By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 9, 2013 at 12:29PM
The BAFTAs are yet another awards group, about the same size as the Academy, that represents a portion of about 300 voting Brits who can have an impact on the Oscar race. The Brits explain why a film like "Atonement," for example, could do better than expected. Thus BAFTA giving American productions "Lincoln" ten nominations, "Life of Pi" nine, "Argo" seven, and "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Django Unchained" five each is significant. It was to be expected that Brit films "Les Misérables" (nine), "Skyfall (eight) and "Anna Karenina" (six) would do well.
BAFTA voters also gave critics' faves "The Master" and "Amour" four nominations, while "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" landed three technical nods and "Silver Linings Playbook" nabbed acting noms for Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper plus adapted screenplay. You'd think that the Brits would have favored their own "Hitchcock," which only scored two nominations: Helen Mirren and Make Up & Hair. "The Sessions" landed a supporting actress nod for Helen Hunt; John Hawkes was overlooked in the more competitive Best Actor race. Ben Affleck had a very good day, nominated as both Best Director and Best Actor; Denzel Washington was overlooked for "Flight." I suspect the Oscars will favor Washington and Hawkes over Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix. "Moonrise Kingdom" scored just one nomination for Original Screenplay, while "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was nominated for Adapted Screenplay.
The Oscars should reward "Lincoln" with the same ten categories plus one: Steven Spielberg for director. The BAFTA top five directors omitted both Spielberg and "Les Mis" director Tom Hooper--who landed a DGA nod but is vying for the Oscar director fifth slot with David O. Russell-- in favor of Ang Lee, Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Haneke. Clearly, BAFTA voters did not respond to the very American comedy "Silver Linings Playbook" as well as their American counterparts.
I agree with Time Magazine that the Brit voters in the Academy could boost "Skyfall" to a surprise best picture nomination along with BAFTA nominees Judi Dench and Javier Bardem as Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor. BAFTA also nominated the film for Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Outstanding British Film.
And I have always thought that "Anna Karenina" would be recognized by the Oscars in such BAFTA categories as Original Music, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design and Make Up & Hair.
Quentin Tarantino's director nomination--over Spielberg or Hooper-- is a surprise and may not be repeated by the Oscars, as he did not land a DGA nomination. I suspect, however, that he will wind up a leading contender for Original Screenplay for "Django Unchained," along with Haneke and Paul Thomas Anderson *("The Master"). The Brits went for "Django" Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz, which could be a bellwether for the Oscars, although both Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are also in the running; all three could knock each other out.
I expect the Oscars to also nominate "Amour" actress Emmanuelle Riva, as well as her BAFTA Best Actress rivals Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, and Marion Cotillard. Mirren? Not so sure. I suspect the Oscars will go with Naomi Watts for "The Impossible," which was shut out by the BAFTAs.
The EE British Academy Film Awards will be hosted by Stephen Fry and broadcast on BBC One on Sunday 10 February at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
The full list of nominations is below: