Awards Whispers

Our annual team of anonymous awards voters share their thoughts on 2024 the Bafta and Oscar nominations.

Festival consultant & programmer, female, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
I’m delighted to see Anatomy Of A Fall recognised across many of the main categories, including best film, director, actress and original screenplay, rather than being confined to film not in the English language. It’s a shame not to see The Zone Of Interest in the best film category, but the five titles we do have in there are all very strong. I’m genuinely baffled that there’s no best actor nomination for Andrew Scott for All Of Us Strangers; it feels like there’s been a glitch in the system. And the fact that Femme, one of the most confident, fully-formed UK debuts of the year, doesn’t get a look-in for outstanding British film or debut is really disappointing. That film has been overlooked by a large swathe of the industry and is one that should have been ripe for Bafta jury intervention.

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
I still haven’t seen The Color Purple or 20 Days In Mariupol, but will double-bill them this weekend. 

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
Recognition for Lily Gladstone (Killers Of The Flower Moon) is very welcome, as is Mark Ruffalo’s best supporting actor nod for Poor Things – a performance I adored. There’s been a lot of talk about Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie missing out on directing and acting nods for Barbie, but I’m fine with this. Taken on their own terms, I don’t think either of those elements particularly stand out – the film is far more important as a cultural artefact/moment and deserves its place in the best picture category, where Margot’s more significant role as a producer is rightly recognised, and Greta’s authoring voice is noted in the screenplay nomination. 

Producer 1, female, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
The nominations do feel a bit uneven this year – you can definitely feel the influence of juries as there is not as much overlap between the various best film categories and the directing/screenplay categories. I loved Anatomy Of A Fall but am surprised to see it in the main best film list compared to larger-scale titles such as Maestro, and very surprised not to see The Zone Of Interest in there, which feels like a real omission.

The Outstanding British film category is truly bonkers – Wonka and Napoleon up against How To Have Sex and Scrapper? I honestly don’t know how you would vote in that category as everything is so different.

The documentary category is a mess. It’s a great shame that there aren’t any of the brilliant British films in there, but their presence in the juried outstanding debut category has obviously pushed out films like Rye Lane, Femme and Scrapper – all brilliant debuts that have not been recognised. It feels like a rethink in these areas would benefit both documentaries and fiction debuts.

Actor categories also have some glaring omissions. I’m heartbroken that Andrew Scott hasn’t been nominated for All Of Us Strangers. That said, it’s heartening to see a lot of British work in the lists overall this year, and a particular shout-out for a stellar year by Film4.

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
I don’t have time to rewatch anything! I do want to watch more of the film not in English language titles. I haven’t seen 20 Years In Mariupol yet, but otherwise what a strong category. I always try to watch the short films at the final stage of voting, and keep up with the best emerging talent. 

Producer 2, male, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
Every year I get bewildered by the Outstanding British Film category. It seems to embody what is so confused about the Bafta Film Awards. They almost can’t bear to include pure British films, but have to throw in massive studio movies like Napoleon and Wonka and the non-British film Poor Things which has Greece, USA, Ireland, Hungary and Australia in there but so few British elements that they might as well include Barbie as well because at least that was shot in the UK. Baffling. What’s the betting that the British films that deserve to win this category like Rye Lane, All Of Us Strangers, How To Have Sex or The Old Oak – local films by local filmmakers – will be beaten by one of the bigger movies.

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
No, I had seen the films that were nominated.

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
I loved the Oscar nominations. They went big on the big films like Oppenheimer, Barbie and Killers Of The Flower Moon but also embraced Anatomy Of A Fall and The Zone Of Interest. I felt the international film category was very rich – Anatomy exclusion aside – and they acknowledged the smaller gems like Past Lives, The Eternal Memory and Robot Dreams. I also thought that Bafta’s omission of Lily Gladstone from the best actress category was pretty lame bearing in mind she is the soul of that film. The Oscars corrected that. 

Rye Lane

Media executive, female, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
Very happy to see Rye Lane, Wonka and How To Have Sex up for outstanding British film. All three capture a variety of what the UK’s talent has to offer from a range of perspectives and genres. Extra box-tick for Vivian Oparah getting a best actress nod for Rye Lane; I did not see that coming and I’m not mad at it. Even though I personally think Barbie was overhyped, no best director nod for Greta Gerwig is odd. Very pleased for Jellyfish And Lobster and Festival Of Slaps in the shorts.

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
To watch: The Zone Of Interest, Society Of The Snow, Blue Bag Life. To rewatch: Past Lives – something about it irked me so I need to figure out if I was tired or correct – and Saltburn – I thoroughly enjoyed it but apparently I’m supposed to hate it. I rewatched The Holdovers the other night because I don’t understand why Da’Vine Joy Randolph is sweeping the awards from under Danielle Brooks’ feet – and I still don’t get it. Love Da’Vine, she’s amazing but the role is not an awards one. Whereas Danielle made us forget Oprah ever played Sofia in The Color Purple. That’s huge!

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
They threw in Jeffrey Wright for best actor and American Fiction for best picture. The irony of it all is chef’s-kiss hilarious. Lily Gladstone for best actress – a necessary correction from Bafta’s omission. And a huge yay for Io Capitano being nominated for international feature and Bobi Wine: The People’s President getting into documentary feature category. 

Distribution/exhibition executive, male, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
Having looked at the nominations over and over, the one that I’m most pleased to see is Vivian Oparah nominated for leading actress for Rye Lane. I’m surprised Barbie didn’t get a best film nomination. That feels odd given its cultural impact and achievements in the market.

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
There’s nothing outstanding on my list but maybe, just maybe, I’ll watch the second half of Maestro

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
I don’t disagree with the Oscar documentary chapter for eschewing the more expensive high-end contenders, but I also think that’s a genre with a real identity crisis going on that needs to be remedied. Saltburn to me is not and has never been an awards film – it’s great entertainment but not something that needs awards so I think the Oscars got that right in not nominating it in any categories, whereas us Brits probably got a bit carried away. Both groups not nominating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem for best animation, however, is possibly the biggest oversight of all.

Producer 3, female, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
It’s inspiring to see The Zone Of Interest in sound and Poor Things in special visual effects, alongside those films’ other deserved nominations. The giant-budget films have to budge over and make some space for these arthouse titles, which are both so meticulously and imaginatively realised. High-five to Bafta for having the outstanding debut category to celebrate some shiny British gems – there’s no Oscar equivalent. 

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
I only have Scrapper and Spider-Man: Across TheSpider-Verse left to watch – excited to see them both. I’ll take another look at the titles in original score, as I’m not really comparing music across films in the first viewing. It’s a little treat to go back to them. And thank you Bafta for leaving up on Bafta View titles which didn’t get nominated, there are still so many interesting films to enjoy.

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
Some of the strong docs that made it onto the Oscars list didn’t punch through even on to the Bafta longlist, which was heavy on celebrity portraits. No films about Americans on the Oscar list, but a dominance of US-financed films on the Bafta list – what’s this about: more global representation in the Oscar voting? More rigorous and eclectic viewing on the part of the Oscar voters? Bafta voters could have given a little love to the British documentaries.

It’s exciting to see The Zone Of Interest in both best picture and international feature for the Oscars – but then they do have a longer best picture list. Both Lily Gladstone and Mark Ruffalo are sublime in their respective roles – it’s a shame that Bafta juries didn’t agree.

I miss seeing All Of Us Strangers in the Oscar nominations; Andrew Haigh is proving himself to be a world-class director and this was a beautifully realised film. It’s just plain wrong that the French didn’t put Anatomy Of A Fall forward for international feature at the Oscars, as their entry The Taste Of Things was a big old snooze and didn’t punch through. 

Distribution & marketing consultant, male, Bafta voter

What pleased/surprised/distressed you about the Bafta nominations?
I’m pleased to see Poor Things secure so many nominations (although no Yorgos Lanthimos in best director? Really?!). 20 Days In Mariupol being nominated in both documentary and film not in the English language is so deserved, cinema being about relevancy when confronting current times. Thumbs up to voting peers for acknowledging Jonathan Glazer for The Zone Of Interest, although the film missing out on a best film nomination was a surprise. I’m distressed that Andrew Scott’s lead performance in All Of Us Strangers was left off, even though equally good but less crucial alternative cast members were nominated. Is that simply because they were more famous? 

Which of the main contenders do you have left to watch – and will you be rewatching anything before voting?
I’ve seen them all and am pleased with most of the contenders apart from those listed above. I won’t be rewatching anything and I, for one, second Paul Schrader when he said recently in reference to Killers Of The Flower Moon: “Spending three-and-a-half Hours in the company of an idiot is a long time.”

What did the Oscar nominations get more right than the Baftas… and what wrong?
Oscar voters gave The Zone Of Interest a chance in best picture. Bafta members missed out on that as best film, although we did beat them in overall nominations for the film – nine compared to five. Whatever the outcome at both ceremonies, The Zone Of Interest will walk away the winner this year when we are talking about cinema.





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By fcjyy