BAFTA Awards: Noms Boost British Flicks, Shut Out 'The Post'

Darkest Hour Still Gary Oldman - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Jack English/Focus Features

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced its nominees for the 71st BAFTA Awards early Tuesday morning, and, as is usually the case, British films did better with their own constituents than they have done stateside, while some high-profile contenders from America were snubbed altogether.

Darkest Hour, Joe Wright's profile of Winston Churchill at the outset of World War II, landed one of five best film noms — alongside Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water (which scored a field-leading 12 noms) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — and Gary Oldman, who plays Churchill, received a best actor nom, but Wright was not nominated for best director.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, the story of a young Brit's love affair with the actress Gloria Grahame, received noms for best actor (Jamie Bell), best actress (Annette Bening) and best adapted screenplay. And, somewhat bizarrely, Paddington 2, a British children's adventure film, landed two noms of its own, for best supporting actor (Hugh Grant) and best adapted screenplay.

Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg's The Post was shut out entirely — not nominated for best film, director, actor (Tom Hanks), actress (Meryl Streep) or original screenplay — which, coming on the heels of similar snubs from the Writers Guild of America (which did not nominate its script for a WGA Award) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which sent it home 0-for-6 on Sunday night), is not a good omen for its Oscar prospects.

Two other critics' darlings that deal with race and class on this side of the pond, Get Out and Lady Bird, received mixed messages from BAFTA, too. The former landed noms for best actor (Daniel Kaluuya) and best original screenplay (Jordan Peele), while the latter, coming off a big night at the Globes, registered noms for best actress (Saoirse Ronan), best supporting actress (Laurie Metcalf) and best original screenplay (Greta Gerwig) — but neither received a best picture or best director mention.

The total absence of any female filmmaker from the best director category, while not totally unexpected, is sure to engender criticism in the current climate. However, the acting noms for Kaluuya and for The Shape of Water's Octavia Spencer, in the best supporting actress category, will probably help to quiet talk of #BAFTAsSoWhite that started last year after Moonlight's Barry Jenkins and Fences' Denzel Washington weren't nominated — at least for now.

Others getting a boost from the BAFTA noms include Denis Villeneuve, a best director nominee for the second year in a row, last year for Arrival and this year, rather unexpectedly, for Blade Runner 2049; and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread, for which Brits Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville received best actor and best supporting actress noms, respectively, and which was also recognized with best costume design and best original music mentions.

The voting bodies for the BAFTA and Academy awards are roughly the same size — 6,500 for the former and, as of late December, 7,258 for the latter — and are thought to overlap on about 500 names. That's a fairly sizable sample size, meaning that many of BAFTA's nominees might well turn up again when Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 23.