HOLLYWOOD─Well, this is it, this is the last awards show before next week’s Academy Awards people. This time the awards head overseas for the 2020 British Academy of Film and Television Arts, better known as the BAFTA awards. The awards were handed out on Sunday, February 2, yeah the same day as the Super Bowl people. Leading the nominees was the film “Joker” with 11 nominations.
The ceremony was hosted by Graham Norton from the Royal Albert Hall in London. While “Joker” led the contenders, it was the war drama “1917” that came out on top. The World War I flick which has become a late contender in the awards season has impressed audiences and critics alike. The movie, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes took home a total of 7 trophies including Best Film. Mendes also walked away with the prize for Best Director. The movie also won prizes for Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Production Design and Outstanding British Film.
Taking home three awards during the 2020 BAFTA was “Joker” including Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix. I mean on the acting front this has been the most predictable and I mean most predictable in the acting races. Renee Zellweger won for Best Actress for “Judy,” Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for “Marriage Story,” while Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I don’t expect any surprises in any of these races when Oscars are handed out next week. However, if it were to transpire I would be stunned.
The big question many are asking is rather BAFTA is a predictor of where things stand in the Best Picture and Best Director races for the Academy Awards. It absolutely looks like Mendes is the front-runner for the Best Director prize after when the DGA and now the BAFTA, in addition to the Golden Globe. Is he unstoppable? No, because the thorn in his side is Bong Joon-ho of “Parasite.” The movie did walk away with two BAFTA prizes for Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Film. The movie also has the edge with its recent victory at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture.
The awards show was not all about highlighting the best in cinema, but addressing an ongoing issue of diversity with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. BAFTA President Prince William (yes, that Prince William people) addressed the issue to members noting more has to be done to improve diversity in its Academy especially when it comes to nominees year after year. I cannot say I’m surprised because this has happened countless times with the BAFTA Awards, so people should not be surprised. This does not make it right, but it’s good to see the British Academy of Film and Television Arts realize they have a problem and they need to address it.
I like this race between “1917” and “Parasite” because it leaves a little suspense for the audience. We really don’t know what is going to happen. While I see “1917” as a technical achievement behind the camera, I found “Parasite” to be a more entertaining film and one that takes the notion of expect the unexpected to new levels. That is something rarely seen in the cinematic universe. How awards season culminates will be fun to watch as it all comes to an end with the Oscars on Sunday, February 9. Stay tuned, we might be surprised America! Key word being we ‘might.’