The final nominations will be announced on February 3 and the Bafta Film Awards will take place on March 13.
The impact of the preselection jury
As with the previous year’s Bafta Film Awards, a single special pre-selection jury was convened to augment the director category choices and four performance categories. If one of the goals of this jury was to improve the overall diversity of these five long lists, it seems that the jury faced a difficult challenge. In each actor category, 12 names are automatically shortlisted, and then the jury chooses three from the next 10 voter choices.
Last year, 25 of the 60 names shortlisted in the acting categories were non-white. This year, it’s significantly less: 15. It’s fair to assume that the jury couldn’t have had much impact on lists of names that were already quite dominated by white artists. Now four separate juries will decide the acting nominees, with a fifth for Best Director. However, diversity comes in many different forms, and included in the supporting actor is Codais Troy Kotsur, who is deaf.
As a director, the top seven women and top seven men are automatically shortlisted, then the jury adds three of each gender (chosen in each case from the next 10 voters’ choices). The final long list of 20 contains only four non-white names: Aleem Khan (After Love), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (drive my car), Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard) and Janicza Bravo (Zola). Again, it seems likely that the jury had limited opportunities to expand a list based on the top white-dominated picks from Bafta’s leadership chapter. Last year, there were five non-white directors among the long list of 20 Bafta.
Where the jury was able to have a positive impact, it was in the international framework of the categories direction and interpretation. Five of the shortlisted directors have made films in a foreign language: Ryusuke Hamaguchi for drive my carPaolo Sorrentino for God’s handAudrey Diwan for EventCeline Sciamma for Little mom and Julia Ducournau for Titanium. Among the shortlisted performers is Renate Reinsve for The worst person in the world
High profile omissions
Despite a stellar cast and early recognition (including eight Critics Choice nominations), Guillermo del Toro’s dark thriller alley of nightmares failed all categories except techniques. Penelope Cruz didn’t make the long list of Best Actress for Parallel mothers, and no international titles make the list of best films. by Paolo Sorrentino God’s hand is the most selected foreign language title in four categories, followed by Titanium, the worst person in the world, Drive my car, Little Mom and To run away on three. And in the Outstanding British Films category, Bafta voters have yet to come close to Joanna Hogg The memory: part two. It’s worth noting that his first installment didn’t earn a single nomination in 2020.
Only three films by female directors make the long list of best films again
Like last year, only three female directors have films in the running for best film: Sian Heder for CodaMaggie Gyllenhaal for The lost girl and Jane Campion for The power of the dog. As a reminder: the best film is the only category without a chapter or jury.
Female directors fared slightly better in the Outstanding UK and Non-English Films categories, with four each. The presence of female directors in the Outstanding British Films category is down from seven last year, while non-English language films are up slightly from three.
Female directors make up a third of the documentary section, with five shortlisted, down slightly from six last year. This year’s roster includes Andrea Arnold for CowLiz Garbus for Become Cousteau, Laura Fairrie for Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins StoryKristina Lindstrom for The most beautiful boy in the world and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi for The rescue.
Streamers and Studios
It’s a tale of two companies in most long lists, with Netflix dominating for streamers and Universal thriving among legacy studios. In the week it became Netflix’s second-biggest movie of all time by the company’s own numbers, Don’t look up scored 15 spots on the longlist, including five nods to act. The platform has also been successful with The power of the dog the 14th, The lost girl out of eight, Who passed out of seven and tick, tick… Boom! out of six.
by Kenneth Branagh Belfast led the way for Universal with 14 nods, followed by the studio House of Gucci with 13, no time to die with 12, Licorice Pizza with 11 and Last night in Soho with 10.
At this point in the long list, there are slightly more movies released by studios than streamers. Notable titles include Disney’s West Side Storywith 15 (common vertex with Don’t look up) and The French Dispatch with 11; and Warner Bros. Dunes with 12. Amazon’s main title is by Aaron Sorkin Be the Ricardos with nine; while Apple has The tragedy of Macbeth out of eight and Coda out of seven. This balance may change with appointments.
The lack of British films at the Baftas
The membership of the The British Academy’s Bafta Film Awards remain in the thrall to films made and supported in the United States. There are only three British films on the long list of best films – and of them only Branagh Belfast is an independent British film. The other two are by Ridley Scott House of Gucci and Bond juggernaut no time to die. (Although The power of the dog was developed by BBC Film and produced by Britain’s Tanya Seghatchian, it is not considered a British film or an official co-production.)
In Best Director, only four British directors out of a possible 20 were nominated: Branagh, Aleem Khan, Rebecca Hall and Joanna Hogg. And in the documentary category, four other films by British directors are in the running: Cow (Arnold) The Sparks Brothers (Edgard Wright), The real Charlie Chaplin (Peter Middleton and James Spinney) and Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story (Faerie).
Among the actors, 17 out of a total of 60 in the four categories are from the UK. That’s down from 20 last year and doesn’t include Irish actors Jessie Buckley and Catriona Balfe.
Even an outstanding British film is a distinctly transatlantic affair at this point in the long list. Cruella, no time to Pass away and House of Gucci and the presence on the list of photos of the Second World War Ground Meat Operation and Munich: on the brink of war, big budget WW1 spy antics king’s man, and cozy drama The Duke by the late Roger Michell suggests an electorate that skews traditional, for which read older, male and white. It’s definitely the one that couldn’t find a place for either Hogg’s The memory: part two or Arnold’s Cow. Does it matter? Let the conversation begin.