Lots of chatter this week about the possibility of multiple Oscar noms for The Dark Knight, but we’ve been overlooking another film award that’s nearly as prestigious without being quite as snooty about honoring action films. Last year British director Paul Greengrass earned a coveted BAFTA director’s nomination, while The Bourne Ultimatum was nominated for Best British Film and scored noms in 5 other categories. The year before, as we’ve discussed over the weekend, BAFTA honored Casino Royale with 9 nominations. In 2002, BAFTA didn’t dawdle around and wait for Peter Jackson to pull a hat trick with all 3 smashing parts of the triology — they awarded The Fellowship of the Ring the Best Picture award, along with 14 other nominations. Peter Jackson won the BAFTA for Best Director, three years before AMPAS got onboard.
BAFTA last year gave Ridley Scott’s American Gangster’s five nominations, including Best Picture, and while AmGang isn’t an action film, there’s something more important it has in common with The Dark Knight — a British director, Christopher Nolan. Of the 28 filming locations listed on IMDb for TDK, 15 were in the UK (including much of the studio work at Leavesden Studio) providing the same level of limey involvement that allowed the BAFTA’s to declare the Bourne series “Best British” films.
If this site were still called OscarWatch I might feel a stronger sense of nationalistic allegiance to our homegrown awards, but I’ve never been shy about saying that BAFTA’s taste is often more in line with my own — especially when compared to what sometimes passes for “the year’s best” at the Kodak Theater. I still maintain that The Dark Knight could easily see 5-8 Oscars nominations (and reserve the right to adjust that number up or down, depending on what we see between now and December.) But one thing seems substantially more certain: whatever kudos or snubs TDK receives when the Oscar noms are announced, we can look for the BAFTA’s to appreciate the kind of Hollywood movie that Hollywood itself often tends to belittle.