The first thing to know about the BAFTAs is how they vote. It’s a complicated process that I will attempt to explain as best I can. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about the second thing to know about the BAFTAS: they are an awards group in flux.
The BAFTAs, like the Golden Globes, like the Oscars, have been under intense scrutiny since “The Great Awakening,” a revolution of sorts that began much earlier than 2020, but that was the year when the change was no longer an ask but a mandate. No one got hit harder than the BAFTAs. At first, they removed the voting privileges of their members and brought in a committee to “select” the “right” choices. I would have been the only person pushing against any of this loudly (most everyone else was, as usual, too afraid to say anything).
They have since eased up on that ridiculous method of finding the “right” nominees to satisfy the Woketopians. Now, the committees only hand-select three out of six names in the acting and directing categories. These are presumably not to bow to the awards consensus but to honor people they believe would slip through the cracks otherwise.
I have remained consistently annoyed by what happened to the BAFTAS, particularly because their awards aren’t supposed to do anything except tell us what an industry of professionals believes is the best of the year. That’s WHY the awards exist at all. Otherwise, we would not need them. A hand-picked nomination does nothing for the person nominated because no one believes they got there alone. It is a way to make the people at the top look good, not necessarily a way to honor the best and highest achievements in the industry.
It was a bizarre thing to be someone who blogged incessantly about the lack of representation for women and artists of color, especially black artists. To be then the person I am now, someone advocating for a loosening of the grip on art by activism. Once something is mandated or forced, it loses all credibility. And it only hurts those who seemingly benefit from a choice based on “equity” rather than merit.
The only reason we’re in this mess is social media allowed people to form coalitions to shame voting bodies that they deemed sexist or racist publicly. Once Twitter became an arena for public shaming, the richest and most powerful among us became protective of their image and their status. They then used people of color and intersectional representation as shields to protect them from shame and ruination. To quote Hannibal Lector, it won’t do.
Then came the BAFTA revolt, a theory proposed by Kris Tapley back in 2021 when Frances McDormand and Anthony Hopkins beat out Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. It carried over to the Oscars, which handed McDormand her third lead Oscar and Hopkins his second. They were both gracious winners, and Davis, as usual, was a gracious loser. But it also said something was amiss over in BAFTA land. Maybe they were none too happy about having their voting privileges taken away and called racists and sexists by the eager beaver hive mind feeling its oats.
Stats can only take you so far. They are only valuable if the voting demographic remains unchanged. The Globes, the BAFTA and the OSCARS have all changed up their voting memberships in an effort to diversify (which is all they should have done, IMO). But that means that their awards are going to be more unpredictable if you look for patterns.
But let’s do it anyway.
The big shock in this category was Lily Gladstone being left off the list. Here’s how it likely went. From BAFTA’s site:
The longlist round was first introduced in 2021 following the BAFTA 2020 Review. Every category in this round is voted on by a Craft Chapter, opt-in Chapter, or Jury, with the exception of Best Film, which is voted for by all film-voting members. Chapters are made up of a minimum of 100 BAFTA members who hold specialist knowledge in the relevant craft.
Performance: the top three performances in all four performance categories in Round One Chapter voting will be automatically nominated, up from two in 2022. The longlisting and nominating jury process remains the same as last year, with the nominating jury selecting the remaining three places on the nominations list (down from four last year) – with the total nominations staying the same at a total of six per category.
Since things have dramatically changed since 2020, is there anything that looks like this year since then? Possibly Viola Davis, but she did not win the Globe like Gladstone did.
Last year was down to two actresses and neither of them missed the BAFTA.
The bottom line for Best Actress is this: we just don’t know how this will play out. The BAFTA didn’t choose Gladstone in their top three, likely going with Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan and Margot Robbie, then the committee likely selected Fantasia Barrino, Sandra Huller, and Vivian Oparah. Then again, we have no idea who the top vote getters were. We can only guess. I would love it if Barrino somehow made it in. That fifth slot for Best Actress is a tough one.
Here we have another miss for Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jeffrey Wright also dropped off. The “committee” selected three — who knows which three, but we do still have our four frontrunners intact.
Previous few years:
The weirdest thing here is no supporting actors from Poor Things. Did Willem Dafoe and Mark Ruffalo cancel each other out? So now you have no supporting actors from Poor Things and no Best Director. With 11 nominations, they would have tied with Oppenheimer if so.
And how it’s looked the last three years:
Again, we can see our top three vote-getters. I wonder with Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Barrino being nominated here if that means anything. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Does Rosamund Pike get in? Does this end Penelope Cruz’s run? So many questions.
And the past few years:
This is another really weird one, with Yorgos Lanthimos, Greta Gerwig, and Martin Scorsese off the list. You do wonder which of the three were the TOP THREE. Christopher Nolan and Alexander Payne are easily the top two. But it’s hard to know if it was Andrew Haigh or Jonathan Glazer or Justine Triet who were selected or if they were top vote getters.
This tells me that the BAFTA voters really loved The Holdovers, a lot more than I bet people assumed they would. Obviously, Nolan has this in the bag. Oppenheimer will sweep the BAFTAs.
Here is how Best Picture is lining up now:
Best Picture doesn’t use committees. The entire membership (I believe) votes on these. These five films are, apparently, their favorites even if they aren’t echoed as strongly in the acting categories, at least where Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon are concerned.
Here are the past few years:
Now, just for the hell of of it, let’s look at a BAFTA chart of how the movies landed, maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t.
First off, here is the original longlist:
And now, with the nominations:
I’ve done this in the past, so I don’t have a way to compare it to the longlists, although I might do it for the fun of it at some point. Remember, CODA won Best Picture without placing in BAFTA, the DGA, etc. So, anything is possible. But you can see the five movies they liked best.
These nominations help predict some categories, like Anatomy of a Fall, which may be landing in Best Director, and The Zone of Interest in Cinematography.
At this point, though, it’s Oppenheimer’s to lose, with only The Holdovers giving it any heat whatsoever.