“Gravity” is the top nominee at the BAFTA Awards with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Director (Alfonso Cuaron), Actress (Sandra Bullock), Original Screenplay, Best British Film, and several technical awards.
“12 Years a Slave” is not far behind with 10 nominations. That the American historical film did well at the the BAFTAs, Britian’s equivalent of the Oscar, comes as no surprise given the popularity of its director, London-born Steve McQueen, with the British Academy. Both of his previous films, “Hunger” and “Shame,” were nominated for Best British Film; McQueen also won Most Promising Newcomer for “Hunger.” Ironically, despite being the first McQueen film nominated for Best Picture, it’s also his first not nominated for Best British Film.
“American Hustle” also scored 10 nominations, including Best Picture and all four acting categories. Amy Adams unseated Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County“) in the Best Actress race, while Christian Bale was recognized instead of Robert Redford (“All is Lost“)
“Behind the Candelabra,” which recently swept the Primetime Emmys in the US, was distributed theatrically in the UK and earned five BAFTA nominations, including Best Supporting Actor (Matt Damon) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Michael Douglas, however, surprisingly didn’t make the cut for Best Actor.
The BAFTA winner for Best Picture has matched Oscar’s choice for the last five years, an unusual streak for the two groups, which have disagreed as often as not: they matched only 11 times out of the last 20. They are similarly out of sync in the acting races, agreeing less than half the time over the last two decades.
BAFTA nominees are determined by a process similar to the Oscars: all 6500 academy members are permitted to vote for Best Picture and the four acting categories, while Specialist Chapters determine directing, writing, and technical categories. Winners will be determined by an academy-wide vote in every race.
The British Academy nominates films in categories almost identical to the Oscars, while also singling out their hometown favorites with the Best British Film award. This year’s nominees in that category are “Gravity,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Philomena,” “Rush,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” and “The Selfish Giant.”
British filmmaking is also singled out with the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Director, Writer or Producer. This year, BAFTA has nominated artists behind “Good Vibrations,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” Kelly + Victor,” “For Those in Peril,” and “Shell.”
Since 2006, the academy also singles out breakthrough performers with the Rising Star Award, which is the only category determined by a public online vote; previous winners of that prize include Kristen Stewart, James McAvoy, and Tom Hardy. This year’s nominees are Dane DeHaan, George MacKay, Lupita Nyong’o, Will Poulter, and Lea Seydoux.