With awards season now in full swing, here are our writer Helen Tope’s hopes and predictions for the 2016 BAFTA Awards. The winners will be announced on Sunday 14 February 2016. Watch the ceremony on BBC One that evening.
The Big Short / Bridge of Spies / Carol / The Revenant / Spotlight
It’s definitely a year for films not shy of tackling big themes, but for pure heart-thumping, exhilarating drama, it has to be The Revenant. A beautifully-crafted journey through Frontier America, The Revenant is a genuine cinematic achievement, and has what it takes to scoop the major prizes.
Outstanding British Film
45 Years / Amy / Brooklyn / The Danish Girl / Ex Machina / The Lobster
Just the roll-call of this category shows what a great year it’s been for creative British cinema. For my money, this comes down to a two-horse race between The Danish Girl and Brooklyn. Showcasing British talent both in front of and behind the camera, the gorgeously-evoked nostalgia of Brooklyn makes it the perfect choice for Outstanding British Film.
Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) / Matt Damon (The Martian) / Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) / Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) / Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
All the signs so far indicate that this could (finally) be Leo’s year. Having won the Golden Globe, Leo must now be feeling fairly confident of a clean sweep. But this award is on Redmayne’s home turf, and I think BAFTA may find the drama of a home win hard to resist.
Cate Blanchett (Carol) / Brie Larson (Room) / Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) / Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van) / Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
If you’d asked me a month ago, I’d have said this award was Blanchett’s for the taking. However, with Brie Larson’s stunning performance in Room gaining serious traction, this category is becoming increasingly hard to predict. Will BAFTA go with the established name, or the newer talent?
Christian Bale (The Big Short) / Benicio Del Toro (Sicario) / Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) / Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) / Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
I think this award may be the safest bet of the night. British theatre luminary Mark Rylance turning in a flawless performance has to be worth a shiny BAFTA.
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) / Rooney Mara (Carol) / Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) / Julie Walters (Brooklyn) / Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Like Best Actress, this category gets a little complicated. While I firmly believe Rooney Mara will scoop the Oscar for her performance in Carol, I think BAFTA could go with a left field choice this year. Kate Winslet’s performance in Steve Jobs may be good enough to take the trophy.
Todd Haynes (Carol) / Alejandro G Inarritu (The Revenant) / Adam McKay (The Big Short) / Ridley Scott (The Martian) / Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)
Haynes, Scott, Spielberg and Irranitu: this year’s nominations for Best Director feature a clutch of modern masters. This is truly a heavyweight category, but I think Irranitu’s deftly-handled tale of Man v Wilderness will be hard to beat.
The Big Short / Brooklyn / Carol / Room / Steve Jobs
If I could hand out one award this year, it would have to be for Phyllis Nagy’s sublime adaptation of Carol. An eminently-skilled writer who understands the virtue of silence, Nagy has this one in the bag.
Bridge of Spies / Ex Machina / The Hateful Eight / Inside Out / Spotlight
As much as I have a soft spot for Tarantino’s exuberance in The Hateful Eight, originality runs through the very core of Pixar’s Inside Out. A bold, colourful film, it wasn’t afraid to employ big ideas and really explore them. With an ending that didn’t patronise its audience, the BAFTA has got to go to Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear.
Amy / Cartel Land / He Named me Malala / Listen to Me Marion / Sherpa
I’ve always thought documentary is at its most compelling when it has something to teach us. Amy charts the downfall of singer Amy Winehouse with horrifying clarity. This is a square-on look at vulnerability, addiction and the price of fame. I don’t know if Amy will take the BAFTA – but it really should.
Bridge of Spies / Carol / Mad Max: Fury Road / The Revenant / Sicario
As much as I adored the lush, vibrant world of Carol, the BAFTA belongs to The Revenant. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki here does for snow what Nicolas Roeg did for the blistering Australian sun in Walkabout. Lubezki’s work leaves you breathless with admiration. Along with Mark Rylance, this is the easiest pick of the night.
Rising Star Award
John Boyega / Taron Egerton / Dakota Johnson / Brie Larson / Bel Powley
The Rising Star’s pedigree in selecting new talent is nothing short of impeccable. Previous winners have included James McAvoy, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy. My money this year is on Brie Larson. After years of minor television and film roles, Larson now finds herself already a multi-award winner for her performance in Room. She may well cause an upset at the Oscars, and I think Brie’s win in this category is pretty much assured.