BAFTA TV Awards Preview: Performers

Unlike the Emmys, performers in single drama, mini-series and series are pitted against each other at the BAFTAs. (See BAFTA program contenders report here and explanation of voting process here.) Nominees will be annouced April 30 and the awards are on May 27.

Among those men contending for Best Actor bids who starred in one-off dramas are Bill Nighy (“Page Eight“), David Morrissey (“London’s Burning”), Matt Smith (“Christopher and his Kind”), David Tennant (“United”), Darren Boyd (“Holy Flying Circus”), Aneurin Barnard (“We’ll Take Manhattan”), Ed Stoppard and Ian Hart (“The Man Who Crossed Hitler”).

Leading men from mini-series include Dominic West (“Appropriate Adult“), Eddie Redmayne (“Birdsong“), last year’s nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock“), Chiwetel Ejiofor and Christopher Eccleston (“The Shadow Line”), Chris O’Dowd (“The Crimson Petal and the White”), Rory Kinnear (“Black Mirror”), Ashley Walters (“Top Boy”), and both John Simm and Jim Broadbent (“Exile”).

Series stars in the hunt for a Best Actor bid include Idris Elba (“Luther“), Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey“), Jason Isaacs (“Case Histories”), James Nesbitt (“Monroe”) and Matt Smith (“Doctor Who”) who contended last year as well.

Best Actress contenders from single dramas include Ruth Negga (“Shirley”), Rachel Weisz (“Page Eight”), Karen Gillan (“We’ll Take Manhattan”) and both Anna Maxwell Martin and Claire Foy (“The Night Watch”).

Those possible nominees from mini-series include last year’s champ Vicky McClure (“This Is England ’88”), Emily Watson (“Appropriate Adult”), Romola Garai (“The Crimson Petal and the White” and “The Hour”), Clemence Posey (“Birdsong”) and Gillian Anderson (“Great Expectations“).

Leading ladies from series include: Elizabeth McGovern (“Downton Abbey”), Ruth Jones (“Stella”), Maxine Peake (“Silk”), Jessica Raine (“Call the Midwife”), both Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp (“Scott & Bailey”) and Karen Gillan (“Doctor Who”).

Supporting acting categories were only added two years ago. While performers choose their category, the BAFTA committee can change this.

Three of last year’s Best Supporting Actor nominees — Brendan Coyle (“Downton Abbey”), Johnny Harris (“This Is England ’88”) and Martin Freeman (“Sherlock”) who won the BAFTA — are eligible again this year.

Their competition should come from Michael Gambon and Ralph Fiennes (“Page Eight”), Rafe Spall, Anthony Sher and possible winner Stephen Rea (“The Shadow Line”), Richard E. Grant (“The Crimson Petal and the White”), Andrew Scott and Mark Gatiss (“Sherlock”), Toby Jones and Pip Carter (“Christopher and his Kind”), Charles Edwards (“Holy Flying Circus”), Ray Winstone and David Suchet (“Great Expectations”), Matthew Goode (“Birdsong”) and Alun Armstrong (“The Mystery of Edwin Drood”).

Last year’s surprise Best Supporting Actress winner Lauren Socha (“Misfits”) will have a tough job returning to the category to defend her title. Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”), who was snubbed last year but went on to win an Emmy, is one of many contenders who could replace her.

Also in the running are Judy Davis (“Page Eight”), Gillian Anderson and Shirley Henderson (“The Crimson Petal and the White”), Kierston Wareing and Eve Best (“The Shadow Line”), Lesley Sharp (“Shirley” and “The Shadow Line”), Olivia Colman (“Exile”), Imogen Poots and Lindsay Duncan (“Christopher and his Kind”), Marie-Josee Croze (“Birdsong”), Monica Dolan (“Appropriate Adult”), Miranda Hart, Jenny Agutter, Pam Ferris and Judy Parfitt (“Call the Midwife”) and the rest of the “Downton Abbey” actresses.

While the Emmy Awards have separate catgories for comedy stars and featured funny folk, the BAFTAs combine these into single races.

The frontrunners for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Program are returning nominee Tom Hollander (“Rev.”), Darren Boyd (“Spy”) and Hugh Bonneville (“Twenty Twelve”). Also in the running are Warwick Davis (“Life’s Too Short”), Russell Tovey (“Him & Her”), Hugh Dennis (“Outnumbered”), Jack Whitehall and Joe Thomas (“Fresh Meat”), Rafe Spall (“Pete versus Life”) and “Rev.” supporting men Steve Evets, Miles Jupp and Simon McBurney.

On the female side, frontrunners include Olivia Colman (“Rev.”), Claire Skinner (“Outnumbered”), Sarah Solemani (“Him & Her”), Dawn French (“Psychoville” or “Roger and Val Have Just Got In”), Tamsin Greig (“Friday Night Dinner”), Jessica Hynes (“Twenty Twelve”), two-time champ Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders (“Absolutely Fabulous”) and Ruth Jones (“Stella”) who would have a better chance of winning here than in drama. 

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