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.

RELATEDWill Oscars transatlantic love affair with BAFTAs continue this year?


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.

15 thoughts on “What do BAFTA nominations reveal about the Oscars race?

  1. Once again, Captain Phillips gets no mention. It’s definitely a threat and it’s unfortunate certain editors refuse to mention such a fine film

  2. Could the Academy snub their favorite leading lady for such an accomplished performance ? I don’t think so. Adams has become a major threat that’s for sure, but I don’t think she will make it in the end, not in lead anyway. Next year on the other hand I can easily see her take Best Actress for BIG EYES.

  3. Didn’t realize it was 10 YEARS since someone had won without a BAFTA nom. That practically locks someone else as the winner. It will be very interesting who GG pick!

  4. Overestimating Bafta impact.
    Gravity’s lead over the others because of a technicality in producers’ nationality.
    Dallas Buyers (especially) and August Osage are more America-centric. Bafta result doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt. Neutral impact.
    Positive boost for Philomena and Blue Jasmine in other categories.
    Daniel, consider THREE sections, Up, Down and Neutral.
    Also, your analysis must factor what’s happening on the ground, the studio campaigning for votes is in America (rather than in London), especially heavy past few days.

  5. “Gravity didn’t really beat Hustle and 12 because it’s eligible for Best Britism Film while the other two didn’t. So essentially, it’s a 3-way tie.”
    Well… Gravity isn’t eligible for Best Actor nor Best Supporting Actress yet you count those for Hustle and 12 Years.

  6. I’m shocked oprah got in. But sally hawkins nom reconfirms that Sally Hawkins has a great chance (the movie plays great on screeners). It is racist how 12 years was not nominated for best british film when the majority of crew and cast was british but “gravity” was nominated with one british producer.These nominations also confirm that “american husle” will be nominated in each acting category!Also, Gravity best original screenplay? UM, NOOOOO!!!!

  7. I was confused by Amy Adams performance in American Hustle. The way the accent would come and go (by my count there were three, though she was playing only 2 characters). She had her moments, but in the end, it was what I have come to typically expect from her : good, but not quite good enough (*to at least win an Oscar). I do think that both Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence deserve to be at the top of their respective categories.

  8. I dont think this article properly examines why things were left out or so heavily awarded. Gravitys screenplay nod was a bit of a surprise, but it upped its tally by being the only one of the 3 frontrunners eligible for “Best British Film” because the producer (and several technical artists) are British. They just claimed it for their own.

    Also, Dallas Buys Club and Her. Yes they were eligible, but they have not yet had a wide theatrical release in the UK. They will release on Feb 7th and 14th, respectively. So obviously less Britts have actually seen the films. And August: Osage County is a uniquely American story, dealing with a very american family dynamic. I saw the play with a friend from Mexico, and he just didnt get why it was so popular here. Its not a film that will do well abroad, or anywhere outside the states.

  9. Amy Adams’ accent is supposed to be that way; you can tell that the character herself uses the accent when untrue to herself, and not just when she’s in character. Thought that was clear in the movie.

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