BAFTA: Oppenheimer continues to dominate, while Poor Things catches up | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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BAFTA: Oppenheimer continues to dominate the award season, while Poor Things catches up

Feb 19, 2024 04:59 PM IST

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer won top awards at the BAFTAs, while wins for Poor Things and American Fiction foreshadow strong turns ahead of Oscars.

The British Academy has chosen its winners for this year, and as always, there are always a few surprises that have shifted gears ahead of the Oscar voting. Still, the BAFTAs this year were a mix of predictable winners and safe acceptance speeches, and if anything is clear- it is that the dark horse of this awards season is Jonathan Glazer's chilling drama The Zone of Interest. A detailed BAFTA report card selects the noteworthy turns. (Also read: BAFTAs full list of winners: Oppenheimer is Best Film, Cillian Murphy Best Actor)

Oppenheimer and Poor Things won multiple BAFTAs this year.
Oppenheimer and Poor Things won multiple BAFTAs this year.

Oppenheimer retains stronghold with multiple wins

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has emerged as the undisputed lead at the awards season. The biopic drama won seven awards, including the biggest one for the evening- Best Picture, along with Best Director for Christopher Nolan, Best Leading Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr., Best Cinematography for Hoyte von Hoytema, Best Editing for Jennifer Lane, and Best Original Score for Ludwig Göransson.

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Cillian Murphy's BAFTA win places him at a slight upper hand than fellow nominee Paul Giamatti for his work in Alexander Payne's The Holdovers. Both Cillian and Paul won in the Drama and Comedy categories at the Golden Globes, while Paul triumphed at the Critics Choice. With Oppenheimer's big sweep at the BAFTAs, Cillian now needs a SAG win to get him to the gold statuette without any competition.

Poor Things gains momentum

Yorgos Lanthimos's Poor Things had a boost at the BAFTAs, winning five awards, including one of the most key wins- Best Lead Actress for Emma Stone. This was her second win in the category, having won in 2017 for her role in La La Land. The other nominees were Fantasia Barrino in The Color Purple, Sandra Hüller in Anatomy of a Fall, Vivian Oparah in Rye Lane, Carey Mulligan in Maestro and Margot Robbie in Barbie. Many expected a surprise win for either Sandra or Carey since Lily Gladstone was snubbed. So, Emma's triumph in the category, weeks after her Critics Choice award win over Lily, keeps her in the lead at the Oscars next month.

Meanwhile, Poor Things had a strong hold on the technical categories, winning Best Costume Design for Holly Waddington, Make Up & Hair for Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier and Josh Weston, Best Production Design for James Price, Shona Heath and Zsuzsa Mihalek; and one for Best Special Visual Effects. This meant a dry day for Greta Gerwig's Barbie, which went home empty handed after it lost in the ones where it could have possibly snagged in a win- particularly for Production Design and Costume Design.

The Zone of Interest and American Fiction

Every year, there are one or two unexpected curve balls in key categories at the BAFTA awards that throw light on how it will play out at the Oscars. Remember the support for All Quiet on the Western Front last year over Everything Everywhere All At Once? The war drama went on to win four Oscars a few weeks later. The same surge had risen for CODA, which won Best Adapted Screenplay over The Power of the Dog. The result at the Oscars? CODA won Best Picture over The Power of the Dog including the writing award.

This year, the winds are in favour for Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction, which won the Best Adapted Screenplay award over Oppenheimer. The Brits did not even longlist the satire in the Best Film category. Moreover, Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown were shut out from the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor races. The Academy preferred American Fiction in all of these three categories, so a BAFTA win now bodes very well for the film.

On the other hand, it was Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest, which certainly had interested the BAFTAs voting body enough to award the Auschwitz Drama for Outstanding British Film, Film not in the English Language (presented by Deepika Padukone), and Best Sound for Johnnie Burn and Tarn Willers. If the Academy is paying attention, The Zone of Interest might win more than one Oscar, which is expected to arrive in the non-English language film category.

So far, the BAFTAs have performed quite satisfactorily in its choices. The Screen Actors Guild Awards are next, and the awards race will receive its last dose of favourites before the Oscar voting begins in full swing.

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