LONDON — The unpredictability of this year’s awards season continued on Thursday as the nominees were announced for this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars.
Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune” was nominated for best picture at the awards, commonly known as the BAFTAs, as well as “Don’t Look Up”, the satire on climate change starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jane Campion’s suspenseful western. “The Power of the Dog.”
Those films will compete against Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white film based on his childhood in Northern Ireland, “Belfast,” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1970s coming-of-age romance “Licorice Pizza.”
But of the directors of those films, only Campion and Anderson were also nominated for the award for best director. In that category, they will compete against several directors less known in the United States: Aleem Khan, the director of the British film “After Love”; French director Julia Ducournau for her Cannes-winning horror film “Titane”; Ryusuke Hamaguchi, the Japanese director of “Drive My Car”; and Audrey Diwan, the French director of the abortion drama ‘Happening’, which unexpectedly won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year.
The BAFTA nominations, announced in a YouTube broadcast, are often seen as a whistleblower for the Oscars, due to an overlap between the constituencies for both awards.
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“Dune” earned 11 BAFTA nominations, most of them overall, though many in technical categories such as costume and production design. “The Power of the Dog” received eight nominations, the second highest, with three in the acting categories.
This year’s list also includes some acting nominees who may not be on the Oscars radar. Best Actor nominees include Stephen Graham for ‘Boiling Point’, a British film that takes place behind the scenes in a restaurant, and Adeel Akhtar for British romance ‘Ali & Ava’, as well as big names such as Will Smith (“King Richard”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”) and Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”).
Best Actress nominees include British actress Joanna Scanlan for her role in “After Love,” about a white Muslim convert who reveals her husband’s secret past, as well as Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”), Alana Haim (” Licorice Pizza”), Renate Reinsve (“The worst person in the world”) and Tessa Thompson (“Passing”).
Amanda Berry, the chief executive of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which presents the awards, said in an interview that the diversity of nominees this year was due in part to changes introduced in 2020 to encourage voters to more to watch among the nominated films. Before voting, voters are now required to watch a random selection of 15 films through an online portal to ensure they don’t just focus on the most hyped films, Berry explains.
How much overlap there is between the BAFTAs and Oscars nominees will soon become clear. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science will announce this year’s Oscar nominees on Tuesday.
The winners of the BAFTAs will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall on March 13, and Berry said she expected the event to return to its usual pre-pandemic form. Last year, nominees attended via video link, but Berry said she expected the awards to be presented in person in March and the red carpet glamor to be back.