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Baftas 2017: the lowdown on all the British film nominees

We profile all the UK films that were nominated for the 2017 Baftas, from Fantastic Beasts to Florence Foster Jenkins.

The 2017 Bafta nominations reflected the breadth of filmmaking taking place in the UK today, with blockbuster Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them competing against Iran-set indie horror Under The Shadow.

Here’s the lowdown on all the British films that made the Bafta shortlist this year.

I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake

Director: Ken Loach
Cast:  Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy, Briana Shann, Dylan McKiernan

Synopsis: A middle aged carpenter who requires state welfare after injuring himself, is joined by a single mother in a similar scenario.

Screen review: “While it might not break new ground, there is no denying the potency of the film’s empathetic anguish and fury.”

Reaction: Joe Oppenheimer, acting head of BBC Films [a backer on I, Daniel Blake], said: We are so proud to have supported these outstanding films, all of which showcase in their own way the very best of British film-making”.

Nominations (five): best film; outstanding British film; director (Ken Loach); original screenplay (Paul Laverty), supporting actress (Hayley Squires)

Read more: ‘I, Daniel Blake’ producer talks UK co-production challenges

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Fantastic Beasts

Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller

Synopsis: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Screen review: “Fantastic Beasts is better the darker it gets, especially in a robust final reel where the film fully hits its stride.”

Nominations (five): outstanding british film; production design; costume design; sound; special visual effects

Read more: How the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ VFX team created a world of amazing monsters

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg

Synopsis: The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.

Screen review: “Playing the deluded songbird heiress, and equipped with an impressively padded girth, Meryl Streep hasn’t been in such good-humoured form since 2009’s Julie And Julia.”

Nominations (four): leading actress (Meryl Streep); supporting actor (Hugh Grant); costume design; make up and hair

Read more: Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant talk ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’

Notes On Blindness

Notes on Blindness

Director: Pete Middleton, James Spinney
Cast: John M. Hull, Marilyn Hull, Miranda Beinart-Smith

Synopsis: In the summer of 1983, just days before the birth of his first son, writer and theologian John Hull went blind. In order to make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began keeping a diary on audiocassette. This documentary/drama is based on exclusive access to these original recordings.

Screen review: “Hull’s wisdom, and the agility of his insights as he struggles to make sense of his condition, form the basis of this elegant, evocative and deeply affecting documentary.”

Nominations (three): outstanding British film; outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer (Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Jo-Jo Ellison); documentary

Read more: Q&A with ‘Notes On Blindness’ directors Peter Middleton and James Spinney 

Under The Shadow

Under The Shadow

Director: Babak Anvari
Cast: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi

Synopsis: As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.

Screen review: “What’s particularly interesting is the use of the veil as a symbol of the threat which haunts Shideh and her daughter.”

Reaction: Babak Anvari said on Twitter: “So honoured that Under the Shadow @UTSFilm has got two @BAFTA nominations! Big thanks to everyone who helped us make it happen!”

Nominations (two): outstanding British film; outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer (Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh)

Read more: Babak Anvari talks ‘Under The Shadow’

Denial

Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall

Synopsis: Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

Screen review: “Jackson’s film is best enjoyed for the quality of the performances and the typical richness of Hare’s screenplay.”

Nominations (one): outstanding British film

Read more: How did UK films fare in the US in 2016?

American Honey

american honey

Director: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

Synopsis: A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.

Screen review: “Visually the film is terrific, Robbie Ryan’s restlessly shifting, often sun-soaked photography vividly snapping up snatched moments of industrial drabness and bucolic bliss.”

Reaction: Backer Film4 tweeted: “Congratulations to team American Honey, nominated for Outstanding British Film at this year’s #EEBAFTAs!”

Nominations (one): outstanding British film  

Read more: Andrea Arnold talks ‘American Honey’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ challenges at Tribeca

The Girl With All The Gifts

Director: Colm McCarthy
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Anamaria Marinca

Synopsis: A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

Screen review: “A smartly compelling, emotionally engaging and stylishly executed film that revitalises the zombie genre.”

Nominations (one): outstanding British film; outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer (Mike Carey, Camille Gatin)

Read more: The story behind ‘The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl On The Train

The Girl on the Train

Director: Tate Taylor
Cast: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson

Synopsis: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

Screen review: “Taylor aspires to gravitas, which only makes everything seem that much sillier.” 

Nominations (one): best actress (Emily Blunt)

Read more: Viggo Mortensen, Emily Blunt in surprise 2017 SAG Awards nods  

The Hard Stop

the hard stop

Director: George Amponsah, George Amponsah
Cast: Marcus Knox Hooke, Kurtis Henville

Synopsis: The police killing of Mark Duggan in London, 2011, ignited the worst civil unrest in recent British history and made headlines around the globe.

Nominations (one): outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer (George Amponsah, Dionne Walker)

Read more: Metrodome to donate ‘The Hard Stop’ revenue to charity

The Pass

The Pass 2

Director: Ben A. Williams
Cast: Russell Tovey, Arinzé Kene, Lisa McGrillis

Synopsis: Based on the John Donnelly play of the same name, The Pass revolves around sexual encounter between two premier league footballers and its repercussions for years afterwards.

Screen review: “[The film is] assisted by a blistering performance from Russell Tovey as a cunning premier-league player whose secret is rotting him from the inside.”

Reaction: Star Russell Tovey tweeted: “Huge exciting news for our movie @LionsgateUK #ThePass - @BAFTA nominated for outstanding debut for @propershameful and @filmbenwilliams !!”

Nominations (one): outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer (John Donnelly, Ben A. Williams)

Read more: Duncan Kenworthy talks his under-the-radar strategy for ‘The Pass’ 

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