BAFTA Awards: Nominees, Industry React

The nominations for the 2018 honors were unveiled Tuesday morning in London.

Unless they were still in Los Angeles recovering from the Golden Globes, members of the British film industry had an early start Tuesday, waking up to hear which films had been shortlisted for the 2018 BAFTA Awards. 

Rather than 2017, which saw La La Land emerge way ahead of the pack, this year had a more even spread of nominations, with The Shape of Water earning 12 mentions and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour receiving nine each.

"It's a really broad mix of established and emerging talent," said BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after the nominations announcement. "And [there are] eight British nominees in the performance categories, which is absolutely fantastic."

In terms of rising British stars, Berry pointed to Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya, who was named a BAFTA "Brit to Watch" in 2011 and is now nominated in both the best actor and rising star categories.

It also was a good morning for Working Title Pictures, which not only produced Joe Wright's Darkest Hour but Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, which received two nominations, and Stephen Frear's Victoria & Abdul, which nabbed one. 

However, while Darkest Hour's spread of nominations includes mentions for best film, actor, supporting actor, British film, cinematography and several others in the craft categories, Wright failed to make the shortlist for best director.

"I know he'll be bitterly disappointed," said Working Title co-chair Eric Fellner. "But we consider Joe to have been behind all of the film's nominations."

Fellner also said it was wonderful to see Baby Driver be recognized "some six months after it was released."

Darkest Hour's Gary Oldman, who portrays Winston Churchill in the pic, said it was his third BAFTA nomination as an actor.

"The recognition means so much, and especially more so not merely for the distinguished company I now find myself in with my fellow nominees, but most especially for the privilege of playing Winston Churchill, which it truly was," he said.

Oldman's best supporting actress-nominated co-star Kristen Scott Thomas said she was thrilled to recognized by BAFTA for her role as Clementine Churchill and for "shining a little extra light on a remarkable woman too frequently hidden behind her husband, Winston."

In the best actress category, The Shape of Water's Sally Hawkins said her nomination felt like a "gift from my homeland."

"This film, the story, its characters and the great people that were involved in bringing it to the world are unique and very precious to me," she said. "I believe this is an important film and it is a deep, deep part of my heart. So to be honored and recognized in such a way ... well, yes it is a gift. [Director] Guillermo [del Toro] is a master and visionary. I am very lucky. Thank you with all my heart."

Over at Film4, there was delight for the success of Three Billboards so soon after it emerged triumphant in Hollywood on Sunday.

“We're absolutely thrilled Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards has been recognized by BAFTA and its members with nine nominations — and following such a successful weekend at the Golden Globes," said Film4 director Daniel Battsek, adding that Film4 had backed all of McDonagh's films to date.

He also pointed to the other Film4 feature nominated, Rungano Nyoni's directorial debut I Am Not a Witch, plus the short film Work from Aneil Karia and Scott O'Donnell.

"These nominations illustrate the vital role Film4 plays to incubate homegrown talent and promote their work to a global audience," Battsek said.

Raoul Peck, director of I Am Not Your Negro, which got a nod in the documentary category, said in was an "incredibly humbling nomination."

"After the film’s critical and public success in the U.S. and throughout the world, I’m glad it found such an inspiring echo in the U.K. Thank you," he added. 

The team behind Brit indie hit Lady Macbeth, which was nominated for both outstanding British film and outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer, also added their delight at the recognition.

"We're so delighted to have been recognized by BAFTA for our debut film," said director William Oldroyd, writer Alice Birch and Fodhla producer Cronin O’Reilly in a statement. "It's a huge honor felt by the whole team. We're immensely proud of our film and how genuinely collaborative the experience of making it was. We were only able to work in this way because of the incredible support and encouragement of iFeatures, Creative England, BFI, BBC Films and Great Point."

Francis Lee, whose directorial debut God's Own Country received a mention for outstanding British film, said he was honored to earn the nomination.

"It feels incredible to be amongst such wonderful British films this year. Thank you and congratulations to all nominees," he said.

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