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BAFTA nominees on Friday reacted to the British Academy’s shortlists for the biggest English-language film awards after the Oscars.
Carol producer Elizabeth Karlsen said she feared the film’s “bubble had burst” after it didn’t get a single PGA nomination earlier this week. But the nine BAFTA mentions Todd Haynes’ drama emerged with on Friday have underlined what a “rollercoaster ride” it has been since the drama first bowed at Cannes to outstanding reviews.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Karlsen, who heads up Number 9 Films with her husband, Stephen Woolley, said she was “so, so happy for Todd,” asserting that the filmmaker is “one of the most contemporary American directors working today.”
Carol emerged as the leader of the pack, along with Bridge of Spies, in terms of nominations, picking up mentions in such categories as best film, best actress for Cate Blanchett, best supporting actress for Rooney Mara, best director for Haynes and best adapted screenplay for Phyllis Nagy.
“It’s so exciting,” said Karlsen, adding that she was now looking forward to the BAFTA Tea Party, set to take place in Los Angeles this weekend. “I’m going to be walking on air, and next to Steven Spielberg.”
Brie Larson, who picked up a best actress mention for Room, alongside a Rising Star nom earlier in the week, thanked BAFTA for the “wonderful” acknowledgement.
“I’m proud to be a part of a film that has touched so many people around the world and to share this moment with Lenny [Abrahamson], Emma [Donoghue], Jacob [Tremblay] and the entire cast and crew of Room,” said the actress.
Room writer Donaghue declared she was “over the moon” to be nominated for best adapted screenplay. “As a first-timer, to find myself in the company of such superb scriptwriters is an honor I’ll never forget,” she said. “But much of the credit should go to our extraordinary director Lenny Abrahamson, my teacher and mentor in film craft. I’m also delighted that BAFTA has recognized the astounding performance of Brie Larson.”
David Kosse, director of British production house Film4, which backed both Carol and Room, alongside fellow nominees 45 Years, Ex Machina, Amy, The Lobster and Second Coming, said his company was delighted to emerge with a total of 22 nominations across seven of its films.
“They are a perfect example of the bold, inspirational voices that Film4 is known for backing — each film has been expertly crafted by exceptionally gifted writers, filmmakers and actors,” said Kosse. “It is enormously gratifying to see our belief in their unique talent recognized by BAFTA and its members in this way.”
Among those to receive two nominations was Naji Abu Nowar, the British/Jordanian first-time director behind WWI drama Theeb. He added to the Oscar best foreign-language shortlisting for his debut film with a corresponding BAFTA nomination, alongside a place in the outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer category.
“My phone has been lighting up from Jordan,” Nowar told THR from Palm Springs. “Everyone is so excited and happy — it’s like we won the World Cup!”
Universal Pictures’ international distribution head Duncan Clark said he was “very pleased” that the studio’s films The Danish Girl and Steve Jobs both came away with two nominations each in the best actor and best actress categories, saying that they were “very well deserved.”
While Steve Jobs didn’t light up the box office as had been hoped when it was first released in October, Clark said he might look to bring the film back to some theaters following the nominations. He also expressed his surprise that Tom Hardy, star of both Mad Max: Fury Road and Legend, didn’t get a mention on the BAFTA nominations list, but said that the general split of votes had been “pretty spread out,” without one title as a runaway favorite.
BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said it was “very odd” and nice to see such a broad range of nominations, with six films receiving more than five mentions each.
“It should make for a really interesting ceremony,” she said. “And as for the two leading films, you couldn’t have two different films than Carol or Bridge of Spies.”
Despite there being no U.K. movie in the best film category — the first time it hasn’t seen any overlap with the outstanding British film section for over a decade — Berry said British talent was “shining through” the nominations list. She pointed to Mark Rylance’s best supporting actor nom for Bridge of Spies, Sandy Powell’s two costume design mentions for Carol and Cinderella, and The Revenant, which had “so many Brits braving the wilds.”
With three of the best film nominees not yet released in the U.K., the CEO said she hoped the BAFTA acknowledgement would help give them an extra boost when they hit cinemas.
“As I came in this morning, I saw them putting up posters for The Revenant,” she said.
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