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What do 'The King's Speech' BAFTA wins mean for the Oscars?

By Tom O'Neil
Feb 13 2011 22:34 pm
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"The King's Speech" ruled so fiercely at BAFTA, sweeping up seven awards, that even Geoffrey Rush went along for the ride, squashing Oscars frontrunner Christian Bale ("The Fighter"). And Helena Bonham Carter beat Amy Adams ("The Fighter"), who, pundits say, has a stronger shot at winning the Oscar than Carter. (Oscar faves Melissa Leo and Hailee Steinfeld weren't nominated.) But maybe that's just because they're subjects of the royal realm themselves: Carter is British, Rush is an Aussie.

See Gold Derby's full report on the BAFTA winners here.

BAFTA results matter a lot when predicting the Oscars because the two awards share many voters. About 500 BAFTA members also belong to the 5,800-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

However, there are notable differences in the two awards' voting processes. For example, all Oscar voters can decide some crafts categories that are restricted by peer group at BAFTA. But the overall similarities often lead to BAFTA tattling on Oscar results.

Last year award pundits were shocked when "The Hurt Locker" won Best Picture at BAFTA over "Avatar," "An Education," "Precious" and "Up in the Air." Afterward, it was widely regarded as the inevitable Oscar champ. In recent years, BAFTA has foretold Oscar upsets by Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") and Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton").

"The King's Speech" emerged from BAFTA looking like it will reign as Best Picture at the Oscars, but it did not go on a royal rampage. What's curious is the fact that "King's Speech" lost seven BAFTA races, some of them key.

David Fincher ("The Social Network") beat Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") for Best Director. That's fascinating considering Hooper recently won the Directors Guild of America trophy in the U.S., which usually means the Oscar is next. Fincher's victory here reinforces the belief of most Gold Derby pundits who predict the top two Oscars will split – "The King's Speech" for Best Picture and Fincher for Best Director. Or else Fincher's BAFTA win might even suggest that "The Social Network" has better odds of winning the top Oscar for Best Picture than pundits believe.

● It's not so surprising that "King's Speech" lost the film-editing award to "Social Network." The editing of "King's Speech" isn't that notable. What's surprising is that "Social Network" beat Oscar front-runners "Inception" and "Black Swan." Just like Best Director, the award for Best Editing at the Oscars is considered to be a harbinger.



● "The King's Speech" lost Best Production Design to "Inception." Historical dramas starring castles and blue bloods often win this race though last year's BAFTA and Oscar champ was "Avatar."

● Historic period dramas usually win costume awards, too, but "King's Speech" lost to "Alice in Wonderland," which, granted, has fantastically flamboyant costumes with historic allusions designed by BAFTA darling Colleen Atwood.

● No surprises: "King's Speech" lost Best Sound to "Inception," Best Makeup to "Alice in Wonderland," and Best Cinematography to "True Grit."

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