Here's a sampling of the British Film Academy nominations. Don't get too excited. It's snoresville. And I'm in an ugly mood and BAFTA invariably annoys me each year (far less discerning than AMPAS if that's possible) so be warned. Plus I always fail to understand how BAFTA relates to the Oscars. It gets very little press coverage in America after all) but other Oscar predictors get excited about them... and I don't have anything else to write about this morning. ;)
Nearly all Oscar ballots are already in. The last major thing that could influence nominations was probably the Globe wins. And even that is pushing it since they always say that the majority of Oscar voters turn in their ballot quickly after receiving it (i.e. the week before this year's Globe ceremony). The buzz of two weeks ago is more important to nominations than the buzz of right now. Theoretically.
But on to BAFTA...
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - focus features / CAPOTE - sony pictures classics / THE CONSTANT GARDENER - focus features /
CRASH - lions gate / GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK - warner independent pictures
Outstanding British Film of the Year
A COCK & BULL STORY / THE CONSTANT GARDENER / FESTIVAL / PRIDE & PREJUDICE / WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
I have never completely fathomed how it is that the British Academy and the American Academy think so much alike. And every year about this time when I start getting sick of precursors I wonder why there are so so so many when they don't really have their own "voices." The homogeny is soul crushing. Only the Globes stuck their neck out this year w/ that History of Violence nomination.
Achievement in Direction
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN - Ang Lee / CAPOTE - Bennett Miller / THE CONSTANT GARDENER - Fernando Meirelles / CRASH - Paul Haggis / GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK - George Clooney
Again. Too similar to what will be the Oscar list. zzzzz. I'm hoping AMPAS leaves out Meirelles and Haggis. With the former --well who needs two Oscar nods that early in their international career? Should he really be that far ahead of every other foreign director who have ever lived after only two widely seen pictures? And with the latter. His direction isn't very impressive. Crash has its moments but as a directorial piece? Nah.
Actor in a Leading Role
DAVID STRATHAIRN - Good Night, And Good Luck
HEATH LEDGER - Brokeback Mountain
JOAQUIN PHOENIX - Walk the Line
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN - Capote
RALPH FIENNES - The Constant Gardener
nice to see Ralph Fiennes in the list. This would be sweet as the Oscar lineup. However... Despite my faith that Jeff Daniels, Terrence Howard, and Ralph Fiennes are all pulling more votes than pre-season would lead us to believe I begin to fear that Russell Crowe could actually pull this off after all. I'm not predicting it. But perhaps the reason he keeps making lineups (this one excluded obviously) when he's far from one of the 5 most lauded in a very strong actor year is because these other three highly acclaimed men are splitting each others support leaving the most middlebrow & most famous contender to rise up. If that happens -blah! Howard, Daniels, or Fiennes would all be very worthwhile nods from AMPAS voters. Nominations that would look smart and discerning in the history books. Crowe is overrewarded already and nothing particularly special in quite a special year for this category. I'm not saying he wasn't good. He sold Jim Braddock. I'm just saying in this year? 2005 is such a great year for this category. Give it to one of the men who really made this particular year soar (Daniels, Howard, or Fiennes thankyouverymuch)
Actress in a Leading Role
CHARLIZE THERON - North Country
JUDI DENCH - Mrs. Henderson Presents
RACHEL WEISZ - The Constant Gardener
REESE WITHERSPOON - Walk the Line
ZIYI ZHANG - Memoirs of a Geisha
Happy to see Rachel with the leads. But otherwise zzzz. I have met several actors in my day and only one or two of them have seemed completely dim (which is a common negative you hear about their ilk) so I continue to wonder why actors who rely on their imagination for their income have so little imagination when it comes to looking at other actors' work... or at least when it comes to writing the names down on a ballot. I think Ziyi Zhang is cute as a button and I think she's deserving of nominations this year (for 2046) but if you try to tell me that she gave one of the five best performances of the year in Memoirs (where she is stiff and uncomfortable and doesn't have much of a character to work with to begin with) I will have no choice but to consider you completely daft. Who thinks this way? Who really thinks that she gave one of the best five performances of the year? Show of Hands? Beauty and memorable young career aside one of the five best of the year? I can name 15 women instantly (even in this weak year!) --without even looking at a list-- who deserve acknowledgement before her. And though I admire Theron's attempt at giving North Country some grit it's also a relatively unspecial performance. So why does it keep cropping up? Where is the passion or the imagination from people with ballots in their hands?
Actor in a Supporting Role
DON CHEADLE - Crash
GEORGE CLOONEY - Good Night, And Good Luck
GEORGE CLOONEY - Syriana
JAKE GYLLENHAAL - Brokeback Mountain
MATT DILLON - Crash
Interesting to note that the British Academy does not have rules against actors receiving two nominations in the same category (This is verboten w/ the American Academy). And once again we see actors with no imaginations voting. They just picked 4 films they liked. I think Don Cheadle is a great actor. But in no way was he special in Crash. He wasn't even the best in that film...let alone the hundreds of other films that came out. Argh. And no way was Clooney better in GNaGL than Frank Langella or Ray Wise or any of them really. He just happens to be more famous.
Actress in a Supporting Role
BRENDA BLETHYN - Pride & Prejudice
CATHERINE KEENER - Capote
FRANCES McDORMAND - North Country
MICHELLE WILLIAMS - Brokeback Mountain
THANDIE NEWTON - Crash
Supporting Actress. This category just keeps staying crazy. Fun to see a new name thrown in (Blethyn). Not so fun to see a highly uneven performance thrown in (Newton). I'm assuming Junebug didn't play in Britain. Thus no Amy Adams. I suppose a Newton nomination w/ Oscar isn't out of the realm of possibility. But it'd be a bummer to see any of the deserving frontrunners booted for her inclusion.