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BAFTA nominations: analysis, shutouts and surprises

Steinfeld makes it into Best Actress category; Blue Valentine, The Ghost and Never Let Me Go shut out.

The King’s Speech leads the BAFTA nominations with 14 nods; in fact, the only eligible category it wasn’t nominated in was Special Visual Effects (it is the only film up for both Best Film and British Film). The last film to get 14 BAFTA nominations was Joe Wright’s Atonement in 2008, but it went home with just two trophies.Gandhi still holds the record with its 16 nominations.

Black Swan has 12 nominations, Inception has nine, and 127 Hours and True Grit have 8 each, followed by The Social Network with six.

Of UK distributors, Momentum leads the pack with 22 nominations, Paramount with 14, Fox with 12 (all for Black Swan) and Warner also with 12; Pathe and Disney with 8 each; and Sony with 6 (all for The Social Network). Universal had 24 nominations in 2009, but only one win. Last year, Optimum led the pack with 15 nominations, when it had The Hurt Locker.

BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry told Screen: “If you look at the films that have been nominated for best film, you probably couldn’t have five more different films. There are films for everybody this year. And if you look across the nominations, there is a lovely mix of first time nominees and people who have been multi nominated.”

Colin Firth won the BAFTA for Best Actor last year for A Single Man; if he wins again this year for The King’s Speech it will make only the 12th actor to manage consecutive wins.

Despite being pushed by Paramount for the less competitive Supporting Actress category, BAFTA voters put through True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld in the Best Actress category. She is the youngest-ever BAFTA nominee in that category. True Grit had an impressively strong showing with its total eight nominations.

Danny Boyle made the cut for Best Director, but 127 Hours is not nominated for Best Film, instead for British Film. Of the Best Director nominees, Boyle is the only one who has previously won a BAFTA. Aronofsky and Nolan have never been nominated; Fincher lost on his nomination for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Tom Hooper has been previously nominated for his TV projects such as Longford.

True Grit was nominated for Best Film, but the Coens weren’t named in the Best Director lineup.

The Fighter had been longlisted in 12 categories but only managed three nominations (somewhat surprisingly, Golden Globe winner Melissa Leo didn’t make the cut for Supporting Actress).

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore will go head to head in the Leading Actress category for their roles as lesbian partners in The Kids Are All Right (which got a total of four nods). Noomi Rapace, the Swedish star of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (three total nominations), also got an Actress nomination.

Mike Leigh’s Another Year, widely acclaimed at Cannes, is nominated only for Outstanding British Film and Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville).

Nigel Cole’s Made in Dagenhamhit four nominations: British Film, Supporting Actress (Miranda Richardson), Costume Design, and Make Up & Hair.

Chris Morris’ 2010 Sundance hit Four Lions, the controversial indie comedy about jihadists, was nominated for both British Film and British Debut.

Toy Story 3 got three nominations – in addition to Best Animated Film, it also beat out tough competition for an Adapted Screenplay nod, as well as Special Visual Effects.

Ben Affleck’s The Town only managed one nomination, Best Supporting Actor, for the recently deceased Pete Postlethwaite for his role as menacing flower shop owner Fergus. Other recent posthumous BAFTA nominations include Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight and Ulrich Mühe for The Lives of Others.

Alice In Wonderland got five nominations, in mostly technical categories: Costume Design, Make Up & Hair, Original Music, Production Design and Special Visual Effects.

Blue Valentine, which had three mentions on the longlist, was shut out of BAFTA nominations. Others with no nominations include Roman Polanski’s The Ghost, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, John Cameron Mitchell’s Rabbit Hole and Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone.

The BAFTAs do not have a documentary category, but the Banksy documentary project Exit Through The Gift Shop is nominated in the British Debut category, alongside doc-fiction hybrid The Arbor. The other debuts recognised are Edinburgh-winning Skeletons by Nick Whitfield, and Gareth Edwards’ low-budget, acclaimed sci-fi feature Monsters.

BAFTA only has three nominations in Best Animated Film. This year’s are Despicable Me, How To Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3, beating out indies Chico & Rita and Edinburgh-set The Illusionist.

Berry added that it was a “great year for British film. There are Brits where you may not expect them. In the best director category, three out of the five directors are Brits, which is showing that British talent is working throughout the world. We are an international ceremony, it’s really important we are international, but it’s terrific to see so many Brits on the list. And it’s also very moving to see a posthumous vote for Pete Postlethwaite.”

She continued: “We do it on a fraction of the budget of other awards ceremonies, and I think what we deliver both for the industry and public worldwide is pretty impressive and I’m proud of what we achieve. I’m very excited about this year.”

Finola Dwyer, Chair of the Film Committee said of the nominations: “There are some great films, great talent, great voices. Films like True Grit, Inception, Social Network, those films are doing well at the box office. It’s great for independent film-makers. It’s great for the industry. These awards are about that celebration of talent.”

The Orange BAFTAs will be held Feb 13 at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House in London. Jonathan Ross will host for the fifth year, and the UK TV broadcast will be on BBC One.

See full nominations list here.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Can some one tell me what book or play or other source Toy Story 3 was adapted from, it was an original story by 3 pixar writer/directors, has it been published as something else before the film.

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  • As a sequel, it counts as an adaptation of material from Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

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  • What a boring, predictable set of nominations. Some really great films out there this year-Blue Valentine, NEDs, Winter's Bone, Carlos, The Illusionist but you won't find any of them in the BAFTA nominations. Too edgy, too daring perhaps or just not backed by a distributors spending thousands of pounds on a campaign?

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  • I agree, predictable as ever. As a voter I'm ashamed of my peers' lack of imagination and even more so of their disregard for anything that doesn't have an expensive campaign behind it. It's your duty to see as much as you possibly can, yet every year it's as if only 5-10 films are eligible for your vote in every category.

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