As I write, this year’s BAFTA awards are only about 30 minutes away. I’ve just rushed back from a hotel room where I’ve interviewed one of last year’s winners, who will actually be presenting an award tonight (but more of that at another time).
Here are my predictions for the main categories:
BEST PICTURE: The Queen – It probably won’t win at the Oscars but for British BAFTA voters this ticks all the boxes. It is a very British story, has a towering central performance from Helen Mirren and was made by one of our best (if underappreciated) directors.
BEST ACTOR: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland – Although Peter O’Toole could get the sentimental vote for Venus, but Whitaker has cut a swathe through the awards season for his stunning portrayal of Idi Amin.
BEST ACTRESS: Helen Mirren for The Queen – Despite a strong field that includes Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep, there is simply no way Dame Helen is going to lose. It really is that simple.
BEST DIRECTOR: Martin Scorcese for The Departed – It is the year when everyone wants a bit of “Marty Atonement”. The legendary director has (incredibly) never won an Oscar, although BAFTA members showed some taste in giving him some awards for Goodfellas back in 1991. However, don’t rule out Stephen Frears (The Queen) or Paul Greengrass (United 93).
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Sheen for The Queen – This is a tough one to call as James McAvoy, Leslie Phillips, Alan Arkin and Jack Nicholson could all conceivably win or split the votes for each other. However, Sheen’s excellent performance in The Queen (and his terrific recent turn in the West End as David Frost in Frost/Nixon) makes him the favourite for me.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls – It is in the supporting categories where the BAFTAS can get all a tad parochial, so don’t be surprised if Emily Blunt sneaks a win for her scene stealing turn in The Devil Wears Prada. That said I think Hudson is too good to ignore. She should win …I think.
Those are the main categories but interestingly enough there is also one for BEST BRITISH FILM. The nominees are Casino Royale, The Last King Of Scotland, Notes On A Scandal, The Queen and United 93. I think The Queen will triumph in the Best Film category so I’m going for United 93 here.
The Last King of Scotland also has a good shout and perhaps some contrarians will go for Casino Royale, but I think the real achievement with that is that a Bond film got nominated in the first place. In fact, given the duplication of title in Best Film and Best British Film it is a hard category to predict. Why don’t they just have one category for all films and a special award (i.e. one title only) for Best British film.
In other categories:
Pan’s Labyrinth will win Best Foreign Film
Happy Feet will take Best Animated Film
Alexandre Desplat will win Best Score for The Queen
Emmanuel Lubezki will collect Best Cinematography for his incredible work on Children Of Men
Paul Andrew Williams will win Best Newcomer for London To Brighton.
I was speaking to a BAFTA board member on Friday and he told me that although it screens on BBC One at 9pm, the event actually gets under way at the Royal Opera House at 6.30pm.
I guess this is so they can edit it for TV reasons (like cutting out any poems from Russell Crowe) but if the Oscars are live it would make more sense for the BAFTAs to be as well.
It would certainly give it more excitement, especially in the light of the disappointing TV ratings in recent years. When I find out the winners I’ll post them here.
If you have any thoughts, then feel free to post them below.