BAFTA Film Awards nominations announced Thursday afternoon in London offer diverse culture and highest number of female nominees ever; they are also distinguished by a strong British presence and the very first mention of Will Smith.
There is one category – director – that stands out a bit like a puzzle. Not necessarily in a bad way, but surprising nonetheless. The field has an even split of male and female filmmakers, though the list strays from recent DGA nominations and barely aligns with the Best Picture race at the BAFTAs.
One explanation for the misalignment could be that BAFTA director nominees are chosen by a nominating panel, while Best Picture nominees are voted on by the full membership.
The nominees for Best Picture are Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Dune, Licorice Pizza and The power of the dog. In the Achievement category, only Licorice Pizzais Paul Thomas Anderson and power of the dogJane Campion figure. The other four nominees are drive my carby Ryusuke Hamaguchi Eventby Audrey Diwan (winner of the Golden Lion last year in Venice), Titaniumby Julia Ducournau (winner of the Palme d’Or in 2021) and debutant Aleem Khan for After Love. The only nominations for Event and Titanium are in the Achievement category.
In 2021, there was only one movie, nomadland, which repeated in Best Picture and Best Director – and it went on to win both awards. In 2021, the DGA and the BAFTAs lined up with three nominees compared to two this year.
DGA contenders Kenneth Branagh (Belfastwho has six BAFTA nominations in total), Denis Villeneuve (despite his Dunes being the biggest BAFTA nominee) and Steven Spielberg (although West Side Story received five approvals).
Overall, there is an increase in the number of female directors nominated in all categories, up to 12 from eight in 2021. The total number of female directors has increased to 70, which is the highest of the last five years (since reports began). In the acting categories, 19 nominees are debutants, seven are British and seven are from underrepresented ethnicities. It’s not as much as last year, but it’s up from 2020.
Brits have done well in the hometown nominees, especially for indie films like After Love (4 names), Boiling point (4), Who passed (4) and Ali and Ava (2). With seven of the 24 performance nominees being British, it may inspire less criticism that the awards skew too American. Also, and refreshingly, there are a lot of new faces here.
One of them is two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith, who finally (!) earns his first-ever BAFTA nomination with Warner Bros. King Richard. The film has four nominations overall (including for Zach Baylin’s original screenplay and endorsements for supporting actress Aunjanue Ellis and cast).
At the end of 2020, BAFTA made over 120 changes to its voting, membership and campaigning processes following extensive review. The British organization began the review to address diversity standards after controversy erupted over its nominations for the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards, which featured no non-white acting nominees and an all-male directing field. One of the changes was to increase the number of nominees in the directing and acting categories, including a long directing list made up of equal numbers of men and women.
The regulations do indeed seem to contribute to more diversity, but it could also be a matter of increased voter awareness as well as an increased number of voters.
With 10 nominees in the expanded Best British Film category, the field is wide. Belfast repeat here, while no time to die – the film that essentially single-handedly put British cinema back on the map last autumn – scored one of its five on-court mentions. by Edgar Wright Last night in Soho and Ridley Scott Gucci House also landed on the list, while the latter’s star, Lady Gaga, is in the lead actress race.
Kristen Stewart is not in this business for her portrayal of Princess Diana in spencer, who got no nominations. Neither is Be the Ricardos‘Nicole Kidman. Nice to see Cannes Best Actress winner Renate Reinsve among the contenders for Joachim Trier The worst person in the world.
This Norwegian image is also in place for Film Not In The English Language alongside Drive my car, hand of God, parallel mothers and Little mom. No more Parallel mothers or Little mom were their respective countries’ Oscar entries, so don’t be there. The others are all shortlisted for the International Feature Film Oscar.
Streamers did well with six Netflix titles showing: The power of the dog (8 nominations), Don’t look up (4), Who passed (4), God’s hand (2), The more they fall (2) The lost girl (2) and The Mitchells vs. the Machines (1). AppleTV+ CODA won three mentions including Adapted Screenplay for Siân Heder, Lead Actress for Emilia Jones and Actor in a Supporting Role for Troy Kotsur, while swan song and Macbeth’s Tragedy each got a nomination. And the one from Amazon Be the Ricardos scored two with Everybody’s talking about Jamie by catching one.
Krishnendu Majumdar, Chairman of BAFTA, said today: “This year’s nominations showcase a remarkable range of creative work in front of and behind the camera. We know that by celebrating outstanding achievements today, we inspire future generations for years to come. Two years ago we launched a major review of our voting, membership and campaigning processes and I would like to thank BAFTA members and the wider industry for embracing these changes. Our aim is to level the playing field for awards submissions so that more films and the truly diverse range of outstanding creative talent in the UK and overseas are represented and celebrated. With 48 films nominated today, we are thrilled to be able to shine a light on such a phenomenal breadth of stories and performances.