It’s the biggest night in the British film industry. Last Sunday saw the 72nd British Academy Film Awards take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London. A succession of US dominated award shows over the last few month such as Critics’ Choice Awards, the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards and the Golden Globes have already set the tone for the 2019 awards season. The BAFTAs are not only a celebration of the 2018’s films but also, in particular, a celebration of the British film industry within that. The BAFTAs can also be seen as a precursor to the Oscars which will take place on the 24th of this month.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite has received the most attention from the British Academy, receiving 12 nominations including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress (Olivia Colman), two Best Supporting Actresses (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) and subsequent nominations in production categories. The film’s subject matter of love, lust, jealousy and social climbing, along with its quirky editing and witty dialogue, turns the tragic life of Queen Anne into two hours of compelling cinema. As a night celebrating the achievements of British films, it’s safe to say The Favourite stands a good chance of collecting awards.
As well as The Favourite, Best Film nominations have gone to BlacKkKlansman, the story of an African American police officer and Jewish recruit infiltrating a Colorado Ku Klux Klan branch; Green Book, the tale of an African American Pianist and ex-nightclub bouncer in the 1960s, travelling through the segregated deep South; Roma, following the life of a maid working for a middle class family in 1970s Mexico City and finally, the heart breaking tale of two musicians, A Star is Born.
Although Olivia Colman is dominating predictions for Best Leading Actress for her tragicomic portrayal of Queen Anne, the performances by the other nominees have been outstanding. Melissa McCarthy is almost unrecognisable in Can You Ever Forgive Me? – a step away from the lighter comic roles we’re used to seeing her in. Lady Gaga also received acclaim for A Star is Born, although the only awards she’s received for this so far have been for the song ‘Shallow’.
Rami Malek is favourite to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the box office triumph Bohemian Rhapsody, having already picked up a Golden Globe for the role. However, he faces strong contenders, including Steve Coogan for his portrayal of Stan Laurel in bio-pic Stan & Ollie. Other nominees are Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, Christian Bale for Vice and Viggo Mortensen for Green Book.
The EE Rising Star Award is the only award of the night voted by the British public and is always one to watch. Previous recipient include James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, John Boyega and Daniel Kaluuya. This year, nominations have gone to Barry Keoghan (best known for American Animals and Dunkirk), Cynthia Erivo (Widows), Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose and War & Peace), Lakeith Stanfield (Selma and Get Out) and Letitia Wright (Black Panther and Black Mirror).
Every Hollywood fan and film lovers’ eyes were on London last weekend, ready to see who gets recognised by the prestigious British Academy and who might be on the cards to receive the American equivalent in a few weeks’ time. All in all, the BAFTAs should be a memorable night for 2019’s British and international cinema achievements.