The BAFTA's used to be a collection of old luvvies in velvet suits and garrish collars smoking big cigars for the annual backslap of British film. But straight after 911 the Americans stopped coming so the whole thing needed to be rebranded to keep the glamour and encourage the big stars back over the pond. A few guest hosts and the boost the harry Potter films bought to the industry later on the BAFTAS are now the number one awards, prestige wise, outside of America.
Avatar, The Hurt Locker and An Education have garnered 8 of the big nominations each at this years event, a fair mixed bag of movies, reflecting the type of audiences cinema needs during reccesion. Theres no doubt the hype machine has been in overdrive for James Camerons Avatar and its only there because of its enormous budget.
I have seen the Hurt Locker and it was suprisingly dumb for a film that's garnering so many prestigious nominations and so I expect this is more to do with politics and propoganda with the war in Iraq, the movies subject matter, over any real substance. The only postives for America in Iraq are bomb disposal soldiers, military contradictions, the life savers amongst the chaos, its only heros here. But can you make aa mazing film about bomb disposal officers? I didn't think so.
Avatar, of course, cant afford to fail, costing $500 million dollars to make. With all the big studios having a slice of that investment they will want a return in the award ceromonies they happen to vote on. They maye have already secured the financial return as it did a mind-boggling one billion dollars alon ein just 14 days world wide on opening and, like Mamma Mia, the punters are going back to see it over and over and, expected to do $2 billion dollars this year, the biggets ever movie since, you guessed it, James Camerons 'Titanic' in 1997. That too recieceved a wheel barrow full of awards for its grandeur.
District 9, Up In the Air and Inglorious Basterds have also picked up a lot of nominations, but more in the technical areas, perhaps just to get Clooney and Tarantino to show up to rattle the tin for Haiti. All Quentin need do is show Death proof there and it will empty the island.
-Best film of 2009-
My Prediction is 'Education'
The Hurt Locker
Up In The Air
I have only scene The Hurt locker from these five and thought it was just another poorly disgued bombastic American war movie and for some reason has got a stack of nominations. Many disagree. Well, I cant stand American Beauty so what do I know! It is directed by the glamarous Kate Bigelow, the ex wife of fellow nominee James Cameron for Avatar.
'Precious' has had some great write-ups, a rather daring movie from a black director, writing about the taboo black American hang ups of obesity, wanting to be white and involved in too much crime in the communities. It also features near unrecognisable performances from Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravits in main roles. But for me An Education, the tale of a young girl being seduced by the sohpisticated world of culture and jazz in 60s London, looks the one most people critics like and so should win.
My Prediction- Andy Serkis
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
George Clooney (Up In The Air)
Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Andy Serkis (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll)
Again only seen the Hurt Locker so cant realy say. Jeremy Renners performance in it is nothing special and yet another cigar chewing, dog tag rattling, expletive ranting Marine abroad if you ask me. To get Jeff Bridges and George Clooney to make the red eye from Los Angeles they would have to be guaranteed an award but I think they wont be here as both are running the aid for Haiti thing in America. No, as it's a British award I think it will come down to Andy Serkis for the Ian Dury biopic and Colin Firth playing Colin Firth.
My prediction - Gabourey Sidibe
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Audrey Tautou (Coco Before Chanel)
Nice to see the beautiful Audrey Tautou there in the list, if just for the glamour, she a pouter not and actor. Meryl Streep is the extreme ham for awards night so always gets an invite and the other two I don't know about. But for me the huge 300 pound black girl in Precious will win, she the whole point of the film and her journey that this is all about black girls with low self esteem, as she was before getting the part.
My prediction - Christian McKay
Alec Baldwin (It's Complicated)
Christian McKay (Me And Orson Welles)
Alfred Molina (An Education)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Because little brother Stephen has been humiliating the Baldwin clan in the Big Brother House recently I will iliminate Alec and the rom com affort 'Its Complicated'. I have seen Inglourious Basterds and felt Walts turn was almost a parody and so cant see him winning. For me I will go with Christian McKays startlingly accurate impression of Orsen Wells, mostly because Mark Kermode said he will win.
My Prediction- Kristin Scott Thomas
Anne-Marie Duff (Nowhere Boy)
Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air)
Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air)
Kristin Scott Thomas (Nowhere Boy)
Not seen any of these but if we are going on the BAFTA remit of not just picking glamour girls then anglophile Kristen Scott Thomas should win. Shes a brilliant actress and my clear favourite to add some class to the night.
Outstanding British film
My prediction- An Education
In The Loop
If An Edcuation wins the main award technically it should win this one but that's not the way it works for some reason. I have seen three of these and enjoyed two of them. Moon is a rare and interesting low budget Sci-Fi with a stand out performance from Sam Roxckwell, who really should be included in the best actor list as he is the film. In The Loop suffers because its satire of the New labour spin machine in Washintgon during the build up to war and so out done by the real thing. Satire is supposed to be just off true and so this loses its edge. Its almost as the government of the day are trying to be The Thick Of It. The jokes are just too obvious and its not as good as it thinks it is.
Fish Tank is the perfunctory British sink estate offering here that gets nominated because middle-class people, here and abroad, have convinced themselves this is what the undeclass live like. The star, Kati Jarvis, was plucked from obscurity (behind a Hertfordshire train station smoking a fag) by director Andrea Arnold becausae Andrea believes all working-class girls are like Lauren from the Catherine Tate show. I think the BAFTAs will play it safe and go with 'An Edcuation' though.
My prediction- Kate Bigelow
James Cameron (Avatar)
Neill Blomkamp (District 9)
Lone Scherfig (An Education)
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Very tricky to call this one. They may be loyal to the industry and go with perfectionist James Cameron. They may pick the best looking one...his ex wife. The temptation to pick muppet mouth Tarantino is huge, but his film just not good enough for that honour. I would love them to pick Neill Blomkamp for the highly inventive and original Sci-fi classic District 9, making it Sci-Fi`s best ever year if Moon and Avatar do win big. But again you have to pick from the directors of the films in the best film list so Lone Scherfig for An Education and Kate Bigelow have to be short favourites. Kate is very beautiful so will win.
My Prediction- A Serious Man
The Hangover (Jon Lucas, Scott Moore)
The Hurt Locker (Mark Boal)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
A Serious Man (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Up (Bob Peterson, Pete Docter)
The Hangover makes a surprise apearance here in what is just an enjoyable buddy comedy and nothing more so wont feature. The cartoon 'UP' has somehow drifted across a gerne here, like the balloon in the film, and perhaps The Hurt Locker earning a back up postion for the BAFTA if it doesn't win the big awards. If I was going to give Tarantino something for his spoof war film then this would be the award. But Im not because he talks too much and made Death Proof so I think award cermony favourites the Coen brothers will win for A Serious Man.
Film not in the English language
My prediction- Let the Right One In
Coco Before Chanel
Let The Right One In
The White Ribbon
I have heard only great things about A Prophet, a powerful crime\prison flick, so will be hard to beat, but if Slumdog managed to get in the main catergories last year as a part foreign movie so why not Let the Right One In. It's a fabulous role flipping Swedish vampire flick and well worth the award it should win here. Coco Channel could win to get the stunning Audrey Tatou up there though.
Fantastic Mr Fox
Just three big Pixar and the like offerings here so not really an award worthy catergory. Up seems to be the most popular offering.
My prediction- Avatar
The Hurt Locker
This is the 'out' award for event organsiers so they can have a spare one to make sure the big names win at least once on the night so to get them over the pond. But as Avatar is only up for its revolutionary special effects then it has to be them.
The Orange Rising Star Award (voted for by the public, nominations announced earlier this month)
The best looking one will win.
This year, the Baftas decided to move themselves so as to not appear an anticlimas after the glamorous Oscars. This meant that they couldn't dish out the awards to all of the British Oscar nominations that didn't win, since they didn't know who would win this year. What we have instead is an almost carbon copy of the Golden Globe awards. Ang Lee wins Best Director for Crouching Tiger and Gladiator wins Best Film. Surprisingly, and perhaps deservedly, Jamie Bell won Best Actor ahead of Hanks, Douglas, Crowe and Rush which takes some doing. Julia Roberts didn't even bother to collect her award for Best Actress and the highlight of the night for me was Stephen Fry's presenting job as he was witty and confident. Let's hope the Oscars are as good.
The Bafta's are an award ceremony I used to associate with some sort of credibility. However, over the past few years, they have sunk to levels of depravity, fit only for American award ceremonies. They have become a catwalk, where the art work takes second place to the 'who kissed who' and 'who was wearing what' tabaloid, ignorance. The Bafta's use to be the one voice of reason in the movie industry, but now they symbolise nothing but 'celebrity' and glamour