HOLLYWOOD—The race for Oscar is definitely on! The British Academy of Film and Theatre Arts ceremony was held on Sunday, February 16, and the big winner of the night was the drama “12 Years a Slave” taking the prize for Best Film. The stirring slave drama has been almost unbeatable all awards season long for the coveted trophy of Best Film. The only movie standing in its way is “Gravity,” which won the prize for Best British Film. The movie was the biggest winner of the night taking home six trophies.
I would say at this point, with less than two weeks before Oscar Sunday, the race for Best Picture is between “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” and it’s anyone’s game at this point. “Slave” looks difficult to defeat, but if any picture could upset, its likely “Gravity,” “American Hustle” would be the dark horse.
The Best Director prize was claimed by Alfonso Cuaron for his awesome work on “Gravity.” Cuaron has been unbeatable this awards season, but there is just one problem with the Academy Awards: rarely do they split the trophy for Best Director and Best Picture, it has happened in the past, but rarely does it happen. If Cuaron wins the Best Director Oscar, it’s a sign that “Gravity” could win Best Picture, if Steve McQueen wins for Best Director, which may shock some, but I wouldn’t be surprised, it’s a given “12 Years a Slave” is winning Best Picture.
There were also shake-ups in the acting races at the BAFTA ceremony. In the Best Supporting Actor race, Barkhad Abdi was victorious for his work in “Captain Phillips.” This does deliver a bit of momentum for the actor, who has gone empty handed most of this awards season, the biggest problem lies in the fact that his biggest competition Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club” was not nominated. If Leto was nominated and Abdi had won, I’d argue he was a major threat to Leto come Oscar night.
For Best Supporting Actress, it was Jennifer Lawrence’s big night as she won for “American Hustle.” It’s been a duel this season between Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave.” Lupita’s loss was a big shocker, but at the same time its sets up an interesting race for Oscar night, because it’ll be difficult to predict just who will claim the top prize, Lawrence or Nyong’o.
Best Actor went to a deserving Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.” This is Ejiofor’s first big win of the awards season, in a race full of some of the toughest competition in this race in years. The one issue is the omission of Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.” If McConaughey was nominated and loss to Ejiofor, I would say the Best Actor race has become an open field. However, this is one race that will be unpredictable, while McConaughey has cleaned up this awards season, the competition for Oscar is top-notch.
The love for Leonardo DiCaprio “The Wolf of Wall Street” is building, Bruce Dern is the emotional underdog for his work in “ Nebraska” and we also have Christian Bale who is earning kudos for his work in “American Hustle.” Ejiofor’s win solidifies one thing: he’s a contender for Oscar who could still McConaughey’s thunder.
Best Actress went to Cate Blanchett for her performance in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” Some speculated that the recent backlash in the media for director Woody Allen might hurt Blanchett’s chances, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Cate may be the front-runner, but voters should not forget about Amy Adams for her work in “American Hustle.” She is a major dark horse who could unseat Blanchett come Oscar Sunday. A full-list of other winners at the ceremony are listed below:
Best Film Not in the English Language
“The Great Beauty”
Best Special Visual Effects
Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould, Nikki Penny, “Gravity”
EE Rising Star: Will Pouter
Best Adapted Screenplay
Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, “Philomena”
Best Original Screenplay
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
Kieran Evans, “Kelly + Victor”
Best Animated Film
Best Original Music
Best Costume Design
Catherine Martin, “The Great Gatsby”
Best Make-Up and Hair
Evelyne Noraz, Lori McCoy-Bell, Kathrine Gordon “American Hustle”
“The Act of Killing”
Dan Hanley, Mike Hill, “Rush”
Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri, Chris Munro, “Gravity”
Best Production Design
Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn, “The Great Gatsby”
Best British Short Animation
“Sleeping With the Fishes”
Best British Short Film