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BAFTA Crowns 'King,' Slows 'Social Network' Momentum (a Bit)

King's Speech
See-Saw FIlms

After getting whomped at Sunday's Golden Globes by The Social Network, The King's Speech gets a boost from today's British Oscar equivalent BAFTA. But how equivalent is a BAFTA nom, really?

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts cheered the home team by giving The King's Speech 14 noms and its Yank rival The Social Network a piddling 6. That's why supporting-actor nom Geoffrey Rush, a two-time BAFTA winner (Shine, Elizabeth) stresses to THR the cheers aren't strictly in Britain: “The international response to The King's Speech has been overwhelming and to be crowned with a nomination from the film's home turf by the British Academy makes it all that much more special. In the film, my character jokes that he wouldn't mind a knighthood -- a nomination from the British Academy, I think, is better.”

Unlike the Globe noms, BAFTAs are actual bellwethers for Oscar noms. Globes have immense impact on box office: After their noms, The Fighter grossed 180 times more than before, King's Speech 27 times more, Rabbit Hole 19 times more and Black Swan 10 times more.

As Anne Thompson notes, that's why wily Sony Pictures Classics released the previously buzz-impaired Barney's Version on the weekend nom Paul Giamatti startlingly won. And wonderfully like his perverse character in the film, Giamatti seemed almost glum while savoring a victory beverage at the post-Globes HBO party -- or maybe he was just stunned at his luck. Not bad for a guy who got his start on Seattle's fringe-theater scene, mocking the better-paid Equity-house union actors by mimicking their David Mamet performances.

But BAFTAs better predict Oscar noms, partly because there's an overlap between BAFTA and Academy members -- estimates range from 8.7 to 17.4 percent. They're better precursors of acting prizes than best picture. So the news from BAFTA should most concern fans of certain actors:

Could Hailee Steinfeld lose by winning? She's being pitched for the best supporting actress Oscar, because she's likelier to win and her role is ambiguous. Directors Joel and Ethan Coen tell me, "She's driving the truck," but producer Scott Rudin thinks it would be "brazen" for her to grab for best actress her first time out. Plus she's likelier to lose. Which EW's Dave Karger thinks might happen, because a few Academy voters told him they're voting for her for best actress, and some of her votes will be split between categories.

The Globes put her in the best actress category, then snubbed her. BAFTA's choice to nom her for best actress is at once a signal honor and and alarm signal, making Karger's split-vote-loss scenario look a little likelier. Still, his new predix list put Steinfeld at No. 5 in line for best actress, up from No. 7 last week. (Karger usually inspires confidence, but it troubles me that only today did he drop Halle Berry from his best actress list. Berry looked sensational at the Globes, but as an Oscar contender, she's long gone.)

Is Lesley Manville's Oscar campaign back from the dead? Her lively dead-drunk role in Another Year is as ambiguous as Steinfeld's. She looms large, yet shimmers between categories. To Chicago critics, European Film Awards, the National Board of Review, and London critics, she's in the best-actress category; to BAFTA, the British Independent Film Awards and San Diego critics, she's supporting-actress material.

Intriguingly, on the LA Weekly/Village Voice film critic poll, Manville got more votes than four of BAFTA's leading actress nominees put together: Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Noomi Rapace and Hailee Steinfeld. Only virtually inevitable best actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman won more (45 to Manville's 26).

Is Juilanne Moore's Oscar campaign back from the dead? BAFTA and the Globes both think so.

Is Barbara Hershey's Oscar campaign back from the dead? BAFTA thinks so.

Is Javier Bardem's Oscar campaign back from the dead? BAFTA thinks so.

Here are the main noms:

Best Film
"Black Swan"
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Best British Film
“Another Year”
“Four Lions”
“The King’s Speech”
“Made In Dagenham”
“127 Hours”

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Danny Boyle, “127 Hours”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”

Best Actress
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Julianne Moore, “The Kids Are All Right”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Noomi Rapace, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”

Best Supporting Actor
Andrew Garfield, “The Social Network”
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Pete Postlethwaite, “The Town”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Barbara Hershey, “Black Swan”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Lesley Manville, “Another Year”
Miranda Richardson, “Made In Dagenham”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
Best Original Screenplay
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“The Kids Are All Right”
“The King’s Speech”

Best Foreign Language Film
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“I Am Love”
“Of Gods and Men”
“The Secret In Their Eyes”

Best Animated Film
“Despicable Me”
“How To Train Your Dragon”
“Toy Story 3″

Best Cinematography
“Black Swan”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“True Grit

Click here for the rest.

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