What do BAFTA nominations reveal about the Oscars race?

The BAFTA nominations announced today may reveal a lot about the upcoming Oscar bids thanks to a significant overlap of voters — upwards of 500.

Last year, BAFTA fotetold the Oscar strength of “Argo,” which won Best Picture from both groups. They also gave a boost to “Django Unchained,” which missed out on SAG nominations and was ineligible for the WGA Awards, but won BAFTAs for Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) and Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino) before repeating in those categories at the Oscars.

So who among this year’s nominees was most helped and hurt in the Oscar race by the BAFTA nominations?


It beat “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” to earn the most nominations despite having only one viable acting contender (Best Actress nominee Sandra Bullock). And despite being considered more a visual than writing achievement, it also earned a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

American Hustle
It has been racking up nominations and wins throughout the award season, but earning 10 nominations at the BAFTAs — including Best Picture and Best Director — is by far the biggest hug David O. Russell has ever gotten from the British academy. Both his leads – Christian Bale and Amy Adams – overcame tough competition to score lead-acting bids, in addition to supporting nods for Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Previously, his “Fighter” earned three BAFTA nominations and went on to seven Oscar nods and two wins. Last year “Silver Linings Playbook” earned only three BAFTA bids (and a win for Russell’s screenplay), and then eight at the Oscars (and a win for Lawrence). So if the Brits love “Hustle” this much, imagine how the Americans might fawn over it.

It’s not entirely surprising the British academy nominated it for Best Picture; director Stephen Frears, writer/producer/star Steve Coogan, and lead actress Judi Dench are BAFTA darlings, with a combined 16 wins between them (including for TV). But this nevertheless indicates strong industry support for the film as a whole and not just for Dench’s performance. There will be as many as 10 Oscar nominees for Best Picture, and “Philomena” is suddenly a plausible candidate for one of those slots.

Leonardo DiCaprio
What is the most morally responsible way to depict real-life events? That was the debate that fatally injured “Zero Dark Thirty” in last year’s Oscar race, and this year “The Wolf of Wall Street” has faced similar controversy over its (glorifying?) depiction of financial fraud and excess. It’s not nominated for Best Picture, but DiCaprio’s Best Actor nomination is a significant boost to his Oscar candidacy. BAFTA singled him out over Robert Redford (“All is Lost“), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club“), and even Michael Douglas (“Behind the Candelabra“), who was eligible for the film award in the UK for this HBO telefilm. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor
The “12 Years a Slave” star faces a tough Best Actor battle at several precursor awards against Redford and McConaughey, but he doesn’t have to worry about them here. And the London-born actor is a hometown favorite at the BAFTAs, though there is one other Brit in the race: Welshman Christian Bale.

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Robert Redford
Once the Oscar frontrunner, Redford tumbled after being snubbed by the SAG Awards. He rebounded at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, but once again his film industry peers have rejected him. Even a nomination at the Oscars isn’t guaranteed for him now, and a win might be out of the question.

Dallas Buyers Club
The independent drama was eligible at the BAFTAs but didn’t receive a single nomination. That might not be a fatal blow to its Oscar chances, but it’s significant. No one has won the Best Actor Oscar without at least a nomination from BAFTA since Denzel Washington (“Training Day”) in 2001. No one has pulled it off in the Supporting Actor race since Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) in 2004. McConaughey and Jared Leto should start sweating.

Meryl Streep
The BAFTAs love her almost as much as the Oscars do; they have awarded her twice out of 14 nominations. But they didn’t love her in “August: Osage County,” and with “American Hustle” on the rise, Amy Adams could take Streep’s spot at the Oscars next.

The sci-fi underdog has been slowly rising in the Oscar race, with nominations from several industry guilds (producers, writers, and costume designers). But it didn’t make a dent at the BAFTAs, not even for its very original screenplay. Scarlett Johansson, a previous winner for “Lost in Translation,” and Joaquin Phoenix, a three-time nominee, were also left out.

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