When the BAFTA nominations were announced on January 8, they more or less gave us a preview of what we would find out eight days later when the Academy Award nominations were released. Just as it would become with the Oscars, American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave received the most nods with BAFTA. So if the Brits provided a good beacon for what was to happen in phase one, why would we not look to them as the final harbinger of what might happen on Oscar night?
Academy members – anywhere from several hundred to well over a thousand of which are also members of BAFTA – will receive their final ballots on February 14 to determine the winners at the 86th Academy Awards. Two days later, the BAFTAs will take place. So, unless AMPAS is full of overachievers, they will be sitting at home watching the BAFTA broadcast with their ballots in hand. We all know the stats that come with the PGA – 17 of the past 24 PGA winners (71%) went on to win the best picture Oscar, including each of the last six – and DGA – the winning director’s film has won Best Picture all but 13 times in 66 years (80%) – but this year feels a bit different (especially considering the Gravity/12 Years a Slave tie at the PGA). Add to it the fact that the Sochi Winter Olympic Games will create an abyss of time between the PGA/DGA wins and the deadline for Oscar voters, who’s to say the race won’t change shape between now and then?
Here’s another stat to support the elevated importance of the BAFTAs: The BAFTA Best Film winner has matched Oscar’s Best Picture recipient in each of the last five years. And while that might not be a large pool to take information from, I believe you should take more from recent history when forecasting which direction a specific group may trend, versus the long ago past, since, after all, the members of the Academy today are not the same group of people they were in the 30s, 40s, or 50s. The times they are a-changin’. While I’m not making any predictions for Oscar night with this piece, I do think the BAFTAs will provide us with a few interesting water cooler discussions leading all the way up until the Academy Awards.
Here is my list of five things we might learn from the BAFTAs: