The BAFTAs: Who will win big at the British Oscars?

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This year’s BAFTA ceremony is only 11 days away (Sunday 16th Feb). As it’s set apart from the American release schedule, you’ve probably seen most of the big nominees, so there’s no reason we can’t indulge in a bit of speculation. We talk film day-in-day-out, so here’s a final list of who we think will scoop the major prizes (our pick in bold):

Best Film Nominees

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12 Years a Slave
Gravity
Captain Phillips
American Hustle
Philomena

As predictable as our choice may be (it’s odds-on favourite everywhere), Steve McQueen’s harrowing slavery drama is an apt Best Film. It’s the type of movie to live on like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List – haunting, historical and a reminder of the depravity of our past. Its British-backing will also give it extra torque with the Academy – which, honestly, is not without British bias.

Best Director Nominees

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Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

This is a tough one. McQueen’s direction in 12 Years a Slave had the viewer locked-in torturously – it was an arresting spectacle that battered your emotions with the shame of slavery. Greengrass’ Captain Phillips was perfectly paced and nail-bitingly tense. Scorsese sewed together an epic satire on debauched greed in Wall Street and O.Russell weaved an intricate con romance but Cuaron should take the gong for the exhilarating Gravity. Where it lacked in plot, it gained in visuals and finely tuned inter-stellar tension.

Leading Actress Nominees

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Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

We moot Amy Adams as the only challenger to Blanchett. She was wonderful as the beguiling yet deceptive Sydney Prosser in American Hustle. However, we can’t see beyond the Blue Jasmine lead as the winner. She pulled off a rich, multi-layered and rending performance in Allen’s bitter-sweet drama on the tragedy of age and faded beauty. Nevertheless, with Brit faves Emma Thompson and Judi Dench in the mix, we could be in for a surprise.

Leading Actor Nominees

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Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)

12 Years a Slave wouldn’t have been as moving without the passion and intensity of its lead man. Ejiofor displaying startling emotional range and depth to bring the sickening true drama of Solomon Northup alive. The other nominees definitely deserve the recognition, but it would be a big surprise if Ejiofor doesn’t take this acting gong.

Supporting Actor Nominees

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Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
Matt Damon (Behind the Candelabra)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years of Slave)

In a way like Christoph Waltz wooed Awards judges as Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, Fassbender’s stint as psychopathically complex plantation owner, Edwin Epps, should churn enough stomaches to get him the BAFTA. He paired vicious, unremitting evil with boyish weakness. It’ll be a shame if he doesn’t receive apt recognition for his villainy.

Supporting Actress Nominees

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Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage Country)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Oprah Winfrey (The Butler)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

We sense it’s going to be a big night for 12 Years a Slave, so she might edge Jennifer Lawrence here. Expect the Americans to shower Lawrence with praise, but Nyong’o’s role as the battered owner’s pet was soulful and poignant for a newcomer. Sally Hawkins is a dark horse, but with not much going for Blue Jasmine, we’d be surprised if this goes to anyone but Lawrence or Nyong’o.

We’re still showing 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, keep up with the awards season at the Genesis. For times and booking, visit our website: www.genesiscinema.co.uk.

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