BAFTA Predictions 2015

Each year I do my best to watch all the award-nominated films, and to predict how the two big award ceremonies will go. Well, today is BAFTA day, and here are my thoughts:

BEST FILM

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

Hope: The Imitation Game
Prediction: Boyhood

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM

  • ’71
  • The Imitation Game
  • Paddington
  • Pride
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Under The Skin

Hope: Pride
Prediction: The Theory of Everything

ANIMATED FILM

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Lego Movie

Hope: Big Hero 6
Prediction: The Lego Movie

DIRECTOR

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
  • Whiplash (Damian Chazelle)
  • Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
  • Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
  • The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)

Hope: Birdman
Prediction: Boyhood

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler
  • Whiplash

Hope: Birdman
Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • American Sniper
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Paddington
  • The Theory of Everything

Hope: The Imitation Game
Prediction: The Theory of Everything

LEADING ACTOR

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Hope: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Prediction: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

LEADING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams, Big Eyes
  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Hope: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Prediction: Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • JK Simmons, Whiplash

Hope: JK Simmons, Whiplash
Prediction: JK Simmons, Whiplash

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  • Imelda Staunton, Pride
  • Emma Stone, Birdman

Hope: Imelda Staunton, Pride
Prediction: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

ORIGINAL MUSIC

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Interstellar
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Under The Skin

Hope: Interstellar
Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Interstellar
  • Mr Turner

Hope: Mr Turner
Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

EDITING

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

Hope: Whiplash
Prediction: Whiplash

PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Big Eyes
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Mr Turner

Hope: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Prediction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

SOUND

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash

Hope: Whiplash
Prediction: Birdman

MAKE UP & HAIR

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Into The Woods
  • Mr Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Hope: Guardians of the Galaxy
Prediction: Guardians of the Galaxy

COSTUME DESIGN

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Into The Woods
  • Mr Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Hope: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Prediction: Into The Woods

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Hope: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Prediction: Interstellar

 

Confession:

This year, I didn’t manage to see the following from that list: ’71PaddingtonUnder The SkinDawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

I wish:

Calvary, How to Train Your Dragon 2 both deserved nominations for me, and Interstellar is a bit short of nods.

And finally, my thoughts on each of the contenders in this year’s BAFTA lineup:

 

American Sniper
A difficult watch, that’s for sure. Cooper is wonderful, and I’d argue that he deserved a Best Actor nod here, which of course he’s had from the Oscars. Overall though this is a film that’s challenging for the wrong reasons – it’s hard not to question what Eastwood was intending, and certainly the central figure Chris Kyle had questionable beliefs and motives (more so than what’s shown in the film). It’s one-sided propaganda certainly, though I found myself totally gripped despite my discomfort – showing the skill of Eastwood’s film-making. This is a big step up from his previous, the bizarre Jersey Boys, in terms of style and quality.

Big Eyes
I didn’t really “get” this film. Adams is glorious, of course, but it’s just a very strange piece. Burton’s style felt almost undefined and vague in places. I’m fascinated by the story itself, but the film didn’t give me enough story to get gripped by. One of the biggest disappointments of this year, trumped only by the really poor Wild.

Big Hero 6
Possibly my film of the year. Big heart, big laughs, and some brilliant touches throughout. I can’t praise this film strongly enough, it really deserved some more nominations, it’s just a fantastic movie. It’s better than Frozen, and almost as good as Up. Certainly deserved a Best Picture nomination.

Birdman
A very odd movie, but utterly brilliant. Totally gripping, and featuring fantastic central performances from Keaton and Norton. In a year without Whiplash I would have thought this would have got Norton a win both here and at the Oscars, but I think it’s unlikely tonight. More than anything, the film is just so stylishly shot, it’s totally unique in style. I wasn’t a fan of the ending, but this will stay with me for a long time.

Boyhood
This is a very ‘clever’ piece. It’s fascinating the way that Linklater shot it with the literal ageing of the characters and actors through the film; it’s so much more than a gimmick. However overall it just didn’t do it for me. Perhaps that’s because I don’t relate to the film in the way that some of my friends have. Ultimately, for me the script is dull and flat. It’s fairly well performed (although Ellar Coltrane isn’t particularly good from about age 14 onwards, Linklater couldn’t have predicted that when he started), but it’s just missing a driving narrative. Yes, I realise that the film isn’t about a ‘story’ as such, but I question what the point was by the end.

Foxcatcher
Another huge disappointment. Steve Carell is incredible, don’t get me wrong, but I lost interest in the plot quickly. There wasn’t a clear pace, which I think is vital for a film like this.

Gone Girl
Now, I haven’t read the book. But I did love this – I just really wanted it to be longer. Gosh it would have been a glorious 6-hour television serial. It moved just a shade too quickly for me in this form, which didn’t let the tension build up to its maximum. But Pike is wonderful and terrifying, and it’s fabulously directed. I don’t understand why it didn’t have a couple more nominations.

Guardians of the Galaxy
An unexpected pleasure! Not a standard superhero film, and a huge amount of fun. It’s not going to change the world, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, and can’t wait for a sequel.

Ida
A lovely film. Understated, quiet and gentle. I’m not entirely sure that it deserves the praise it’s gathered, but it’s a good movie – challenging in parts and with some excellent performances.

Interstellar
I really liked this! A lot more than many have, in fact. It’s not had enough nominations across the award season though, which I think is down to Nolan refusing to make screener copies available to voters until far too late. I appreciate that this film deserved the cinema experience, but voters just can’t see everything on the big screen. The film isn’t solely about the grand scale either – it’s got a gorgeous performance by McConaughey amongst other excellent qualities. It’s not Inception (although tries a bit hard to be in places), but it’s a fantastic movie.

Into The Woods
A lot of fun, and a brilliant adaptation of the show. It isn’t a masterpiece, and doesn’t feel as worthy of the screen adaptation as Les Miserables did in terms of cinematography, but it’s a wonderful watch. Particularly for Anna Kendrick and Daniel Huttlestone, who are both pitch-perfect in their understated performances. Meryl didn’t deserve the Best Supporting Actress nod from Oscar though – that’s just silly.

Mr Turner
I hated this. And I love Mike Leigh! I didn’t follow it despite it being slow and meandering, and it feels so so self-indulgent. But Dick Pope’s cinematography is stunning. There’s a nice appearance by Joshua McGuire (currently on stage with James McAvoy in The Ruling Class) as well which always gains it some appreciation from me. Spall is okay, clearly works really hard at what he’s given. But it’s just a badly written and tedious movie.

Nightcrawler
Great premise, great performances but missing a certain something in terms of narrative. It’s got great pacing and great tension though.

Pride
A really lovely film – one of my 2014 highlights. I hope this gets a nod for Outstanding British. Matthew Warchus is one of my favourite stage directors, who’s of course just about to take over from Spacey at the Old Vic helm, and he nails this film. It’s also got a cast to die for. I’ve already seen it a couple of times, and I have a feeling it’s going to become one of my firm favourite films.

Still Alice
An astonishing performance from Julianne Moore in a fairly decent “issue” film. The film generally is let down by Alec Baldwin (who I just don’t ever particularly like), and by some weak direction. The script is good, it just doesn’t have quite the right tone/rhythm.

The Boxtrolls
One of the worst animated films I’ve ever seen. I refuse to even talk about it. Why this is nominated is beyond me, when How to Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t. And why is it nominated for an Oscar when Lego Movie isn’t?!

The Grand Budapest Hotel
A fabulous film. So funny, with excellent pace and great performances. Gosh I love Wes Anderson. I think this will do very well tonight, and quite rightly so. I almost hope it picks up Best Director, because it’s just that good. A shame it came out so early, because I think it would be in a better position if it was more fresh in voters’ minds. It’s so rare that you see comedies let alone farces doing this well, which is testament to Anderson’s genius.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
This is by far the best in the trilogy, and is glorious. I’m a huge LOTR geek though, so might not be as objective as others.

The Imitation Game
This is a fantastic movie. Cumberbatch is great, but the whole ensemble are spot-on as well. Alex Lawther is particularly good as the young Turing. It’s difficult to give specific brief praise for this one, because it would descend into hyperbole – every component is great. I feel sad that Cumberbatch just has no chance against Redmayne for the Best Actor gong, because in other years he could well have taken it. As a film, this is miles ahead of The Theory of Everything.

The Lego Movie
Fantastic, fun and incredibly witty. Great music, lovely pace – clearly a labour of love for the team making it, and that shows.

The Theory of Everything
What an amazing, believable and moving performance from Eddie Redmayne. That’s what the film is about, that’s what it’s ‘for’, and that’s by far the best thing about it. As a movie putting his performance aside, it’s fairly standard and uses predictable biopic form. Felicty Jones is fairly strong, but I’m not sure she deserved a nomination. Marsh is a great director, but this didn’t show him off at his best. Redmayne will surely take home the award tonight.

Whiplash
I absolutely loved this one. Incredible pace and style and JK Simmons just owns this film. A movie about jazz music being so tense and so gripping is amazing. I think Damien Chazelle might have some exciting things to come following such a strong directorial debut.

Wild
A self-indulgent film which just doesn’t go anywhere. Witherspoon is okay, but this is arrogant to the extreme – it just doesn’t feel like the story deserved adapting! The flashback style is jarring and irritating, and the supporting performances are one dimensional.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Fantastic action movie, with contribution from some incredible actors. I love this franchise, and am glad it’s had a Visual Effects nod this year.

 

Chris Snow, 8th Feb 2015