10 Takeaways from the BAFTA Nominations as the Oscar Race Takes Shape

The BAFTA nominations are revealing in many ways. Mostly, while there’s some overlap between BAFTA and Oscar voters, it’s a sign of where the European block will go. Of course, U.K. voters favor the home team, so it’s no surprise that while Irish “Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy missed winning Best Actor at the CCAs on Sunday, he was included by BAFTA. Similarly, England’s Christopher Nolan and Emily Blunt were not ignored.

At this point, it’s time for the BAFTAs to abandon their well-intentioned jury system for making sure the nominations are inclusive. The nominations are weirdly out of kilter and inconsistent. Hopefully their voters are clear-eyed about how to reward the best of the movies on hand.

Here’s what we have learned.

Nothing is going to stop the “Oppenheimer” freight train. With 13 nominations, the movie written and directed by British Christopher Nolan is steady as they go toward a huge pile of Oscar nominations on January 23, including BAFTA Supporting Actor nominee (Robert Downey, Jr.). (Final Oscar predictions to come soon.)

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OPPENHEIMER, Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, 2023. © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
The marquee of The Egyptian Theatre on Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah2018 Sundance Film Festival - Egyptian Theatre, Park City, USA - 22 Jan 2018

Mark Ruffalo is vulnerable. Based in the U.K., “Poor Things” landed 11 nominations, including Picture, Adapted Screenplay (Australian Tony McNamara) and Actress (Emma Stone). But significantly missing were Director Yorgos Lanthimos and Supporting Actor Ruffalo, who also missed SAG.

Where was Andrew Scott? “All of Us Strangers” was expected to fare well at the BAFTAs and indeed landed six nominations, including Best Film, Director and Adapted Screenplay (Andrew Haigh), Supporting Actress (Claire Foy) and Supporting Actor (Paul Mescal). But oddly missing was Scott, who gives the performance of his career in the movie. It was not a huge surprise that the art film didn’t register at SAG, but this is not a good sign for Scott’s inclusion in Best Actor on Oscars nominations morning.

“Napoleon” will land some craft Oscar mentions. Thanks to its British pedigree, Ridley Scott‘s bio-epic, which was better reviewed by the U.K. press than anywhere else in the world, landed four BAFTA nods, including Best British Film.

“Anatomy of a Fall” has strong international support. The French courtroom drama grabbed seven nominations including Best Film, Director and Screenwriter (Justine Triet), and Best Actress (Sandra Hüller).

THE ZONE OF INTEREST, Sandra Huller, 2023. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
THE ZONE OF INTEREST, Sandra Huller, 2023. © A24 / Courtesy Everett CollectionCourtesy Everett Collection

Don’t count out Sandra Hüller. The German actress also has a Supporting Actress slot for first-time Director nominee Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” which earned nine noms including Best Film, showing strength in the crafts.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” is losing steam. Also with nine slots, on the American side of the equation, was critics’ fave “Killers of the Flower Moon,” including Best Film and Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro). But it missed Director (Martin Scorsese), Adapted Screenplay (Scorsese and Eric Roth), Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio, who also missed SAG) and Lily Gladstone, who lost valuable momentum at the CCAs when Stone took home Best Actress. DGA nominee Scorsese and SAG nominee Gladstone should turn up Oscar nods. But don’t be too sure about DiCaprio, who faced some criticism for changing his role midstream, forcing script changes that made Paramount drop out of financing the film. Apple TV+ took on the $200 million budget. So far, the three-and-half hour movie has grossed $156 million at the global box office.

“The Holdovers” has support everywhere. The Christmas comedy also landed seven nods, including Best Film, Director (DGA nominee Alexander Payne) and Actor (Globe and CCA winner Paul Giamatti), Supporting Actor (CCA winner Dominic Sessa) and Supporting Actress (Globe and CCA winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

Bradley Cooper could be a multiple threat. “Maestro” also scored seven nominations, landing three for multi-tasker Cooper, for Best Director, Original Screenplay (Cooper and Josh Singer) and Actor, as well as UK native Carey Mulligan for Best Actress.

“Barbie” isn’t feeling the international love. The BAFTAs gave the film five nominations including Original Screenplay (Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach), Best Actress (Australian Margot Robbie) and Supporting Actor (Canadian Ryan Gosling) but not Best Film or Best Director (Gerwig). The blockbuster comedy should do much better with Oscar voters.

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