Bafta Nominations Oscar Impact
Courtesy of Disney/The Weinstein Co/Warner Bros./Paramount/A24

Precious few things really 'mean' anything this time of year, but BAFTA is an exception.

You get a headline like the one above a lot this time of year. Everyone thinks everything “means” something vis a vis the Oscars, when in fact, precious few things really do. One thing that absolutely does mean something, though, is the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ annual nominations announcement, though admittedly, that didn’t used to be the case.

Up until a few years ago, BAFTA wasn’t a great barometer in either phase of the season, really. The reason was the org’s voting system, which was formerly the reverse of the American Academy’s, i.e., the entire group would decide nominees collectively while the various branches would determine the winners. But ever since that system was reversed, with branches deciding nominees and the collective group picking winners, it’s become one of the most significant bellwethers in the race.

You could make the connection last year in a number of tight below-the-line races. The BAFTA Awards signified, for instance, that Alexandre Desplat’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” score was stronger than the presumably frontrunning “Theory of Everything,” and that “Whiplash” was a strong contender in the editing and sound mixing categories it eventually won (surprisingly, some would say) at the Oscars.

Of course, there were differences, not least of which being “Boyhood’s” triumph over “Birdman” in the best picture and best director categories. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s eventual Oscar victor won only one trophy from the Brits, in fact. But the parallels were more notable than they had been in a previous scheme that was arguably more intriguing, when something like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” could win editing, or “Children of Men” could be recognized for its production design.

All of that is to say that this morning’s BAFTA nominations deserve a hard look, and they told us a few things. First, after Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” had already flexed its muscle on the guild circuit, BAFTA solidified the film as one of the year’s strongest contenders. The film tied “Carol” for the most nominations. Speaking of Todd Haynes’ film, The Weinstein Company is very aware that the on-the-ground Los Angeles contingent isn’t going to be the one to push that through, but rather, the New York and European elements of the Academy. BAFTA proved that pulse is alive and well across the pond.

Otherwise, the nominees further revealed a season that has been quite scattered. No best film nominations, for instance, for perceived Oscar heavies “The Martian” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” though the former did net significant best director and best actor mentions, while the latter was still dominant throughout the craft categories, picking up seven noms. But does George Miller missing the best director cut indicate that industry voters might love the film for its parts, but will keep it in its genre place when it comes to overall acceptance? Perhaps, but remember that the Academy is the only one employing the unique preferential balloting system, which allows for passion to shine through. And “Mad Max’s” supporters are nothing if not passionate.

Elsewhere, “Sicario” netted three mentions after proving to be a force on the American guild circuit, including a supporting actor nod for Benicio Del Toro, who has been MIA, despite being pegged as an early favorite. Alicia Vikander picked up dual nominations for “The Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina,” with BAFTA going its own way with category placement on the former. That could actually happen with the Academy, too. Though Rooney Mara remained in supporting, despite being perceived as a co-lead with Cate Blanchett in a film the group clearly loved (“Carol”).

“The Big Short” continued its sly dominance in the precursor circuit, landing key nominations across the board — best picture, best director, best supporting actor, best adapted screenplay, best editing. It’s one of the most solid competitors this year, even if it might not ultimately be strong enough to win outside of best adapted screenplay or perhaps best film editing at the Oscars. (Then again, perhaps it is. “Spotlight” has felt ripe for an upset all along.)

Speaking of which, “Spotlight” did show a little weakness by missing on a best director nomination and coming up empty-handed across the crafts (best editing being the only viable place to recognize it, and the American Cinema Editors already passed on it anyway). Mark Ruffalo was the cast member to make the cut this time in the supporting actor category, perhaps finally bringing some clarity to what will happen there, perhaps not.

Interestingly, the cinematography nominees mirrored the ASC’s, including the Robert Richardson snub for “The Hateful Eight.” Quentin Tarantino’s film did pick up three nominations after turning out nothing on the guild circuit, however, for best original screenplay, best supporting actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and best original score. Those should join at least some of the oft-lauded sound personnel at the Oscars, and perhaps Richardson, too.

And though “Creed” was eligible, supporting actor hopeful Sylvester Stallone was passed over, despite being a very real threat for not only a nomination but the win on these shores. Additionally, “Straight Outta Compton” (predictably, I’d say) turned out a gooese egg with BAFTA, but is clearly well loved Stateside with key nominations from the screen actors, producers and writers guilds.

You can get a bit lost in the examination, but in a few instances, the BAFTA nominations are quite illuminating. They remind of industry support here and there, of rhythms you might not have been as privy to otherwise, etc. And no, the crossover in BAFTA and Academy membership is not hugely significant, but that’s not the point. This is a vast industry body that perceives the craft of filmmaking in ways similar to the American Academy. You simply take that context and apply it as you will when trying to guess at the Oscar noms.

The next major indicator will be the Directors Guild of America nominees, set to be revealed just two days before the Oscar nominees, which are themselves less than a week away. We’re closing in …

Latest Predictions:

Spotlight Picture
  1. "The Big Short" Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

  2. "Spotlight" Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust

  3. "The Revenant" Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger

  5. "The Martian" Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, and Mark Huffam

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Best Director Oscar Preview Director
  1. Alejandro G. Inarritu "The Revenant"

  2. Adam McKay "The Big Short"

  3. Tom McCarthy "Spotlight"

  4. George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"

  5. Lenny Abrahamson "Room"

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One of the year's most critically acclaimed films was also a major B.O. disappointment. After failing to gross $20 million domestically, "Steve Jobs" was pulled from U.S. theaters after less than three weeks. Actor
  1. Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"

  2. Bryan Cranston "Trumbo"

  3. Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"

  4. Matt Damon "The Martian"

  5. Eddie Redmayne "The Danish Girl"

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Best Actress Oscar Contenders Actress
  1. Brie Larson "Room"

  2. Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

  3. Cate Blanchett "Carol"

  4. Charlotte Rampling "45 Years"

  5. Jennifer Lawrence "Joy"

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Oscar Nominations Reactions Sylvester Stallone Supporting Actor
  1. Sylvester Stallone "Creed"

  2. Mark Rylance "Bridge of Spies"

  3. Mark Ruffalo "Spotlight"

  4. Christian Bale "The Big Short"

  5. Tom Hardy "The Revenant"

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Carol Rooney Mara Supporting Actress
  1. Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"

  2. Rooney Mara "Carol"

  3. Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"

  4. Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"

  5. Rachel McAdams "Spotlight"

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(Nov. 4, Fox Searchlight)
Fox Searchlight, the reigning back-to-back best picture champ, has an interesting pair of contenders in this and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth.” But John Crowley’s coming-of-age portrait of the immigrant experience is the warmer feel-good player. Adapted Screenplay
  1. "The Big Short" Adam McKay, Charles Randolph

  2. "Room" Emma Donoghue

  3. "Carol" Phyllis Nagy

  4. "Brooklyn" Nick Hornby

  5. "The Martian" Drew Goddard

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Walt Disney
Pixar’s family-friendly head trip is the sort of emotional powerhouse that, like “Up” and “Toy Story 3” before it, could crack the best picture race. A nomination for animated feature should be assured, but an original screenplay mention could also be in the cards (“original” being the operative word). Original Screenplay
  1. "Spotlight" Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

  2. "Inside Out" Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve

  3. "Ex Machina" Alex Garland

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

  5. "Straight Outta Compton" Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus

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Josh Brolin Sicario Cinematography
  1. "The Revenant" Emmanuel Lubezki

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" John Seale

  3. "The Hateful Eight" Robert Richardson

  4. "Carol" Edward Lachman

  5. "Sicario" Roger Deakins

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Focus Features
Reteaming with “The King’s Speech” director Tom Hooper, Eddie Redmayne follows his Oscar-winning turn as Stephen Hawking with an entirely different acting challenge, projecting the inner soul of transgender pioneer Einar Wegener. As in that earlier film, his understanding onscreen wife, Alicia Vikander, could be recognized for the stability she provides. Costume Design
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Jenny Beavan

  2. "The Danish Girl" Paco Delgado

  3. "The Revenant" Jacqueline West

  4. "Carol" Sandy Powell

  5. "Cinderella" Sandy Powell

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Director: Adam McKay 
By Terry Gilliam 
At last... a smart, funny and beautifully directed film about something important. I wish it had been mine, but sadly it’s the handiwork of Adam McKay who really knows what he is doing and has the clout to gather a great cast who entertain, educate, and immerse us in the foolish, greed-driven world that arrogantly marched our economy off the cliff. His flair at telling the tale gets my vote for hero of the year. Film Editing
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Margaret Sixel

  2. "The Big Short" Hank Corwin

  3. "The Revenant" Stephen Mirrione

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey

  5. "Spotlight" Tom McArdle

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mad max fury road Makeup & Hairstyling
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin, Elka Wardega

  2. "The Revenant" Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

  3. "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" Love Larson and Eva von Bahr

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(Dec. 25, Weinstein)
Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained”) offers an incentive to experience films in the theater, with a limited 70mm roadshow engagement that’s sure to seduce celluloid purists. Original Score
  1. "The Hateful Eight" Ennio Morricone

  2. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" John Williams

  3. "Carol" Carter Burwell

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Thomas Newman

  5. "Sicario" Jóhann Jóhannsson

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Lady Gaga Best Original Song
  1. "Til It Happens To You" from "The Hunting Ground"

  2. "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre"

  3. "Earned It" from "Fifty Shades of Grey"

  4. "Simple Song #3" from "Youth"

  5. "Manta Ray" from "Racing Extinction"

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Touchstone
Steven Spielberg is never one to be counted out of the top categories, especially when there’s a resonant history lesson involved. Tom Hanks’ performance is as laudable as the film’s Coen brothers-polished script, but the revelation here is Mark Rylance, considered a lock for his richly understated supporting turn as a Soviet spy. Production Design
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Colin Gibson; Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson

  2. "The Danish Girl" Eve Stewart; Michael Standish

  3. "The Revenant" Jack Fisk; Hamish Purdy

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Adam Stockhausen; Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich

  5. "The Martian" Arthur Max; Celia Bobak, Zoltan Horvath

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star wars the force awakens bb8 Sound Editing
  1. "The Revenant" Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Mark Mangini and David White

  3. "The Martian" Oliver Tarney

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Matthew Wood and David Accord

  5. "Sicario" Alan Robert Murray

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Matt Damon The Martian Sound Mixing
  1. "The Revenant" Chris Duesterdiek, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

  3. "The Martian" Mac Ruth, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

  5. "Bridge of Spies" Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

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Golden Globe Nominees 2016 Reactions Animated Feature
  1. "Inside Out" Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

  2. "Anomalisa" Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

  3. "Shaun the Sheep Movie" Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

  4. "Boy and the World" Ale Abreu

  5. "When Marnie Was There" Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

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Oscar Documentary Contenderts 2016 Documentary Feature
  1. "Amy" Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

  2. "Cartel Land" Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin

  3. "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes

  4. "The Look of Silence" Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen

  5. "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

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Son of Saul Cannes Film Festival Foreign Language
  1. "Son of Saul" Lazlo Nemes; Hungary

  2. "Mustang" Deniz Gamze Erguven; France

  3. "Theeb" Naji Abu Nowar; Jordan

  4. "A War" Tobias Lindholm; Denmark

  5. "Embrace of the Serpent" Ciro Guerra; Colombia

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Original Screen Play Oscar Race Visual Effects
  1. "The Revenant" Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

  2. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

  3. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

  4. "The Martian" Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

  5. "Ex Machina" Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

See Full Listing

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