2020 Precursor Predictions: British Academy Awards

With the annual BAFTA Awards change our thoughts on certain categories? Who knows for sure. We shall see.


Best Film

The Father (RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
The Mauritanian
Nomadland (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Promising Young Woman (RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Wesley Lovell: Of the five films nominated for Best film, three are distinctly American affairs that have universal themes while another has universal themes with an American bent, and the final film is a British film with British actors. That might give The Father an edge, but we’re looking at potential foreshadowing of the Oscars and if Nomadland wants to win, and I think it can, this would make the film’s chances a slam dunk. Chloé Zhao’s film is the only one of the five cited for Best Director, so it’s entirely possible that any chance of an upset is remote, but The Father checks to many BAFTA boxes to be ignored as a close competitor.
Peter J. Patrick: Like most other award givers this year, BAFTA will likely go with Nomadland. If there is an upset, it might be a backlash vote for Promising Young Woman in light of Carey Mulligan’s shocking exclusion from the Best Actress race.
Tripp Burton: The quintessentially American Nomadland might not play great to BAFTA, but it is such a strong frontrunner across the board that I won’t doubt it here.
Thomas LaTourette: Even though it is such an American film, I think Nomadland will prevail here.

Best Animated Film

Soul (Wesley, Peter, Thomas, RU:Tripp)
Wolfwalkers (Tripp, RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: With only three films nominated here, votes that might have been split five ways are split three, which might give Wolfwalkers an opportunity to capitalize not just on its close proximity to Britain (it’s an Irish production), but to take advantage of a split in attention between the two Pixar films. That said, Onward has shown absolutely no indication that it’s stealing votes from Soul, the significantly better reviewed film and I would be completely shocked if Soul didn’t still win this trophy.
Peter J. Patrick: This is a no-brainer. It will either be Pixar’s Soul or the Irish-English Wolfwalkers. My guess is it will be Soul.
Tripp Burton: BAFTA will occasionally go for the European entry over a Pixar entry, and they could do that this year.
Thomas LaTourette: Soul should continue its dominance here, even over the Irish Wolfwalkers.

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Sarah Gavron – Rocks (RU:Tripp)
Shannon Murphy – Babyteeth
Thomas Vinterberg – Another Round (RU:Thomas)
Jasmila Žbanić – Quo Vadis, Aida?
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Only one of these directors is up for the top award of the event, though three of them are Oscar nominees. Regardless, Zhao remains the clear frontrunner in this category with Lee Isaac Chung as her strongest competition, though longtime filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg might be able to pull off an upset win should the other pair split the majority of votes.
Peter J. Patrick: Chloé Zhao will continue her winning streak through the BAFTAs on her way to the Oscars. Lee Isaac Chung will be a distant no. 2 in the race.
Tripp Burton: Chloé Zhao can’t be beat at this point.
Thomas LaTourette: Chloé Zhao should easily win here too.

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal (RU:Peter)
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger
Anthony Hopkins – The Father (RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round
Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian

Wesley Lovell: Three Oscar nominees battle it out here for the win and if there’s anywhere that sympathy won’t be as impactful, it’s at the BAFTAs. That said, Chadwick Boseman easily retains his lead, but instead of risking loss to Riz Ahmed, British voters are more likely to give their support to Anthony Hopkins in one of his most celebrated late-career performances.
Peter J. Patrick: Chadwick Boseman will likely be awarded the prize with British actors Ahmed and Hopkins fighting it out for second place as they have most other races this year.
Tripp Burton: I doubt the BAFTA voters will pass up a final opportunity to honor Boseman, but if Hopkins or Ahmed are going to pick up a win, this is the place to do it.
Thomas LaTourette: he British Hopkins might beat the late American Boseman, but that seems doubtful as Boseman is winning almost every award.

Best Actress

Bukky Bakray – Rocks (Tripp)
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman (Thomas)
Frances McDormand – Nomadland (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Wunmi Mosaku – His House
Alfre Woodard – Clemency (Wesley, Peter)

Wesley Lovell: With Carey Mulligan out of the way, this ends up being a three-way race between multiple winner Frances McDormand, newcomer Vanessa Kirby, and underrewarded veteran Alfre Woodard. Woodard’s performance was well liked and did well with British critics, but was seemingly ignored by American voters. This might bolster her chance at winning in an Oscar-meager field where hometown thespian Mulligan is out of the way.
Peter J. Patrick: A funny thing happened on the way to the BAFTAs. Former winner Carey Mulligan wasn’t nominated, throwing this one wide open. I predict another surprise when the winner turns out to be Alfre Wodoard for a film that is Oscar ineligible having premiered in the U.S. in time for the 2019 Oscars.
Tripp Burton: This is a bonkers category with a lot of leading contenders left off, and I think it might surprise us again with a reward for BAFTA favorite Rocks.
Thomas LaTourette: With only two of the Oscar nominees in this list, it is harder to gauge how it might play out. Kirby might win over the very American McDormand.

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Barry Keoghan – Calm With Horses
Alan Kim – Minari (RU:Tripp)
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night In Miami (RU:Wesley)
Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal (RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Three Oscar nominees on the list and all three are ahead of the other contenders in this race. That said, Daniel Kaluuya’s fiery performance has virtually swept the late-breaking awards, so him losing here might be a bit shocking, especially since Kaluuya is a native and Odom Jr. and Raci are not. And sometimes, being British or Welsh or Scottish or Irish makes all the difference.
Peter J. Patrick: Daniel Kaluuya should continue his winning streak for Judas and the Black Messiah, but Paul Raci could be singled out for his late-career breakthrough in Sound of Metal.
Tripp Burton: There is no stopping Daniel Kaluuya this season, and he has the hometown advantage here.
Thomas LaTourette: Kaluuya seems to have the edge here.

Best Supporting Actress

Niamh Algar – Calm With Horses
Kosar Ali – Rocks
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah (RU:Wesley)
Ashley Madekwe – County Lines
Yuh-jung Youn – Minari (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: The two primary frontrunners for the Oscar are nominated here, though the third is not. Glenn Close cannot build an Oscar campaign off a win here since she’s not eligible, which makes Yuh-jung Youn the frontrunner with Maria Bakalova seemingly in competition, though non-Oscar nominee Dominique Fishback might be able to ride a wave of support for Judas and the Black Messiah to a shock win.
Peter J. Patrick: The remarkable Korean actress Yuh-jung Youn should rack up another one here, but Borat’s daughter, Maria Bakalova, could be an upset winner here.
Tripp Burton: Minari favorite Youn Yuh-jung won SAG last weekend and seems like the favorite of the season. A BAFTA win is probably coming next.
Thomas LaTourette: I am not as certain how BAFTA voters will go, but since I think Youn will win the Oscar, I will go with her to win here too.

Best Original Screenplay

Another Round
Promising Young Woman (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Emerald Fennell’s biggest competition here is from Aaron Sorkin and with the hometown advantage, Fennell, whose screenplay has dominated the competition outside of the Golden Globes, should be able to pull of a win on her final push towards Oscar recognition. That Best Film nomination would be a boon if Trial of the Chicago 7 weren’t also nominated there.
Peter J. Patrick: Promising Young Woman should prevail here with The Trial of the Chicago 7 coming in second.
Tripp Burton: This has been Emerald Fennell vs. Aaron Sorkin all season, and Fennell has homefield advantage for this one. BAFTA loves its Brits, even for a quintessentially American film.
Thomas LaTourette: Either could win, though I will guess that the more British-produced film might carry the day.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Dig
The Father (Peter, Tripp, Thomas, RU:Wesley)
The Mauritanian
Nomadland (Wesley, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
The White Tiger (RU:Peter)

Wesley Lovell: The competition in Adapted Screenplay is perhaps a little more narrow as Nomadland and The Father are running neck-and-neck for the win. Oscar nominee The White Tiger has an outside chance at a win if the other two films split enough votes, but this will be the final test for whether the less-screenplay-driven Nomadland can win out over the stage adaptation The Father.
Peter J. Patrick: This is where the British film The Father has its best chance of winning, with The White Tiger having an outside chance at a surprise win.
Tripp Burton: I keep saying Nomadland will lose and it never does, but this feels like a place where The Father could be the more adored piece of writing.
Thomas LaTourette: Because Nomadland is such an American film, I will guess that The Father might eke out a win, though would not be surprised if Nomadland prevails here too.

Best Original Score

Mank (RU:Tripp)
Minari (Peter, RU:Wesley)
News of the World (RU:Thomas)
Promising Young Woman
Soul (Wesley, Tripp, Thomas, RU:Peter)

Wesley Lovell: Promising Young Woman was a surprise nominee, so I doubt it has a chance. Meanwhile, Soul remains the solid frontrunner after an impressive precursor run. The other three could all lay claim to the potential upset crown, but it’s impossible to know for certain which is leading, though Minari seems like it has the best potential for that.
Peter J. Patrick: I’m going to say Minari, but Soul has a strong shot as well.
Tripp Burton: This seems like a battle between Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and themselves.
Thomas LaTourette: Soul has been dominating the precursors and that should continue here.

Best Editing

The Father (Peter, RU:Wesley)
Nomadland (RU:Peter)
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal (Wesley, Tripp, Thomas)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: In a rare situation, BAFTA and Oscar match exactly in this category. A 5-for-5 match is exceedingly rare, which suggests that the race here might well tell us how the Oscars ultimate go. That’s why I’m positioning Sound of Metal for the win. I tentatively put The Father in second because of its British advantage, but Trial of the Chicago 7 seems like the more likely upset winner at the Oscars.
Peter J. Patrick: Best British film or Best Film overall? I’ll go with the British entry, The Father, on this one.
Tripp Burton: This is a wide open category this year, but I think the rhythms of Sound of Metal might sneak out some wins.
Thomas LaTourette: This is probably between Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. I will guess Metal, but could see it going either way.

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah (Peter)
Mank (Tripp, RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)
The Mauritanian
News of the World
Nomadland (Wesley, Thomas, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: Nomadland has almost no competition here as it’s dominated the precursor standings all season in this category, the film’s most consistent award recognition. Mank‘s black-and-white cinematography could pose a threat, but I doubt anything else is likely to win.
Peter J. Patrick: A tough call, but let’s give a second prize to Judas and the Black Messiah with Nomadland a strong candidate as well.
Tripp Burton: This is a battle between Mank and Nomadland, and I think BAFTA might lean towards the black-and-white epic.
Thomas LaTourette: Nomadland keeps winning the most awards for cinematography, so it will probably do so here.

Best Production Design

The Dig
The Father (RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)
Mank (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
News of the World (RU:Wesley)
Rebecca (RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: The discrepancy between the Oscars and the BAFTA nominations in this category likely helps to pit The Father and News of the World against Mank, which seems like the most likely winner based on precedent.
Peter J. Patrick: This seems to me to be Mank‘s best shot at a win with The Father right behind.
Tripp Burton: Mank is one of the strongest contenders all season, but The Father might sneak in here.
Thomas LaTourette: This seems like a place that Mank should win, unless it goes to the more British Rebecca.

Best Costume Design

The Dig
Emma. (Peter, Tripp, Thomas, RU:Wesley)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)
Mank (RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Another batch of nominees that are largely at odds with the Oscar selections, but this time the frontrunner is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Emma. a likely runner-up and potential spoiler.
Peter J. Patrick: I don’t know how strong Emma‘s chances are with Oscar, but the British drama should have an easy time at the BAFTAs with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom a possible usurper.
Tripp Burton: The quintessentially British Emma. should be a clear winner here.
Thomas LaTourette: I think it will be between Mank and Emma, and will give Emma the edge because it is British.

Best Makeup & Hair

The Dig
Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Pinocchio (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Matching 4-for-5, this race might give us a hint into the direction the Oscars might go. All season, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has been leading, but Pinocchio is coming up fast and based on the stills from the film, since it’s not easily accessible yet to American audiences, I suspect that it could make a surprise winner, the first foreign language winner in this category since La Vie en Rose over a decade ago.
Peter J. Patrick: The extraordinary makeup in Pinocchio should make it an easy winner with Ma Rainey poised to catch the prize if it doesn’t.
Tripp Burton: Ma Rainey and Hillbilly Elegy seem like the strongest contenders this season, but the BAFTAs might lean towards the European dark horse Pinocchio.
Thomas LaTourette: Because it was a European film, I will give the edge to Pinocchio.

Best Sound

Greyhound (RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
News of the World
Soul (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Sound of Metal (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: I don’t really think there’s an alternate universe in which Sound of Metal doesn’t win this award. The film is all about sound and being a Best Picture nominee (at least at the Oscars) certainly gives the film a bit of gravitas. I put Soul as the biggest potential spoiler because films with music as a core component often have a better chance in this category that others.
Peter J. Patrick: I really don’t see how anything other than Sound of Metal could win this one.
Tripp Burton: No movie’s sound design was more key this year than Sound of Metal, and it should win here easily.
Thomas LaTourette: Sound of Metal should win this one.

Best Special Visual Effects

The Midnight Sky (Wesley, Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Mulan (Peter)
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet (Thomas, RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: Another race where we’ll see whether the guild winner can eke out a victory at the Oscars or if the perceived frontrunner can hold on. This category has been both utterly predictable and completely unpredictable depending on the given nominees each year. This happens to be one of the unpredictable years, which means that Tenet, which everyone thought would run away with the award, might go down to something more CGI-heavy like VES winner The Midnight Sky.
Peter J. Patrick: I’m guessing Mulan over Tenet.
Tripp Burton: Tenet keeps coming up a little short all season, and that could continue here with VES winner The Midnight Sky picking up a key win.
Thomas LaTourette: This is a slightly different group than the Oscar nominees, though I still think Tenet might win.

Best Film Not in the English Language

Another Round (Tripp, Thomas, RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Dear Comrades!
Les Misérables
Minari (Wesley, Peter, RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Wesley Lovell: Minari wasn’t nominated in Best Film, but is an incredibly popular film. Add to that the fact that its director, Lee Isaac Chung, is on the Best Director slate and you have a lot of compelling factors pointing to its victory. Then again, Another Round also has a director citation, which mitigates that one factor in Minari‘s favor, but I’ve seen little evidence that Another Round has the level of mass popularity that Minari does, which is why I think Chung’s film will be Vinterberg’s.
Peter J. Patrick: I don’t see how this could be anything other than Minari or Another Round. Either is possible, but I’ll go with Minari.
Tripp Burton: This is between Another Round and Minari, and it;s a coin flip. My guess is that they go with the European entry over the American one.
Thomas LaTourette: Another Round has been winning the awards everywhere else, so I expect it will here too. Minari may well win even though a lot of it was in English.

Best Documentary

Collective (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, RU:Thomas)
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
The Dissident (RU:Peter)
My Octopus Teacher (Thomas, RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
The Social Dilemma

Wesley Lovell: Two Oscar nominees are on this list and I suspect they are also the frontrunners. While Oscar voters are more likely to embrace My Octopus Teacher, I think BAFTA voters might favor a film like Collective. How this race plays out might ultimately influence the Oscars.
Peter J. Patrick: I’m going with Collective, but The Dissident is also possible.
Tripp Burton: My Octopus Teacher keeps sneaking out wins all season, but I think the Eurpoean favorite Collective will prevail here.
Thomas LaTourette: Of the ones I have seen, I liked My Octopus Teacher the best and will root for it to win.

Best Casting

Calm With Horses
Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari (Peter, RU:Wesley)
Promising Young Woman (Wesley, Thomas, RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)
Rocks (Tripp, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: This category has three potential frontrunners with Promising Young Woman as the only Best Film nominee on the list having the edge. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Minari or Judas win either.
Peter J. Patrick: I’d give it to Minari, as BAFTA might, but they’re just as apt to give it to Promising Young Woman.
Tripp Burton: I’m not sure how this is going to play out, but I think one of the British entries would win out.
Thomas LaTourette: I have no idea how they will go on this award only in its second year.

Best British Film

Calm With Horses
The Dig
The Father (Peter, RU:Wesley, RU:Thomas)
His House
The Mauritanian (RU:Peter, RU:Tripp)
Mogul Mowgli
Promising Young Woman (Wesley, Tripp, Thomas)
Saint Maud

Wesley Lovell: We will find out whether Promising Young Woman or The Father is the more popular film, but I give the edge to Promising, not because other film has any built-in advantages, but making a statement might be more in line with BAFTA’s desires.
Peter J. Patrick: They could go with the British made-in-America Promising Young Woman, but I think they’re more likely to go with the very British The Father or the more international The Mauritanian, but I’m not at all that sure.
Tripp Burton: There are a few likely contenders here, but I will put my money on Promising Young Woman, one of the surprise hits of the season.
Thomas LaTourette: My top three here, The Father, The Mauritanian, and Promising Young Woman all feel like they could have been American films, without too much of an overall British flavor to them. My favorite of the bunch was Promising Young Woman, so I’ll go with it to win.

Best British Short Animation

The Fire Next Time (Thomas, RU:Tripp)
The Owl and the Pussycat (Wesley, Peter, Tripp)
The Song of A Lost Boy (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter, RU:Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: I have seen none of these, so this is a guess.
Peter J. Patrick: Pure guesswork here.
Tripp Burton: This is just a guess. I know nothing about these.
Thomas LaTourette: This is a total guess.

Best British Short Film

Eyelash (RU:Tripp)
Lizard (RU:Thomas)
Lucky Break (Peter, RU:Wesley)
Miss Curvy (Thomas, RU:Peter)
The Present (Wesley, Tripp)

Wesley Lovell: I haven’t seen any of these yet, but will be checking out Oscar nominee The Present soon. I suspect, though, that it is probably the leader, but historically the Oscars aren’t a very good barometer here.
Peter J. Patrick: More guesswork.
Tripp Burton: I’m guessing that the Oscar nominee will prevail here.
Thomas LaTourette: Miss Curvy has the best name, so I will choose it.

Outstanding British Debut

His House (RU:Wesley, RU:Tripp)
Moffie (RU:Thomas)
Rocks (Tripp, RU:Peter)
Saint Maud (Wesley, Peter, Thomas)

Wesley Lovell: Of these films, Saint Maud and Rocks are better recognized in terms of nominations, though His House has the feel of a potential winner. I’m leaning towards Saint Maud, but horror films always face uphill battles, so it could be either of the other two as well.
Peter J. Patrick: Once again, pure guesswork.
Tripp Burton: Rocks was a surprise across the board at nominations, and should win this prize pretty easily.
Thomas LaTourette: Saint Maud and Moffie are the only two I have heard of, and Saint Maud had the better reviews and the nomination for best overall British film, so I’ll go with it.

Rising Star Award

Bukky Bakray (RU:Tripp, RU:Thomas)
Kingsley Ben-Adir (Wesley, Peter, Tripp, Thomas)
Morfydd Clark (RU:Wesley, RU:Peter)
Ṣọpẹ́ Dirisu
Conrad Khan

Wesley Lovell: The only widely known name on this list is Kingsley Ben-Adir with Morfydd Clark a possible exception. Normally, if any of the nominees had been in a wildly popular film, the public voting round of this award would likely have resulted in their win, but that’s not really the case, so we’re left to guessing and these two names have a bit more recognition globally. That said, Bukky Bakray is nominated in Best Actress, so I wouldn’t count her out either.
Peter J. Patrick: My personal pick here is Kingsley Ben-Adir, but Morfydd Clark could easily win this as well.
Tripp Burton: This category can be a crapshoot, and will probably be this year too.
Thomas LaTourette: I never understand who they are going to give this to, so I’ll go with the one name I know, though that usually hasn’t helped in the past.

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