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What Might the BAFTAs Mean for Oscar?

In what was a bit of a surprise, the BAFTA voters did not shut out all other nominees to give La La Land the sweep, as the Hollywood Foreign Press did. It did not break The Artist’s record of 7 wins. Instead it landed where The Revenant did with 5 wins. That’s still pretty good, considering there were many other films they also loved. The BAFTA does not use the preferential ballot, and they changed their voting around 2012 to be more like the Academy’s. Because the new voting is different, it’s harder to guess whether they will predict what happens at the Oscars. Ballots are sent out tomorrow and have just over a week to pick the winners. Because of the short time frame, and because love is split up all over the place, it’s unlikely that any film can challenge La La Land heading into the race.

If there is any sort of shake-up, though, it will likely be where the preferential ballot is – with Best Picture – than in Director or Actress. What isn’t known is whether La La Land will dominate the techs. At BAFTA it took just Original Score and Cinematography, losing production design to Fantastic Beasts and Editing to Hacksaw Ridge and Sound to Arrival.

What does all of that mean? Well I think it just shows that there are other films beloved this year and that there isn’t just the one. Of Course, the Academy might be head over heels in love with La La Land, more than the BAFTA. It seemed as though the BAFTA would be more in love with the film than even the Academy. Thus, I think that predicting a win for La La Land but not a record breaking sweep is the way to go.

Unfortunately, Barry Jenkins’ much lauded Moonlight was shut out. For a minute there, when things were looking unpredictable – when Dev Patel won in Supporting, and Lion took Adapted Screenplay, that maybe Moonlight would win Best Picture. But alas, it was not to be. They obviously really liked Lion and if it had more time with those voters it might have ended up doing a lot better with them overall.

So it’s probably not outside the realm of possibility that Lion could win at the Oscars somewhere, maybe supporting actor, maybe cinematography, maybe even adapted screenplay. But Moonlight was in original at the BAFTAs, and it will be up against Lion in Adapted. It won the Scripter last night, which to me says it can’t lose the Oscar. Although this last minute Lion surge is interesting.

Hacksaw Ridge took editing, also interesting. With Hacksaw, Arrival and La La Land in the sound categories you might see one film take both that isn’t La La Land. That’s just a hunch. I have no idea which way the needle will shift but whatever happens it will be happening this week. Expect the volume to be turned way way up on all of these movies in the next week. The three that are going for the big win are Hidden Figures, Lion and La La Land and only one of those has a Best Director nomination.

I still think there might be some unpredictability, given the influx of new voters. One thing is for sure – La La Land was expected to sweep today and it didn’t. It still won but it’s more in line with how films wins now. Even the King’s Speech, which DID sweep the BAFTAs, only ended up with four Oscar wins. The Hurt Locker won 5 BAFTAs, like La La Land did, and went on to win 6 Oscars. There is no reason to think that La La Land won’t take home the top prize but coming out of the BAFTAs most will probably temper their idea that it is going to sweep more than say, 6 – 8 wins.

Probably safe for:

Picture
Director
Actress
Score
Song

Then quite possibly
Editing
Cinematography

With Casey Affleck and Kenneth Lonergan winning here, that shows that Manchester by the Sea is still appreciated. That means it’s going to be a tough call choosing between Denzel Washington and Affleck for Best Actor.  It could really go either way.

And of course, Viola Davis can’t lose.