So Ricky Gervais offended all and sundry at the Golden Globes, leaving Colin Firth with the unenviable task of having to add dignity to proceedings when picking up a much deserved gong for The King’s Speech. And now all eyes are on the BAFTAs, where both Firth and the film are expected to do gangbusters. It deserves every success, but the real joy of this year’s nominations lie in the overlooked categories.
Truly, I think this is one of the best clutches of BAFTA noms seen in a fair few years. Of course, Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network and True Grit are all battling it out with The King’s Speech for Best Film, but in many ways that’s the most predictable, and least interesting category. Instead, let’s cast our eyes on those hard-grafting films and actors who have previously been neglected.
Four Lions for Outstanding British Film? Fantastic -one of my favourites of last year that miraculously didn’t go for cheap punchline gags but instead found that uncomfortable humour and pathos were sides of the same coin. Ditto Another Year -there’s something quietly thrilling and spiritually enriching about a low-key British film which transforms into something so profound and moving. But then that’s Mike Leigh. Nice to see Lesley Manville getting a bit of the spotlight too.
Exit Through the Gift Shop makes a strong case for Outstanding British Debut, occupying that difficult position between mickey take and documentary whilse also proving very, very funny. It’s also immensely satisfying to see Mark Ruffalo up for supporting actor for The Kids are All Right -amidst a fantastic ensemble, he was the befuddled centre, and his looks of bemusement during the first family barbeque scene were something to behold. This makes up for his Golden Globes omission!
It’s wonderful also to see Noomi Rapace nominated for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -I stand by my claim that hers was the best female performance of last year, even when the tone of the Swedish Millennium trilogy threatened to prove more hysterical than a sell-out Abba concert. As for foreign language film? The Secret in Their Eyes, unequivocally: it’s rich, dramatic and involving. Closer to home, Torquay’s very own Roger Deakins continues his astonishing vein of form for the Coen Brothers by picking up a cinematography nod for True Grit -local is best!
I can’t say how thrilled I am to see John Powell finally getting attention for his magnificent How To Train Your Dragon score. This should be a shoo-in for the Oscar; in terms of pure, robust adventure, no other score came close last year (and no, Inception doesn’t count and its presence in the BAFTA shortlist is irritating). There are some odd inclusions (Toy Story 3 for Adapted Screenplay?) but then that’s par for the course during awards season. A final mention must go to Pete Postlethwaite’s posthumous nod for The Town – it’s tremendous they’ve recognised the late, great actor in what turned out to be one of his greatest (and uncharacteristically scariest) roles. Rest in peace, Pete.
For the full list, visit the BAFTA site. The awards take place on Sunday, February 13.
â€¢ Read Roger Deakins, In His Own Words