BAFTA Nominations: ‘Bridge of Spies,’ ‘Carol’ Lead Film Awards Race

Bridge of Spies Carol BAFTA Awards
Courtesy of Disney/The Weinstein Co.

LONDON — The British Academy of Film and Television Arts unveiled the nominations for its film awards Friday at it headquarters in London. “Bridge of Spies” and “Carol” led the nominations race with nine apiece.

“The Revenant” was nominated in eight categories. “Mad Max: Fury Road” has seven nominations. “Brooklyn” and “The Martian” were each nominated six times. “The Big Short,” “The Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina” received five nominations. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” took four nominations.

In the major categories, “Carol,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Big Short” and “Brooklyn” all featured prominently, followed by “The Danish Girl,” “The Revenant,” “Spotlight,” “Ex Machina” and “Steve Jobs.” Among the underperformers in the major categories were “Trumbo,” “Sicario” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

Amanda Berry, CEO of BAFTA, told Variety that the nominations were marked by the openness of the contest, with six films with more than five nominations. “It looks like a very evenly spread and open field,” she said, adding that this would help spice up anticipation on awards night.

The list was also enriched by the inclusion of a broad range of film types, embracing a wide spectrum of genre and storylines, and pics of widely different scale and provenance. “I’m excited about the fact that we have a really good mix of independent and blockbuster films,” Berry said. The breadth of range was exemplified by the differences between the films heading the race, such as “Bridge of Spies” and “Carol.”

Berry is also pleased about the mix of first-time nominees and more established players, and in particular the inclusion of actress Alicia Vikander, who contests in two categories. Vikander, who is a BAFTA nominations debutante, featured in BAFTA’s Rising Star lineup in 2013. “I’m always particularly pleased when we’ve identified and shone a bright spotlight on people at the start of their career, and it comes through later with nominations,” Berry said.

The acting contests seem particularly strong. “If you look at the performance categories, it is the most extraordinary list. If we get each and everyone of those nominees in the room we are going to have a heck of a night,” Berry said.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Bryan Cranston and Eddie Redmayne are vying for best actor, and three relative newcomers on the awards scene, Vikander, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, take on established thesps Cate Blanchett and Maggie Smith for best actress. The supporting categories include Benicio Del Toro, Kate Winslet, Christian Bale, Idris Elba, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Rylance, Vikander, again, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julie Walters and Rooney Mara.

Apart from Vikander, other first-time BAFTA nominees include Mara, Elba, Rylance and Jason Leigh. Surprising omissions in the acting categories include Tom Hanks for “Bridge of Spies” and Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years.”

Social media continues to amp up public engagement with and interest in the awards, in particular, and movies, in general. “Social media allows absolutely everyone to have an opinion, and one of the things I love about film, and this time of year, is that everybody wants to talk about film,” Berry said.

Elizabeth Karlsen, one of the producers on Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” told Variety that the awards season felt like a roller-coaster ride this week, following the Producers Guild of America’s decision to leave the film out of its nominations list on Tuesday; now the pic’s team were on a high again with its very strong showing in the BAFTA race.

“Having nine nominations is really fantastic for a film like ‘Carol,’ and to see Todd’s work and Todd recognized in this way, which hasn’t fully happened until this point, is incredibly gratifying because he is one of the great contemporary American filmmakers, and his films and ‘Carol’ will be here long after we are all gone,” she said, although she added that she would have liked to have seen the contribution of Carter Burwell and Affonso Goncalves recognized as well, for music and editing respectively.

Among the U.K. distributors of the movies, 20th Century Fox was streets ahead with 24 nominations, shared by “Bridge of Spies,” “The Revenant,” “The Martian” and “He Named Me Malala.” Universal followed with 15, led by “The Danish Girl,” “Ex Machina” and “Steve Jobs,” but also with one each for “Listen to Me Marlon” and “Minions,” and Studiocanal had 13, driven mainly by “Carol,” but also with contributions from “Room,” “Shaun the Sheep Movie” and “The Assassin.”

Duncan Clark, president of distribution at Universal Pictures Intl., agrees that it is an open race, and all the better for that. “It is not a year that has got any one film doing the sweeping, which has been a characteristic of years gone by,” he told Variety.

One of the pleasant surprises was the BAFTA members’ response to writer-director Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina,” given that the film opened in the U.K. almost a year ago. “It was a great movie, and there’s no question it was a very original piece, and Alex did a terrific job,” Clark said. He is also pleased with the Academy members’ strong backing for another British pic distributed by the studio, “The Danish Girl,” including in the British film category, where Clark expects the film to be a strong contender. “The Danish Girl” has just opened in the U.K., and Clark is confident that the BAFTA nominations will boost its box office. The three nominations for “Steve Jobs” were another reason to celebrate for Universal, although Clark would have liked to have seen director Danny Boyle’s work recognized.

The list of nominees was revealed by BAFTA’s chair Anne Morrison, actor and BAFTA awards presenter Stephen Fry, and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The awards take place on Feb. 14 at the Royal Opera House, London.

2015 BAFTA NOMINATIONS
(Presented in 2016)

BEST FILM
“The Big Short,” Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
“Bridge of Spies,” Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt, Steven Spielberg
“Carol,” Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley
“The Revenant,” Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Arnon Milchan, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon
“Spotlight,” Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

DIRECTOR
“The Big Short,” Adam McKay
“Bridge of Spies,” Steven Spielberg
“Carol,” Todd Haynes
“The Martian,” Ridley Scott
“The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Inarritu

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Bridge of Spies,” Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
“Ex Machina,” Alex Garland
“The Hateful Eight,” Quentin Tarantino
“Inside Out,” Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg Lefauve
“Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Big Short,” Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
“Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby
“Carol,” Phyllis Nagy
“Room,” Emma Donoghue
“Steve Jobs,” Aaron Sorkin

LEADING ACTOR
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”

LEADING ACTRESS
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Maggie Smith, “The Lady in the Van”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Benicio Del Toro, “Sicario”
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”

ORIGINAL MUSIC
“Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman
“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone
“The Revenant,” Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai
“Sicario,” Johann Johannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Bridge of Spies,” Janusz Kaminski
“Carol,” Ed Lachman
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale
“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario,” Roger Deakins

EDITING
“The Big Short,” Hank Corwin
“Bridge of Spies,” Michael Kahn
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel
“The Martian,” Pietro Scalia
“The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione

PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Bridge of Spies,” Adam Stockhausen, Rena Deangelo
“Carol,” Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson
“The Martian,” Arthur Max, Celia Bobak
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales

COSTUME DESIGN
“Brooklyn,” Odile Dicks-Mireaux
“Carol,” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan

MAKEUP & HAIR
“Brooklyn,” Morna Ferguson, Lorraine Glynn
“Carol,” Jerry Decarlo, Patricia Regan
“The Danish Girl,” Jan Sewell
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin
“The Revenant,” Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini

SOUND
“Bridge of Spies,” Drew Kunin, Richard Hymns, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Mark Mangini, Ben Osmo, Gregg Rudloff, David White
“The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mac Ruth, Oliver Tarney, Mark Taylor
“The Revenant,” Lon Bender, Chris Duesterdiek, Martin Hernandez, Frank A. Montano, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Matthew Wood, Stuart Wilson

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
“Ant-Man,” Jake Morrison, Greg Steele, Dan Sudick, Alex Wuttke
“Ex Machina,” Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Tom Wood, Andy Williams
“The Martian,” Chris Lawrence, Tim Ledbury, Richard Stammers, Steven Warner
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
“The Assassin,” Hou Hsiao-Hsien
“Force Majeure,” Ruben Ostlund
“Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar, Rupert Lloyd
“Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako
“Wild Tales,” Damian Szifron

DOCUMENTARY
“Amy,” Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin
“He Named Me Malala,” Davis Guggenheim, Walter Parkes, Laurie Macdonald
“Listen to Me Marlon,” Stevan Riley, John Battsek, George Chignell, R.J. Cutler
“Sherpa,” Jennifer Peedom, Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

ANIMATED FILM
“Inside Out,” Pete Docter
“Minions,” Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
“Shaun the Sheep Movie,” Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
“45 Years,” Andrew Haigh, Tristan Goligher
“Amy,” Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
“Brooklyn,” John Crowley, Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Nick Hornby
“The Danish Girl,” Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Gail Mutrux, Lucinda Coxon
“Ex Machina,” Alex Garland, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich
“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Efthimis Filippou

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
Alex Garland (Director) “Ex Machina”
Debbie Tucker Green (Writer/Director) “Second Coming”
Naji Abu Nowar (Writer/Director) Rupert Lloyd (Producer) “Theeb”
Sean Mcallister (Director/Producer), Elhum Shakerifar (Producer) “A Syrian Love Story”
Stephen Fingleton (Writer/Director) “The Survivalist”

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
“Edmond,” Nina Gantz, Emilie Jouffroy
“Manoman,” Simon Cartwright, Kamilla Kristiane Hodol
“Prologue,” Richard Williams, Imogen Sutton

BRITISH SHORT FILM
“Elephant,” Nick Helm, Alex Moody, Esther Smith
“Mining Poems or Odes” Callum Rice, Jack Cocker
“Operator,” Caroline Bartleet, Rebecca Morgan
“Over,” Jorn Threlfall, Jeremy Bannister
“Samuel-613,” Billy Lumby, Cheyenne Conway

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (VOTED FOR BY THE PUBLIC)
Bel Powley
Brie Larson
Dakota Johnson
John Boyega
Taron Egerton

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  1. Fred84 says:

    I can’t believe they nominated Maggie Smith over Charlotte Rampling. At this point they’ll nominate Smith for sitting in a chair reading out of a phonebook.

  2. Bill B. says:

    I think it will win an Oscar, though that is not a certainty, but you’re overdoing it quite a bit. It will probably lose this award since they didn’t even nominate its director.

  3. IT--two--IT says:

    SPIELBERG remains INTEL RUN Hollywood’s master of MIS–direction.

  4. RedHood68 says:

    No nomination for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD as BEST FILM?

    It’s been nominated by the Producer’s Guild of America for their
    PGA Award as ‘Best Film of 2015.’ It’s received a Golden Globe
    Nomination as ‘Best Picture – Drama.’ It’s an American Film Institute
    2015 ‘Movie of the Year’ selection. The National Board of Review
    named it the Best Motion Picture of the Year. It was named in both
    prestigious ‘The Village Voice Poll’ (over 125 film critics across the United
    States voted) and the ‘Indiewire 2015 Critics Poll’ (over 200 film critics
    Across the world voted) as the ‘Best Film of the Year.’ At the San Sebastian
    Film Festival, it won The National International Federation of Film Critics’
    Grand Prix Award as the ‘Best Film of the Year,’ voted on by 493 of the
    world’s top film critics.

    The film was selected as the Best Film of 2015 by: ‘The Online Film
    Critics Society,’ ‘The Chicago Film Critics Society,’ ‘The Austin Film Critics
    Association,’ ‘The Boston Online Film Critics Association,’ ‘The San Diego Film
    Critics Society,’ ‘The Utah Film Critics Association,’ ‘The Kansas City Film Critics
    Circle,’ ‘The Florida Film Critics Circle,’ ‘The A.V. Club Best Films of 2015’
    and ‘The Film Stage.’

    MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was also the ‘Best Picture
    of the Year’ Runner-up selection with the following critics groups:
    “The New York Film Critics Circle,” “The Los Angeles Film Critics Association,”
    “The Boston Society of Film Critics,” “The Dublin Film Critics Circle,”
    “The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle,” and “The Toronto Film Critics Circle.”

    Did the film not play in the U.K.? Did BAFTA Members not get screeners?
    Perhaps they were too busy to attend screenings?

    • Lou says:

      Yes, and it’s still a knuckleheaded Road Runner cartoon. Go sit in the crybaby fanboy room with all the other Dark Knight whiners.

    • Daryle says:

      But it STUNK in terms of story, and had no notable acting performances. I was stunned that it got all this industry love – clearly, action and technical stuff were being applauded – it certainly couldn’t have been the story or the acting. I will be VERY disappointed if this gets Top Picture honors at the Oscars.

    • benskelly2 says:

      It’s okay, George. Can’t win ’em all.

  5. TM says:

    Hard to understand how Suffragette failed to get any nominations — especially among BAFTA members given the film’s historical significance and relevance in Britain today. Carey Mulligan’s performance is extraordinary in this film, the direction is impeccable — art direction, costumes, photography are all award worthy in my opinion. The themes of the story resonate with enormous power in the world we’re living in today — sad to see such good work overlooked.

  6. someperson says:

    Back in the early stages of the 2009 season, someone asked if Sandra Bullock could factor in the race for The Blind Side, and I was about ready to laugh them out of the room.

    Earlier in this season, when it was announced The Big Short would get a qualifying run, I dismissed the film entirely, saying that Adam McKay doesn’t know how to present his political opinions in a way that makes them dramatically interesting.

    What I’m trying to say is that I’m very bad at this.

  7. Emily Watson says:

    No Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay for Best Actress and Best Actor? SHAME ON YOU. Not too mention, 45 Years should’ve been nominated for Film, Director, and Adapted Screenplay as well.

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