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Best of BAFTA



For your amusement, I present my reactions to the BAFTA Awards 2013.  The show itself was very well done – Stephen Fry is an engaging and very amusing host, and many of the presenters were great.  But what about the awards?

Best Film



Other Nominees:

Les Misérables

Life of Pi


Zero Dark Thirty

There are reasons for Argo standing above the other nominees.  I have seen all but one of these, and the one I am yet to see, Lincoln, has been described by some as dull.  While it is clearly about a weighty subject, making it an “important” film and therefore worthy of attention, perhaps the BAFTA members felt it was insufficiently dynamic or cinematic.  Or maybe they thought Spielberg has done it all, and this is nothing new.  Les Misérables has problems with pacing and direction – Tom Hooper has rightly been left out of many directorial awards because the film is not that well directed.  Multiple narrative and thematic strands in a story like Les Misérables need to be tied together and, when they were, it was through the music rather than cinematic style.  Great musical, not great cinema.  Zero Dark Thirty has likely been hurt by the controversy, and while this has not harmed its box office, it seems awards are not forthcoming for the film by “torture’s handmaiden”.  Life of Pi is visually stunning and an intriguing investigation into storytelling, but perhaps like previous 3D extravaganzas Avatar and Hugo, it is deemed not sufficiently serious.  But Argo is an intensely cinematic thriller, a true story (always worth honouring) about triumph and the US actually doing something good internationally, and strikes a remarkable balance between drama and comedy.  While there may be problems with Argo (I don’t personally know of any), none are as significant as those of the other films.  This makes the film’s continued success understandable, and there is little reason not to expect this success to continue.

Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year



Other Nominees:

Anna Karenina

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Les Misérables

Seven Psychopaths

This award pleased me immensely, as I fully expected the adaptation of the classic musical of the classic novel to be honoured almost by rote, but instead my top film of 2012 gets the recognition it has otherwise been denied.  Bravo to all involved!

Best Actor


Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln

Other Nominees:

Ben Affleck for Argo

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook

Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master

I assume the other nominees just turned up for the show (and they were all there), because no one has a chance this year against Daniel Day-Lewis.  If Lincoln were made in another year, then I would have predicted Hugh Jackman to pick up the award.  But nothing stops the Lincoln express.

Best Actress


Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

Other Nominees:

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty

Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook

Helen Mirren for Hitchcock

This was a tough one to predict, as both Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence had picked up Golden Globes, Marion Cotillard as well as Emmanuelle Riva wowed the art house crowd, and Helen Mirren is a national treasure.  I predicted Chastain but have no problem with Riva – having not seen Amour I’ll trust the assessments of those more informed than me.

Best Supporting Actor


Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained

Other Nominees:

Alan Arkin for Argo

Javier Bardem for Skyfall

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln

This one has been a two-horse race, what with Christoph Waltz winning the Golden Globe but Tommy Lee Jones getting the SAG award.  With the BAFTA to his credit, Waltz is clearly the Supporting Actor of the moment, thanks to Quentin Tarantino.  Funny, we were here three years ago as well.  Django Unchained has its problems, but Waltz is not among them.

Best Supporting Actress


Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables

Other Nominees:

Amy Adams for The Master

Judi Dench for Skyfall

Sally Field for Lincoln

Helen Hunt for The Sessions

Anne Hathaway needs a bigger mantelpiece, with all these awards.  It is nice to see Sally Field back in the limelight, not least because it gave Stephen Fry a chance for some extra fawning.  Poor Amy Adams though – she’s always nominated in this category against really strong competition.  Hang in there, Ames.

David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction


Ben Affleck for Argo

Other Nominees:

Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty

Michael Haneke for Amour

Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained

In his acceptance speech, Ben Affleck described his current position as the second act.  I’m not certain where the divisions are, but perhaps the first act ended with the nadir of his career that was Gigli and the implosion of “Bennifer”.  Since then, Affleck re-invented himself with his turn in Hollywoodland and, more importantly, as a director.  Gone Baby Gone was great, The Town was better, and with Argo he has earned a Golden Globe, a DGA award and now a BAFTA.  There may not be an Oscar this year, but keep at it, Ben, and the third act may be even better.

Best Screenplay (Original)


Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino

Other Nominees:

Amour: Michael Haneke

The Master: Paul Thomas Anderson

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal

It seems that, along with Best Supporting Actor, Tarantino films can’t stop receiving Screenplay awards.  While Django Unchained has its problems, they are more down to QT the director rather than QT the writer.  His scripts are ornate, elaborate, and eloquent, so it is small wonder that actors love working with him and often turn in career best performances.

Best Screenplay (Adapted)


Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell

Other Nominees:

Argo: Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi: David Magee

Lincoln: Tony Kushner

I thought Argo would pick this up, but it seems that out of the multitude of awards Silver Linings Playbook is up for, this is the one it can actually get.  David O’Russell is a bit of an awards darling, and this might be the start of more accolades for him.  And the script for Silver Linings Playbook is warm and witty without shying away from the suffering of its characters.

Best Cinematography


Life of Pi: Claudio Miranda

Other Nominees:

Anna Karenina: Seamus McGarvey

Les Misérables: Danny Cohen

Lincoln: Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall: Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins deserves an award big time, but never picks one up.  Clearly the way to do so is to work on a 3D film.  Like Avatar and Hugo before it, Life of Pi’s 3D cinematography is clearly worthy of adulation.  Even though I saw it in 2D, I could still appreciate the different planes of action and the extra depth that 3D would have applied.  Skyfall was still more beautiful though.

Best Editing


Argo: Billy Goldenberg

Other Nominees:

Django Unchained: Fred Raskin

Life of Pi: Tim Squyres

Skyfall: Stuart Baird

Zero Dark Thirty: Dylan Tichenor, Billy Goldenberg

Much of Argo’s tension and humour comes from its editing, cutting between different locations at an ever-increasing rate.  While it misses out on writing and acting awards, editing is carrying this beauty to greater glory.

Best Production Design


Les Misérables: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

Other Nominees:

Anna Karenina: Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

Life of Pi: David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

Lincoln: Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Skyfall: Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock

The set design for Les Misérables combined the theatrical and the cinematic, working both aesthetically and narratively.  Well deserved, I think.

Best Costume Design


Anna Karenina: Jacqueline Durran

Other Nominees:

Great Expectations: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

Les Misérables: Paco Delgado

Lincoln: Joanna Johnston

Snow White and the Huntsman: Colleen Atwood

What a shocker, all these nominees had period settings!  I’m calling the swords and sorcery setting of Snow White and the Huntsman period, just accept it.  No surprise that Anna Karenina picked that up.

Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music


Skyfall: Thomas Newman

Other Nominees:

Anna Karenina: Dario Marianelli

Argo: Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi: Mychael Danna

Lincoln: John Williams

Skyfall is a film that warrants major attention, but aside from special awards, music seems to be its outstanding feature.  I have no problem with it receiving this honour.  Pity Adele didn’t sing though.

Best Make Up/Hair


Les Misérables

Other Nominees:

Anna Karenina


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Les Misérables pulled off the remarkable feat of making the impossibly gorgeous Anne Hathaway look ugly, so bravo.  Nice that the ears, feet, beards etc of all those weird-looking people got some notification, as well as the efforts displayed in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Best Sound


Les Misérables

Other Nominees:

Django Unchained

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi


I saw all of these, but must confess I did not really notice the sound that much.  However, to capture and then combine the multitude of singing voices, captured live during filming of Les Misérables, is a remarkable technical achievement, so it is an honour richly deserved.  Now if only something had been done with Russell Crowe’s singing…

Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects


Life of Pi

Other Nominees:

Avengers Assemble

The Dark Knight Rises

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


All of these I have seen, and indeed all were in my top twelve of 2012, which perhaps says something about my kind of films, except that these are a varied bunch.  The four that did not win are blockbusters, with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey coming from good pedigree when it comes to winning awards.  But Life of Pi is a special effects extravaganza that has also attracted “major” as well as “technical” nominations, so like The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, as well as Avatar, visual effects is another bone thrown its way.

Best Film not in the English Language



Other Nominees:


The Hunt

Rust and Bone


Not seen any of these, but after all the attention lavished on Amour, this win was hardly surprising.

Best Animated Feature Film



Other Nominees:



Brave is the only one I have seen of these three, and while it is less outstanding than other Pixar efforts such as Wall-E, Up and all three Toy Story films, it is a fine adventure and great fun.

Best Documentary


Searching for Sugar Man

Other Nominees:

The Imposter



West of Memphis

Documentaries often highlight individuals or events that are otherwise overlooked.  Searching for Sugar Man clearly did this, and while I have not seen any of these, I applaud all of them for their efforts and accomplishments.

EE Rising Star Award


Juno Temple

Other Nominees:

Elizabeth Olsen

Andrea Riseborough

Suraj Sharma

Alicia Vikander

I predicted Suraj Sharma, on the basis of him having made an extraordinary debut in Life of Pi.  However, everyone else has a more established body of work, and Juno Temple made quite an impression in Killer Joe as well as cropping up in The Dark Knight Rises.  I look forward to great things from all of these performers.

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer


The Imposter: Bart Layton, Dimitri Doganis

Other Nominees:

I Am Nasrine: Tina Gharavi

McCullin: David Manos Morris, Jacqui Morris

The Muppets: James Bobin

Wild Bill: Dexter Fletcher, Danny King

Although I have only seen The Muppets out of this group, I would have been surprised at James Bobin picking up the award as there were a lot of other talents that made The Muppets work.  Everything about The Imposter sounds remarkable, so hats off to Layton and Doganis.

Best Short Animation


The Making of Longbird: Will Anderson, Ainslie Henderson

Other Nominees:

Here to Fall: Kris Kelly, Evelyn McGrath

I’m Fine Thanks: Eamonn O’Neill

Best Short Film


Swimmer: Lynne Ramsay, Peter Carlton, Diarmid Scrimshaw

Other Nominees:

The Curse: Fyzal Boulifa, Gavin Humphries

Good Night: Muriel d’Ansembourg, Eva Sigurdardottir

Tumult: Johnny Barrington, Rhianna Andrews

The Voorman Problem: Mark Gill, Baldwin LI

I confess I have seen none of these so have no opinion.


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