Tuesday 3 February 2015

Having a bash at the BAFTAs (Part 1)

It’s the poor man’s Oscars BAFTA Awards on Sunday night (BBC1, 21:00) so for the rest of this week I’ll be taking a look at some of the categories I’m most interested in and offering certain-to-be-wrong tips on who’s going to win and why…

Wes Anderson: The Grand Budapest Hotel
James Marsh: The Theory of Everything
Richard Linklater: Boyhood
Damien Chazelle: Whiplash
Alejandro G. Iñárritu: Birdman

James Marsh does a perfectly good job on The Theory of Everything but it would be an utter travesty if he won here. The four other nominated films all boast directorial visions that are so much more unique and powerful. Anderson’s intricate visuals in The Grand Budapest Hotel are a sumptuous feast for the eyes, while Chazelle’s Whiplash turns the art of jazz drumming into a high-octane contact sport. Iñárritu’s dazzling Birdman – most of it cleverly edited to look like one long tracking shot – is the stuff of pure cinema, while Linklater’s Boyhood – shot over 12 years with the same cast – is the perfect union of hard graft and ambitious artistic endeavour. Any one of those four would be a worthy winner but put me on the spot and I’ll go for Iñárritu. Such is the standard in this category I’ll probably have changed my mind by tomorrow though.
Should win: Anyone but Marsh
Will win: Richard Linklater (below): Boyhood

Rising Star
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Jack O’Connell
Shailene Woodley
Margot Robbie
Miles Teller

After his superb performance in Whiplash, Teller should have a dog in this fight but I can’t help feeling it’ll be between the two young Brits – O’Connell and Mbatha-Raw. The latter is an excellent actress who was easily the best thing about the puzzlingly over-praised Belle. She also has a whole raft of Hollywood projects lined up, including a role in the Wachowskis’ forthcoming sci-fi extravaganza, Jupiter Ascending. Meanwhile, O’Connell had an incredible 2014, starring in gritty prison drama Starred Up and bleak Belfast thriller ’71, before landing the lead in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. This is an odd category because I can’t help feeling some of these young actors are not so much rising stars as stars that have already “risen”. O’Connell is certainly one of those so I’m handing the award to the less-well-known but equally talented Mbatha-Raw.
Should win: Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Will win: Gugu Mbatha-Raw (below)

Outstanding British Film
Under The Skin
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

This is one of the categories I am most interested in, mainly because my favourite movie of last year – Under the Skin – is nominated. Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary film should be showered with every award going but, if it doesn’t win here, I’d settle for Yann Demange’s dark Belfast thriller 71 or Matthew Warchus’ feisty, feelgood Pride taking the prize. Paddington is a joy with a fine message of inclusivity but is surely too lightweight to triumph, while The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything are only really noteworthy for the number of fine performances they boast. I have a horrible feeling the worthy but dull Stephen Hawking biopic might just nick this though.
Should win: Under the Skin
Will win: The Theory of Everything 

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