The 74th BAFTA Awards – the British Academy Film Awards – were held in London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night, Nomadland, with Chinese director Chloe Zhao’s emerging as the big winner for the night. Chloe grabbed the best director award which makes her the second woman – after Kathryn Bigelow picked up the award in 2010. Marking a victory for women filmmakers, Nomadland also won for cinematography and BAFTAs including Best Actress as well for Frances McDormand.
With doubts on anyone betting against a film that has swept the season for the most part with key wins not only at BAFTA and DGA, but also PGA, Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and more – a general agreement on the choice it seems if you believe at all in the predictive value of precursor awards.
Does everyone else now will throw in the towel, even though Oscar voters don’t even start casting their ballots until Thursday? With the fact of data obtained it seems daunting, but pointed out last week in an analysis of the SAG awards, and where they predicted Nomadland would come strong at both DGA and BAFTA this weekend because it now has, you’ll still look to 2005 for a lifeboat if you’re anyone else but Searchlight right about now. It was when Brokeback Mountain ran the table just like Nomadland has done, but even won WGA to boot, only losing the SAG Cast award to upstart Crash which built enough momentum just from that win alone to burst Brokeback’s bubble and take Best Picture, alongside Original Screenplay and Editing Oscars. Chicago 7, which came up empty at BAFTA, is hoping for that sort of upset. We’ll see, but a run like the Chloé Zhao movie has been having would be a very rare bird to stop in this day and age. Voters, by and large, tend to like to go with what they think is capable of winning, and Nomadland is clearly holding that card. One bright note for the competitors? BAFTA has not matched Oscar’s Best Picture for the past six years in a row, so relish that for a while folks.
This Sunday was a big night as BAFTA awards went elsewhere with the uber-streamer taking the only Documentary for My Octopus Teacher and His House’s Remi Weekes for Outstanding Debut by a British filmmaker.
Anthony Hopkins in The Father who is the British favorite son finally broke through and has temporarily stalled the late Chadwick Boseman’s momentum in the Best Actor race. As seen Boseman has dominated this season almost everywhere else. The Father also defeated Nomadland for Adapted Screenplay, it’s a huge victory for it as we are heading into the Oscar voting period.
The most surprising result for the night was Boseman’s loss, especially with all the self-congratulating BAFTA had done in the press, was certainly evident in the nominations itself even if not in the actual winners. It was a year in which Black filmmakers and Black-themed movies grabbed all the attention and praise BAFTA managed to nominate none of them for their prized Best Film award. After which ultimately went to Chinese director Chloe Zhao’s look at mostly older white people dropping out of American society and taking to life on the road. The major win for the Black filmmaker or actor that night was to Judas And The Black Messiah’s Daniel Kaluuya who also happens to be British. Eh? Daniel continues his collect a few many awards for this season and seems like would lock for Oscar too.
BAFTA and last night’s DGA awards are actually the last big events before Oscar voting begins on April 15 and ending on April 20. We will see what it all means in that regard when the Oscars finally end this long season of the pandemic awards on April 25.