“The Favourite” lived up to its name with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which graced the homegrown period drama with a commanding 12 film award nominations Wednesday. But Bradley Cooper and Alfonso Cuaron made history, Glenn Close gained some momentum and Spike Lee got some love.
Here are 10 takeaways from this year’s nominations:
1. GIVE ME A FIVER: Bradley Cooper and Alfonso Cuaron both scored what appears to be a first in BAFTA history, racking up five nominations in a single year across five different disciplines. Cooper is a nominee for best director, leading actor, adapted screenplay, original music and film for “A Star Is Born.” The sudden bonanza gives him seven BAFTA nods throughout his career, tying BAFTA icon Daniel Day-Lewis, who won four trophies for acting. Cuaron nabbed noms for best film, director, original screenplay, cinematography and editing for “Roma.” (He was named in a sixth category, best foreign-language film, but that does not count as a discipline.)
2. CLOSE-ING IN: Glenn Close’s momentum continues. Her surprise win at the Globes, her status as a sentimental favorite and now her BAFTA nomination boost her chances of finally walking away with an Oscar. But “The Favourite’s” Olivia Colman, who also won a Globe for her portrayal of gouty Queen Anne, is right beside her in the race. Colman already has two BAFTAs to her name – but those are on the TV side. This is her first nod for a film award. Close’s only other BAFTA nomination came 29 years ago, for “Dangerous Liaisons.”
3. NO IMPROVEMENT: Last year, critics lamented the fact that no women were nominated for best director for the fifth year in a row. Make that six. BAFTA officials say the problem is an industry-wide one and note that only about 11% of the films submitted for consideration for this year’s awards were helmed by women. Also last year, only two out of the 20 actors nominated for their performances were people of color. This year, it went up by a whopping 50% – to three (Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Rami Malek).
4. DONE THE RIGHT THING: Spike Lee finally earned some nomination love on this side of the Atlantic by landing his first BAFTA nods ever – three of them, in fact, for “BlacKkKlansman,” including best director. But he already has a golden mask on his shelf, having been given a special BAFTA award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to cinema. In a surprising snub, another decorated black director, British helmer Steve McQueen (“Widows”), failed to garner a nom here in his home country for the first time that a film of his has been in the running.
5. DOUBLE-DIPPING: In a likely preview of the Oscars, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” was nominated for both best film and best foreign-language film by the British academy. But unlike at the Oscars, a non-English-language work has actually gone on to win the prize for best film at the BAFTAs: “Jean de Florette,” in 1988. Claude Berri’s picture took home the trophy in both categories.
6. ROYAL TREATMENT: Playing a British queen often pays off for actresses at awards time; just ask Judi Dench (“Shakespeare in Love”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen”). This year is no different, with nominees Olivia Colman as Anne in “The Favourite” and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I in “Mary Queen of Scots.” Then there’s Rami Malek, who received an acting nomination as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, a Brit, in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
7. FOLLOWING THE GLOBES: This year’s BAFTA acting nominations have pretty much hewn to the same list of performers who earned Golden Globe noms. All five supporting actors recognized by the British academy were also chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., while four of the supporting actresses are the same, with the notable exception of Globe winner Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), who didn’t make the BAFTA cut. The five BAFTA leading actress nominees were all Globe contenders, but only four of the actors were; the fifth on BAFTA’s roster is native son Steve Coogan, who plays Stan Laurel in “Stan & Ollie.” (John C. Reilly, who stars opposite Coogan as Oliver Hardy, was Globe-nominated.)
8. WAS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT “MARY”?: “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Mary Queen of Scots” both have a respectable three nominations to their credit. But some observers expected more, particularly in the acting department. Emily Blunt apparently didn’t work her magic on BAFTA members, and Saoirse Ronan as ill-fated Mary Stuart lost her head, her crown and her chance at a golden mask to co-star Margot Robbie. The two “Mary” movies are up against each other in the costume design category.
9. YES – ‘OUI’ – CANNES: Some critics have begun suggesting that the Cannes Film Festival is increasingly irrelevant come awards season, eclipsed by the likes of the Venice fest. But you wouldn’t know it from the lineup of those vying for the foreign-language BAFTA. Four of the five contenders in that category had their world premiere on the Croisette: “Capernaum,” “Cold War,” “Dogman” and “Shoplifters.” Venice scored with the presumptive front-runner, though – “Roma.”
10. IN BLACK AND WHITE: Two of the candidates for best foreign-language film were shot in black and white: “Roma” and “Cold War.” Both films also garnered BAFTA nominations for their directors, Alfonso Cuaron and Pawel Pawlikowski, respectively. Incidentally, a third best-director nominee also hails from a non-English speaking country: Yorgos Lanthimos of “The Favourite.” The director list is rounded out by two Americans, Bradley Cooper and Spike Lee.