The BAFTA nominations were announced yesterday, with All Quiet on the Western Front earning a record-tying fourteen nominations. This is one of my top 10 for 2022, but also, it’s the film I tipped for a tight race in Best Cinematography, and its impressive BAFTA haul is likely a preview of things to come when the Oscar nominations are announced on January 24. It is a very good film, but it’s also exactly the kind of film that gets a lot of Oscar nominations thanks to craft and technical categories. It’s streaming on Netflix if you’re interested in being depressed for an afternoon (it’s a total bummer, but it IS very good).
These BAFTA nominations are a fairly decent preview of what the Oscar nominations will look like. A shift to a byzantine voting system a few years ago means the BAFTAs veer further from the Academy every year—not a bad thing—so it’s not necessarily as good a predictor as it has been in the past, but I think 2022 provides such a clear cohort of quality films, there will likely be a lot of overlap this year. All Quiet, for instance, is going to pop at the Oscars, as will Everything Everywhere All At Once and The Banshees of Inisherin, both of which earned ten nominations apiece, driven by multiple acting nominations for each film and a bevy of below-the-line nominations. That pattern is likely to repeat at the Oscars.
The BAFTAs only have five Best Film nominees, and I think all these films double up on Oscar nominations. But the expanded field of ten at the Oscars is meant to make room for films like Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, and RRR, all likely to pull nominations there, as is The Fabelmans, which only earned a Best Original Screenplay nomination at the BAFTAs. This is accurately reflective of how unengagingThe Fabelmans is, but you know the Academy is going to lob a bucket of nominations at Spielberg. But let’s go back to Best Cinematography. Maverick’s Claudio Miranda was nominated, as was All Quiet’s James Friend. (Maverick also pulled a Best Editing nomination for Eddie Hamilton, who sifted through over eight hundred hours of film and countless puke takes to assemble the breathless flight footage.) That remains the matchup to watch for me because it says so much about which way the voters are leaning, toward classicism or modernity.
Our expected actor nominees are all here: Brendan Fraser, Austin Butler, and Colin Farrell for Best Actor, joined by Bill Nighy, Paul Mescal, and Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’s Daryl McCormack. (The BAFTA acting categories now include six nominees.) The notable oversight is Tom Cruise. Paul Mescal is creeping up the odds, riding the growing swell of Aftersun appreciation, and I will not be shocked if Mescal edges out Cruise at the Oscars. I still think his best shot at a nomination is for producing Top Gun: Maverick.
If Ke Huy Quan is ever going to lose, it will be at the BAFTAs, where they’re more likely to favor a hometown hero like Eddie Redmayne or Michael Ward (Empire of Light), or one of the neighboring Irish boys from Inisherin. Example: Michelle Williams was not nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but English rose Carey Mulligan was. There is not a chance in hell Mulligan pulls an Oscar nomination for She Said, so this is a perfect case of BAFTA’s hometown bias.
As for the leading ladies, there are six nominees here and only five for the Oscars, and it will be Emma Thompson left out on this side of the pond. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a sweet film, and she gives a great performance (it’s on Hulu in the US and Prime in Canada if you’re interested), but it has no heat in the Oscar race.
Speaking of BAFTA’s hometown bias, who is surprised RRR was excluded entirely? That movie portrays the British as cartoonishly evil, mustache-twirling villains much the way white western films often depict brown people as bad guys. There is no way they’re nominating a film where the climax is a couple Indian guys burning down the Viceroy’s house and executing him in a Tarantino-esque reimagining of colonial India. The British Academy is trying to change—they’re not changing THAT much.
See the full list of nominees here.
Here’s Brendan Fraser out in London yesterday.