With a Frenchman, a Dane, an American, a Swede and a Scot in the running for director honors, this year’s British Academy Film Awards are more cosmopolitan than ever.

It’s the first time that five different nationalities have competed for BAFTA’s director prize, and the first time that three directing nominees have not been native English speakers.

To make the international dimension even more complex, France’s Michel Hazanavicius, Denmark’s Nicolas Winding Refn and Scotland’s Lynne Ramsay are all nominated for telling stories set in America — “The Artist,” “Drive” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” respectively.

Sweden’s Tomas Alfredson is honored for a British movie, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” while the lone American, Martin Scorsese, is rewarded for “Hugo,” a film set in Paris and shot in London.

That’s the fewest Americans on the shortlist since 1999, when M. Night Shyamalan was the sole U.S. representative.

Such a worldly outlook from BAFTA should come as no surprise, given that the U.K. film industry is defined by its international sensibility. That’s reflected equally strongly in this year’s nominations for British film.

In this category, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” are joined by three other contenders that also defy parochialism.

“Shame” is a New York-based drama directed by Steve McQueen, a Londoner of Caribbean parentage who lives in Amsterdam. There’s also “Senna,” a doc about a Brazilian racing driver, directed by Asif Kapadia and written by Manish Pandey (two Brits of Indian descent) and “My Week With Marilyn,” which details the impact of an American icon on a British movie set.

Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” and Tate Taylor’s “The Help” add a more American flavor to the best picture race, at the expense of “Hugo” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” competing against “The Artist,” “Drive” and “Tinker Tailor” for the top prize.

Overall, BAFTA voters spread their love around generously. All 24 films that figured on the first-round longlists for best picture or outstanding British film ended up with at least one nomination.

“The Artist” is the leader with 12, followed by local favorite “Tinker Tailor” with 11. Then come “Hugo” with nine, “My Week With Marilyn” with six, and “The Help” and “War Horse” with five apiece.

“Drive,” “The Iron Lady” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” have four nods.

Perhaps a surprise is the relatively light showing for “War Horse” and the final “Potter” episode, given that hundreds of BAFTA voters must have worked on those giant, U.K.-based productions.

Also notable is just a single nomination for “Midnight in Paris” in the original screenplay category. Woody Allen has won nine BAFTAs, including six for script, but his last personal nomination was 16 years ago for “Bullets Over Broadway.” BAFTA voters have clearly been less enamored of his work since he started making films in the U.K. and Europe.

No shows include “J. Edgar,” continuing BAFTA’s longstanding cold shoulder toward Clint Eastwood, plus “50/50,” “Young Adult” and “The Tree of Life.” The absence of Terrence Malick’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner was a predictable result of Fox’s decision not to send DVD screeners to BAFTA voters.

In fact, outside foreign language, documentary and British debut, which are voted on by chapters or juries rather than the whole membership, only one nomination out of 83 went to a film that didn’t send out DVDs — the visual effects nod for Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

For once, the nominations for film not in the English language are not monopolized by the small handful of foreign films sent out as screeners. Only two of the five, “The Skin I Live In” and “Potiche,” sent DVDs. “A Separation,” “Incendies” and “Pina” were made available to the foreign chapter via BAFTA’s online streaming platform or iTunes.

It remains to be seen, however, whether that’s enough to secure a win for any of those three when the final vote is thrown open to the whole membership.


“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

“My Week With Marilyn”
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
“We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Tomas Alfredson , “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Michel Hazanavicius , “The Artist”
Lynne Ramsay , “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Martin Scorsese , “Hugo”
Nicolas Winding Refn , “Drive”

Richard Ayoade (writer-director), “Submarine”
Sarah Brocklehurst (producer), Tom Kingsley (director), Will Sharpe (writer-director), “Black Pond”
Paddy Considine (director), Diarmid Scrimshaw (producer), “Tyrannosaur”
Joe Cornish (writer-director), “Attack the Block”
Ralph Fiennes (director), “Coriolanus”

George Clooney , “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin , “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender , “Shame”
Gary Oldman , “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt , “Moneyball”

Berenice Bejo , “The Artist”
Viola Davis , “The Help”
Meryl Streep , “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton , “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michelle Williams , “My Week With Marilyn”

Kenneth Branagh , “My Week With Marilyn”
Jim Broadbent , “The Iron Lady”
Jonah Hill , “Moneyball”
Philip Seymour Hoffman , “The Ides of March”
Christopher Plummer , “Beginners”

Jessica Chastain , “The Help”
Judi Dench , “My Week With Marilyn”
Melissa McCarthy , “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan , “Drive”
Octavia Spencer , “The Help”

George Clooney , Grant Heslov , Beau Willimon , “The Ides of March”
Bridget O’Connor , Peter Straughan , “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Alexander Payne , Nat Faxon , Jim Rash , “The Descendants”
Tate Taylor , “The Help”
Steven Zaillian , Aaron Sorkin , “Moneyball”

Woody Allen , “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius , “The Artist”
John Michael McDonagh , “The Guard”
Abi Morgan , “The Iron Lady”
Annie Mumolo , Kristen Wiig , “Bridesmaids”

“A Separation”
“The Skin I Live In”

“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
“Project Nim”

“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”

BAFTA Awards 2012
World unfurled | Scorsese honor reflects Blighty’s longtime love | U.K. newbies form deep group