What the BAFTAs Mean for the Oscars: Watch Out for ‘American Fiction’ and ‘Anatomy of a Fall’

Liem Soeng

What the BAFTAs Mean for the Oscars: Watch Out for ‘American Fiction’ and ‘Anatomy of a Fall’

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards (BAFTAs) are often quite predictive of the Oscars, as there’s some overlap between BAFTA voters and the Academy. And like last year, the BAFTA winners (along with next Saturday’s SAG Awards) could impact Oscar voting, which commences   February 22 and ends February 27, 2024 before the 96th Oscars telecast on Sunday, March 10 on ABC. (See all the winners here.)

While most Academy voters don’t watch the BAFTAs on Britbox, they see who wins, and winning momentum always matters. Last year, “All Quiet on the Western Front” won the Best Film BAFTA as well as Best Director for Edward Berger, who did not repeat at the Oscars, winning a total of four including Best International Feature Film and three craft awards. Eventual Best Picture Oscar winner “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took home just one BAFTA out of ten nominations, for editing, which it also won at the Oscars, for a total of seven. Finally, the chaotic comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was a homegrown American movie.

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More likely to repeat its seven BAFTA wins on Oscar night is “Oppenheimer,” including Best Film and Best Director (Nolan’s first BAFTA), Cinematography, Score, and Editing. Best Leading Actor winner Cillian Murphy, the first Irish actor to win the award, thanked Nolan and Emma Thomas for being the “most dynamic, decent, kindest producer-director partnership in Hollywood,” he said. This prize for what Murphy described as a “colossal, knotty, complex character” will shore up his Oscar chances against Paul Giamatti of the “The Holdovers,” who could win the SAG Award next week. Robert Downey, Jr. remains on track to score Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars as Oppenheimer’s nemesis, political operative Lewis Strauss. Again, MCU star Downey thanked Nolan for giving him the chance to “resurrect my dwindling credibility.”

For his part, Nolan thanked Universal chief Donna Langley or “letting us take on something dark and seeing the potential of that.” The historic biopic is on track to gross $1 billion at the global box office. And winning cinematographer Hoyt von Hoytema hailed the power and resilience of celluloid film.

Nominated for 11 BAFTAS, “Poor Things” took home five, including Best Leading Actress Emma Stone, who won at the Globes and Critics Choice Awards, beating out her Oscar-nominee rivals Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”) and Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”). Stone thanked director Yorgos Lanthimos for giving her Bella Baxter and screenwriter Tony McNamara for giving her the line, “I must go punch that baby,” she said. “It changed my life.” Stone has now won two BAFTAs; her first was for “La La Land” in 2017.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Emma Stone accepts the Leading Actress Award for 'Poor Things' during the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall on February 18, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)
Emma Stone accepts the Leading Actress Award for ‘Poor Things’ during the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards. (Photo by Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)Getty Images for BAFTA

Unlikely to repeat at the Oscars is the VFX BAFTA winner, “Poor Things,” which beat out Oscar nominees “The Creator,” “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3,” and “Mission: Impossible —Dead Reckoning, Part I.” It isn’t nominated.

It was a pleasure to see BAFTA nominees like actor Teo Yoo (“Past Lives”) and Paul Mescal (“All of Us Strangers”) smiling on the red carpet Sunday, even if they didn’t take home any awards. These days, the BAFTAs use juries to open up their nominations slots to a more diverse slate of talent. But given the chance, this year awards voters leaned white, except for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who took Supporting Actress for “The Holdovers” on her way to an inevitable Oscar win, surprise Adapted Screenplay winner, rookie film writer-director Cord Jefferson for “American Fiction,” who beat “Oppenheimer” and “The Zone of Interest,” and veteran animation master Hayao Miyazaki for “The Boy and the Heron,” his first BAFTA and the first for Japan, beating Oscar frontrunner “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Last year Guillermo del Toro repeated his “Pinocchio” BAFTA win at the Oscars.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Cord Jefferson accepts the Adapted Screenplay Award for 'American Fiction' during the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards, held at the Royal Festival Hall on February 18, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)
Cord Jefferson accepts the Adapted Screenplay Award for ‘American Fiction’ during the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards. (Photo by Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)Getty Images for BAFTA

Jonathan Glazer’s German language Holocaust film “The Zone of Interest” won three BAFTAs, for Outstanding British Film, Film Not in the English Language, and Sound; the latter two could repeat at the Oscars. And also likely to repeat at the Oscars is “Anatomy of a Fall” for Best Original Screenplay, which beat out “Barbie” in the BAFTA category. “Barbie” is vying for Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, and is expected to win, even if it came home empty-handed at the BAFTAs.

Last year’s Best Documentary winner “Navalny” repeated at the Oscars, and this year’s BAFTA winner “20 Days in Mariupol” could do the same. Said director Mstyslav Chernov: “Let’s keep fighting.”

VIA

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