Baftas and Oscars: A Long Tradition of Trend Upsets

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There is no end to the speculation of who will win either a BAFTA or an Oscar. While Bafta winners are a strong indicator of Oscar winners, this hasn’t always been the case.

With both lists of nominees now released, the guessing game of who will be taking home little gold men and bronze masks has begun. The nominations have not been without controversy however, this year in particular about the lack of diversity.  As a member of BAFTA, I received a survey about diversity last week. Although the timing coincides with current conversations around diversity, the survey had been previously announced as in the works by our Chairman at last year’s AGM.  BAFTA has always monitored diversity in its committees, juries and new member applications, but this is the first time they have sent out a survey to the whole membership. And as you’ll see from the nomination comparison below, BAFTA did choose differently in certain of these areas, in particular with Idris Elba and Benicio Del Toro in the supporting category for their performances in “Beasts of No Nation” and “Sicario” respectively.

Over the last few years, the BAFTA awards have increased in status and prominence during awards season.  Back in 2001, BAFTA moved their awards ceremony to be before the Oscars and then in 2012, made a major voting change which has been favourably received both within and outside of the industry.  The American Academy had specific branches choose the nominees in their related categories, then the entire body vote for the winner. Bafta did the reverse until 2012: the entire body chose the nominees, and specific branches chose the winner. Since this voting change for Bafta, nominations and awards have lined up much more closely with the American Academy.

Over the 69 years of shared history between the two academies, Bafta has made some bold choices, departing from its American counterpart’s less than time tested choices. Naturally, there are the times when Bafta has chosen Queen and Country over candidates from across the pond, but we’ll be looking at the times when Bafta made the strictly better choice, at least in my opinion, nationality aside.  

But first a side-by-side comparison of the nominees for both Bafta and Oscars.  


      Baftas                                                                Oscars

Best Film Best Picture
The Big Short The Big Short
Bridge of Spies Bridge Of Spies
The Revenant Brooklyn
Carol Mad Max: Fury Road
Spotlight The Martian
The Revenant

Best Actress


Best Actress

Brie Larson – Room Brie Larson, Room
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Cate Blanchett – Carol Cate Blanchett, Carol
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Maggie Smith – Lady in the Van Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Best Actor


Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs Micheal Fassbender, Jobs
Matt Damon – The Martian Matt Damon, The Martian
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Best Supporting Actress


Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Rooney Mara – Carol Rooney Mara, Carol
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs Kate Winslet, Jobs
Julie Walters – Brooklyn Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

Best Supporting Actor


Best Supporting Actor

Benicio Del Toro – Sicario Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Christian Bale – The Big Short Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Film Not in the English Language


Foreign Language Film

The Assassin – Hou Hsiao-Hsien “Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
Force Majeure – Ruben Ostlund “Mustang” France
Theeb Naji – Abu Nowar, Rupert Lloyd “Son of Saul” Hungary
Timbuktu – Abderrahmane Sissako “Theeb” Jordan
Wild Tales – Damian Szifron “A War” Denmark



Documentary Feature

Amy -Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees Amy, Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land – Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
He Named Me Malala – Davis Guggenheim, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
Listen to Me Marlon – Stevan Riley, John Battsek, George Chignell, R.J. Cutler What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Sherpa – Jennifer Peedom, Bridget Ikin, John Smithson Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Animated Film


Animated Feature Film

Inside Out – Pete Docter Inside Out, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Minions – Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda Boy and the World, Alê Abreu
Shaun the Sheep Movie – Mark Burton, Richard Starzak Shaun the Sheep Movie, Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura




The Big Short – Adam McKay The Big Short, Adam McKay
Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller
Carol – Todd Haynes The Revenant, Alejandro González Iñárritu
The Martian – Ridley Scott Room, Lenny Abrahamson
The Revenant – Alejandro G. Inarritu Spotlight, Tom McCarthy




Bridge of Spies – Janusz Kaminski The Hateful Eight, Robert Richardson
Carol – Ed Lachman Carol, Ed Lachman
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale Mad Max: Fury Road, John Seale
The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario – Roger Deakins Sicario, Roger Deakins

Original Screenplay


Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies – Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen “Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina – Alex Garland “Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out – Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve “Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight – Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer “Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino “Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Adapted Screenplay


Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short – Adam McKay, Charles Randolph “The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn – Nick Hornby “Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
Carol – Phyllis Nagy “Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
Room – Emma Donoghue “Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue
Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin “The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard



Film Editing

The Big Short – Hank Corwin The Big Short, Hank Corwin
Bridge of Spies – Michael Kahn Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel
The Martian – Pietro Scalia Spotlight, Tom McArdle
The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione The Revenant, Stephen Mirrione

Production Design


Production Design

Bridge of Spies – Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo “Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
Carol – Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler “The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson “Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian – Arthur Max, Celia Bobak “The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales “The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Costume Design


Costume Design

Brooklyn – Odile Dicks-Mireaux The Revenant, Jacqueline West
Carol – Sandy Powell Carol, Sandy Powell
Cinderella – Sandy Powell Cinderella, Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado The Danish Girl, Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan

Make Up and Hair


Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road – Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin “Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
Carol – Jerry DeCarlo, Patricia Regan “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Revenant – Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini “The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini
The Danish Girl – Jan Sewell
Brooklyn – Morna Ferguson, Lorraine Glynn



Sound Editing

Bridge of Spies – Drew Kunin, Richard Hymns, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom “Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
Mad Max: Fury Road – Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Mark Mangini, Ben Osmo, Gregg Rudloff, David White “Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian – Paul Massey, Mac Ruth, Oliver Tarney, Mark Taylor “The Martian” Oliver Tarney
The Revenant – Lon Bender, Chris Duesterdiek, Martin Hernandez, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom “The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Matthew Wood, Stuart Wilson “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Special Visual Effects


Visual Effects

Ant-Man – Jake Morrison, Greg Steele, Dan Sudick, Alex Wuttke “Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Ex Machina – Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst “Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
Mad Max: Fury Road – Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Tom Wood, Andy Williams “The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
The Martian – Chris Lawrence, Tim Ledbury, Richard Stammers, Steven Warner “The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

There are some categories that Bafta has that obviously wouldn’t be among the Oscars, and the Oscars features some categories unmentioned by Bafta. The most notable being Bafta’s British nominations for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and for Outstanding British Film. But the Oscars also has its own distinguishing categories such as Best Score, or Best Live Action Short Film. These categories are below:


Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer


Documentary Short Subject

Alex Garland (Director) – Ex Machina Body Team 12, David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Debbie Tucker Green (Writer/Director) – Second Coming Chau, beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Naji Abu Nowar (Writer/Director) RUPERT LLOYD (Producer) – Theeb Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam Benzine
Sean McAllister (Director/Producer), ELHUM SHAKERIFAR (Producer) – A Syrian Love Story A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Stephen Fingleton (Writer/Director) – The Survivalist Last Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman
Outstanding British Film Original Song
45 Years – Andrew Haigh, Tristan Goligher “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
Amy – Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
Brooklyn – John Crowley, Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Nick Hornby “Simple Song #3” from “Youth” Music and Lyric by David Lang
The Danish Girl – Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Gail Mutrux, Lucinda Coxon “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
Ex Machina – Alex Garland, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich

The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Efthimis Filippou

“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre” Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Animated Short Film
“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt
Live Action Short Film
“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
The Revenant, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
Original Score
“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams

While there are no comparisons for Original Score or Outstanding British Film, the Oscars and Baftas have differed on some of their comparable categories. Some notable digressions from the past:


Bafta Best Film: Brokeback Mountain Oscars Best Film: Titanic

There are always opinions and surprises, both by what is included and by what is left out. For instance, I do think it is surprising that with 10 slots open “Carol” was left off the shortlist for an Oscar. However, back in 2005 Bafta saw a breakthrough film that was culturally more significant than box-office gold and gave the best film award to Ang Lee’s influential “Brokeback Mountain” over the pop culture smash hit Titanic.


Bafta Best Director: Richard Linklater Oscars Best Director: Alejandro E. Iñárritu

“Carol” is again seeing its Bafta nod not crossing the pond to get an Oscars nod. Perhaps the refreshing point of view from George Miller for “Mad Max: Road Fury” or Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room” swayed the American Academy away from Bafta choices like Todd Haynes for “Carol” or Steven Spielberg for “Bridge of Spies.” Regardless, Bafta also departed from the Oscars last year when it awarded Richard Linklater the award for his groundbreaking “Boyhood.” Iñárritu’s “Birdman” was equally revolutionary, so it’s clear that it came down to style or even emotion for both Academies.  The debate after the winners are announced is almost as interesting.


Bafta Best Actor: Robert Downey Jr. Oscars Best Actor: Al Pacino

This year’s Best Actor nominations line up exactly for both Academies. However, back in 1992 Bafta chose to award Robert Downey, Jr. for his performance as Charlie Chaplin. Downey’s acting cemented his career rise as a serious star. Meanwhile, Al Pacino’s turn as a blind former-officer in “Scent of a Woman” seemed to be coasting along on a star already born, and his award win felt like the Academy was finally apologizing for snubbing his work so many times before.


Bafta Best Actress: Cate Blanchett Oscars Best Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow

The Best Actress category for the Oscars this year has the usual discussion around what is a ‘Best Actress/Actor’ performance versus what is a ‘Best Supporting Actress/Actor’ performance, having moved Rooney Mara to the Supporting category (allowing a split in two categories with the other star, something the distributors push to arrange), despite being what many feel is a co-lead in “Carol.” Back in 1998, Bafta saw Cate Blanchett’s powerful performance In Elizabeth and awarded the Best Actress award to her. Paltrow as Viola de Lessepps in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ which was a ground breaking performance for her, played a cooped up royal perfectly too. And the Oscar award reflected the national backing, although both films were distinctly British in content.


Bafta Best Supporting Actor: Ralph Fiennes Oscars Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones

The nominees for the Bafta Best Actor in a Supporting role this year are significantly more diverse than its American cousin. In fact as previously noted, the Oscars are feeling quite a bit of heat this year with #OscarsSoWhite as a trending hashtag on social media, highlighting the Academy’s lack of diversity in its nominee list. In 1993, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor went to Tommy Lee Jones for his role in “The Fugitive.” Although a tremendous actor and enjoyable as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard, I don’t think Jones performance quite compares to Fiennes’s bonechilling turn as the terrible Amon Göeth in “Schindler’s List.”


Bafta Best Supporting Actress: Miranda Richardson Oscars Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei

Long the butt of many jokes, Marisa Tomei’s Best Support Actress win for ‘My Cousin Vinny’ has been fraught with rumors ever since Jack Parlance announced it. A stunning actress with the chops to play comedic and dramatic roles with great nuance and power, Marisa Tomei’s abilities are undeniable. However, in 1993 Miranda Richardson gave a performance of a lifetime as Ingrid Fleming in ‘Damage’. Richardson brought heft and explosive talent to the role of Ingrid.

While Bafta and the Oscars tend to vote rather similarly, given the history of divergence I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some upsets at this year’s events and further focus on diversity. Either way, both nights are guaranteed highly enjoyable with laughs, tears, and maybe even a shock or two.  For those of us who love great stories and cinema – let me know who you think should win in the comments or tweet at me @hampstead17.

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