Tonight, the BAFTAs 2016 will be held in London, honouring the best films of 2015 in all of their glory. National treasure Stephen Fry will present the glittering spectacular from London’s Royal Opera House, airing in edited form from 9pm on BBC One.
The ceremony is a big indicator for the Oscars, which could be very interesting given how open the Best Picture field is this year. Hot favourites The Revenant, Spotlight and The Big Short will duke it out for the title of Best Film, with many of the other nominations shining a light on people unrecognised by the Oscars, such as Idris Elba in Best Supporting Actor for Beasts of No Nation.
Below are my predictions for each of the major categories at the BAFTAs 2016.
Nominees: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Revenant, Spotlight
It’s fair to say that there’s no single clear frontrunner for Best Film at any of this year’s awards ceremonies. The category is wide open and exciting, with just about anyone capable of winning. Unshowy journalism drama Spotlight would seem to be a clear choice for the British Academy, but its lack of a director nomination would appear to rule it out. Meanwhile, zany American tale The Big Short seems unlikely to take their fancy.
Carol has fallen off the awards radar since it missed out at the Oscars and Bridge of Spies is a little too safe. That leaves The Revenant, riding high on the basis of Leonardo DiCaprio’s success and likely to repeat its Golden Globes success here.
Prediction: The Revenant
Nominees: Todd Haynes (Carol), Alejandro G Iñárritu (The Revenant), Adam McKay (The Big Short), Ridley Scott (The Martian), Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)
Last year, the BAFTAs pretty much ignored Alejandro G Iñárritu. Birdman, despite being given short shrift by British voters, went on to win four gongs at the Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It seems likely that they won’t make the same mistake this year.
Scott and Spielberg are potential spoilers, but their films don’t quite have the same edge as The Revenant and, as such, they will lose out.
Prediction: Alejandro G Iñárritu (The Revenant)
Nominees: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
This one seems likely to continue what could be a pretty great night for The Revenant. DiCaprio has been pretty consistently picking up gold since awards season started and it’s almost a certainty that he will finally scoop the elusive Oscar later this month.
There’s no reason to suspect that BAFTAs 2016 will go in any direction other than that of the other awards bodies here. Despite the strength of work from Damon and Fassbender, this is Leo’s without a doubt.
Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Nominees: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Last year was a great one for leading female roles. The Best Actress category is crowded for the Oscars and even more crowded at BAFTAs 2016, where they have wisely opted to keep Alicia Vikander in the leading category for her work in The Danish Girl.
The awards ceremonies, though, have been largely unanimous in garlanding Brie Larson for her tremendous central performance in Room. It’s a performance of real power and one that deserves all of the recognition it is getting. There’s a chance that the British Academy will go local and give the gong to Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, but Larson is the obvious choice.
Prediction: Brie Larson (Room)
Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Julie Walters (Brooklyn), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
This is yet another wide open category, with the award being handed to different winners at just about every ceremony. Category fraud has seen Rooney Mara shoehorned into the field for the BAFTAs 2016, whilst Alicia Vikander has crept in for Ex Machina given the rightful decision to classify her work in The Danish Girl as a leading role.
It is Vikander’s Ex Machina role that deserves to win the BAFTA here. The British Academy might be tempted to look to Brooklyn again, or to Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs. However, this is a chance to honour an excellent British film and the opportunity should not be missed.
Prediction: Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Benicio del Toro (Sicario), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
It’s great to see Benicio del Toro slotting into this category for his remarkable performance in Sicario – a film which has been largely ignored by the major awards ceremonies. Elsewhere, though, the category contains the usual suspects and finds room for Idris Elba’s work in Beasts of No Nation, which is one of the nods at the centre of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
The winner, though, in the absence of Oscars frontrunner Sylvester Stallone, will likely be very English thesp Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies. Rylance is quietly excellent as Russian spy Rudolf Abel and seems like a clear choice for a win at the BAFTAs 2016.
Prediction: Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen (Bridge of Spies); Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out); Alex Garland (Ex Machina); Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight); Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
Quentin Tarantino’s dismal, self-indulgent The Hateful Eight has thankfully been shut out by awards bodies. However, his addition here is no real surprise. Alex Garland’s work on Ex Machina is more of a surprise, but a pleasant one.
If I were choosing my winner, Pixar’s fiercely intelligent Inside Out would be the clear frontrunner. However, it’s Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer’s taut, understated script for Spotlight that will leave London with gold after the BAFTAs 2016 ceremony.
Prediction: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees: Emma Donoghue (Room), Nick Hornby (Brooklyn), Adam McKay and Charles Randolph (The Big Short), Phyllis Nagy (Carol), Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs)
As usual, this is the screenplay category where the real competition lies. Phyllis Nagy’s script for Carol is an elegantly crafted delight and Room has real mastery of tone. Neither of those seems likely to impress voters, though, and the same is the case for the deliberately unshowy Brooklyn.
The winner will likely be Steve Jobs. Aaron Sorkin won a BAFTA for The Social Network in 2011 and has since been nominated for Moneyball. His script for Steve Jobs is intricate and intelligent, making use of an innovative structure to illuminate a complex life. It deserves the win at BAFTAs 2016.
Prediction: Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs)
Outstanding British Film
Nominees: 45 Years, Amy, Brooklyn, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, The Lobster
This is a very strong category following a hell of a year for British cinema. The critics’ pick would appear to be Andrew Haigh’s gently poignant drama 45 Years or the delightfully understated Brooklyn. There would also be some who would suggest that Yorgos Lanthimos’ deeply bizarre The Lobster deserves plaudits.
The winner, though, should be Asif Kapadia’s elegant documentary Amy. It shines a light on the complex and tragic life of singer Amy Winehouse, maintaining enough of a creative distance to not point the finger of blame at anyone. At the BAFTAs 2016, it should be held up as the best of British.
Outstanding British Debut: Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Best Documentary: Amy
Best Animated Feature:: Inside Out
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
Best Original Music: Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight)
Best Sound: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Carol
Best Makeup and Hair: The Danish Girl
Best Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Film Not in the English Language: Force Majeure
EE Rising Star Award: John Boyega
Who do you think will win the big prizes at the BAFTAs 2016? Where have I gone wrong? Let me know in the comments section.