams movie!  Seriously, with the amount of fellatio that BAFTA were performing on Nocturnal Animals, I was genuinely terrified that they were going to nominate her unbeaten work at the art of “Staring Vacantly Into Space!”  Anyways, I saw Amy Adams down the police station after the Oscar nominations came out, she was there to report a robbery.  Natalie Portman was outstanding in Jackie, and I’m not going to complain when she takes home the trophy on the night, but Adams easily edges her out for me.

Who Will Win: Emma Stone appears to be a surprise lock for the award come the Oscars, which I guess is fitting since La La Land will be taking basically everything that’s not already been nailed down on the night, but she’s got an uphill battle here at the BAFTAs for the same reason why La La Land may not be a lock for Best Picture after all: BAFTA and comedies don’t get along.  Maybe it’s that old British stuffiness getting stuck in BAFTA’s craw or something, I dunno, but La La Land is mainly a musical-comedy with drama elements, so there’s every chance that Stone and the film will falter here and something else will take their places.  Should that be the case, it will almost definitely be Portman.

Other Notes: So where is Ruth Negga for Lov-OH MY GOD!  Is tha…  Is that really a nomination for The Girl on the Train?!  Did Emily Blunt’s performance in The Girl on the Train really just receive a BAFTA Best Actress nomination?!  HOLY SHIT!  (*laughs hysterically for a good solid hour*)  I’m sorry!  I had a whole thing prepped about Ruth Negga and Hailee Steinfeld’s snubs, but I’m too hung up on this to concentrate!  I mean, sure, Blunt had a great performance, but she was also performing in an entirely different film to everybody else and therefore just came off as embarrassingly out-of-place.  Yet, here she is with a Best Actress nomination!  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…


Best Director

La La LandNominees: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals), Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)

Who Should Win: Oh, gee(!)  I wonder who I could possibly want to see win out of this list(!)  It’s such a mystery that nobody could ever hope to decipher by themselves(!)  What a conundrum(!)

Who Will Win: Smart money says Chazelle, so I’m sticking with that.  I know that I just said that comedies tend to stall out even more than usual at the BAFTAs, but I think that Chazelle’s big showy work on homaging old school Golden Age Hollywood musicals, especially with the film’s leaps into heavily-stylised land – the opening number with its faux-one-take crowd sequence, the mannequin slo-mo parts of “Someone in the Crowd,” the Observatory, the final 10 minutes – are enough to nab him the prize.  That said, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu couldn’t win in 2015 for his commitment to faux-one-takes in Birdman.  Although he was admittedly beaten by Richard Linklater’s astonishing commitment to a terrible idea.  So look for, I dunno, Ken Loach to take it if it’s not Chazelle.

Other Notes: No Barry Jenkins, no Denzel Washington, yet Tom Ford is here, for some goddamn reason.  You know that he would have just come to your ceremony if you invited him, right, BAFTA?  You didn’t need to waste all these award nominations on him!  Meanwhile, Loach’s stilted, distracting, and off-putting direction was rewarded yet Dan Trachtenberg’s masterful control of tension, pacing, and slow-burning terror in 10 Cloverfield Lane is nowhere to be seen.  Andrea Arnold, snubbed.  Ben Wheatley, snubbed.  Martin Scorsese, snubbed.  Kelly Fremon Craig, had less than no chance but still snubbed anyway.  You had options, BAFTA.  Plenty of them.


Best Film

La La LandNominees: Arrival, I, Daniel Blake, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight

Who Should Win: This is the first time in my years of paying attention to film awards ceremonies where my Film of the Year was also nominated for Best Picture.  I’m not sure who that says more about, quite frankly, but I will be backing the Arrival horse all the way to its inevitable loss!  This I know will happen, because I have been studying Heptapod in my spare time.

Who Will Win: The comedy stumbling block is the only thing that is keeping La La Land from that trophy, but it’s a pretty big stumbling block.  This, after all, is the organisation that gave its Best Picture trophy in 2015 to Boyhood over Birdman, almost definitely because the latter was a comedy, as evidenced by The Revenant winning last year as a sort of make-up “sorry for getting it wrong, Iñárritu” thing.  Resultantly, whereas the BAFTAs and the Oscars usually match up on these things, they’ve been off for the past 2 years, and there’s a good chance that the same thing will happen again here.  If you’re needing a solid prediction from yours truly, then I would stick with La La Land, mainly because it is an unstoppable juggernaut at this point with exactly the kind of premise that makes Awards Bodies go ga-ga.  Should it fall to anything, it will be to Moonlight, except…

Other Notes: Moonlight shouldn’t be eligible for any awards to begin with.  Oh, yeah, did you really think I was going to ignore this?  Look, I give BAFTA some leeway, I really do.  They’re a fundamental part of the Awards Season, which often tends to cluster around the same few films, almost all of which are dumped onto American screens in Limited Release just before Christmas and don’t manage to make it across the Atlantic until mid-January at the earliest, so I am willing to give them some leeway when it comes to nominating films that technically aren’t releases in the year that the BRITISH Academy of Film and Television Arts are supposed to be honouring.  After all, at least all of the films nominated get a release before the ceremony itself, so people can see the films for themselves beforehand.

Hidden FiguresHowever, when you start nominating films that don’t get a UK release until after the ceremony has wrapped up and the last stragglers have gone home, even if it’s just by one week, then you are taking the absolute piss.  It was bullshit when you pulled it with Still Alice back in 2015 just so you could make sure that Julianne Moore could continue her clean-sweep procession, and it is especially bullshit now in the face of the rest of your awards.  When Moonlight is the only major nominee on your list to be about non-White folk, with the exception of Lion, it reeks of tokenism.  When Moonlight is your sole non-White Best Picture nominee, yet is shut out of everything else outside of the Supporting categories and a Best Original Screenplay nod, it reeks of damage control because you just knew that you were going to be dragged through the coals for your awards being so very, very White for the third year in a row and had to bend the rules past the point of breaking in order to mount some semblance of a defence.

Let me make it abundantly clear, I think that Moonlight is phenomenal and I am not saying that it won’t deserve any of the awards it (won’t) pick up on the night.  What I am saying is that BAFTA’s nominating of it, whilst stiffing Fences and Hidden Figures outside of similarly tokenistic bones, feels like the organisation lazily throwing in the first buzz-filled Black film into their awards that they could find through Googling in order to try and stem the inevitable criticisms thrown at the rest of their list.  It gives off an air of not trying, of them throwing out the faintest scraps and expecting to be applauded for doing so.  There are hundreds of films about minorities released every single year, many of which are great, none of which require such blatant rule-flagrant-ing, and almost all of which likely deserve nominations more than Nocturnal motherfucking Animals.  This is not good enough, particularly since awards like the BAFTAs do matter with regards to what films get made, and BAFTA need to try far harder than this blatant tokenism.


“Callum Petch, what if you win?  Wouldn’t it be weird?”  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

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