“The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Darkest Hour,” lead the race for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ movie awards, regarded as a bellwether for the Oscars.
“The Shape of Water” received 12 noms, the most of any film, including the coveted Best Film award. Guillermo del Toro is nominated for both Director and Original Screenplay, Sally Hawkins for Leading Actress and Octavia Spencer for Supporting Actress.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Darkest Hour” had nine noms apiece. The former is up for Best Film and Frances McDormand for Leading Actress. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are both nominated for Supporting Actor for their roles. Martin McDonagh is nominated for both Director and Original Screenplay.
It was a strong year for British films with “Darkest Hour,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Dunkirk” among the nominated pictures with strong U.K. links. BAFTA has a separate category for outstanding British film. Those short-listed are “Darkest Hour,” “The Death of Stalin,” “God’s Own Country,” “Lady Macbeth,” “Paddington 2,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Leading-actress nominees are Annette Bening for “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Margot Robbie for “I, Tonya,” Sally Hawkins for “The Shape of Water,” and Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird.” All except Bening had received Golden Globe nominations as well.
The leading-actor category also reflected the awards buzz already out there. Besides Oldman, the nominees are Daniel Day-Lewis for “Phantom Thread,” Daniel Kaluuya for “Get Out,” Jamie Bell for “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” and Timothee Chalamet for “Call Me by Your Name.”
Although the BAFTAs, like the Academy Awards, consider all English-language films, not just those made in the U.K., British films often figure more prominently in BAFTA’s nominations than at the Globes or the Oscars. “Darkest Hour” and “Dunkirk” were richly recognized Tuesday with nine and eight nominations, respectively. “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” and “Paddington 2,” neither of which made much impression at the Globes, both received three nominations.
In her opening remarks BAFTA chair Jane Lush lauded Oprah Winfrey for her Golden Globes speech and Seth Meyers for “skewering” the subject of harassment and equality as host. She said it was a watershed moment for the film business and BAFTA wholeheartedly endorses the move to address these issues, “it’s not me too, it’s we too,” she said.
Some expressed disappointment that there were no women in the best director category, although 5 female directors were named in other categories including Angelina Jolie in the Foreign Language Film category for “First They Killed My Father.”
The U.K. is coming off a record year at the box office, with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” helping to power the market to its 2017 total of £1.3 billion ($1.76 billion). Last year’s BAFTA best film winner, “La La Land,” was among the top 10 earners, out of a list dominated by Disney titles and tentpole releases.
BAFTA’s Rising Star award is voted for by the public. The nominees were announced earlier and include Daniel Kaluuya, star of “Get Out,” and Timothee Chalamet of “Call Me by Your Name.”
The EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 18 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.