What the Baftas tell us about the Oscar race


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PA

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Director Martin McDonagh with two of Three Billboards’ five Bafta film awards

Sunday’s Bafta Film Awards saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri beat The Shape of Water to the best film prize.

The two go head to head again at the Academy Awards on 4 March. Will Three Billboards triumph once more, or will it be the turn of Guillermo del Toro’s film to shine?

Here’s our take on how things are looking as we near the business end of the current film awards season.

Does Three Billboards’ Bafta win mean the Oscar’s in the bag?

Absolutely not. The Baftas and the Oscars haven’t agreed on best picture since 12 Years a Slave in 2014.

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PA/Reuters

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Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave, at the Bafta Film Awards and Oscars in 2014

One possible reason for this is the different way the organisations vote. Bafta operates a first-past-the-post system where the film with the most votes wins. But the Oscars use a more complicated preferential ballot where second, third and so on preferences can be taken into account.

The Academy’s system is more likely to reward consensus rather than passion. What’s more, Three Billboards has experienced something of a backlash in the US which, in a very open race, could harm its chances against Dunkirk, Get Out, The Shape of Water and others.

What can the Baftas tell us about the best picture Oscar race?

The four films that lost on Sunday – Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk and The Shape of Water – have clearly had their chances dented.

In the cases of Darkest Hour and Dunkirk, those dents are pretty big. If British-themed films can’t win on their home territory, how likely are they to triumph in LA?

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Universal

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Get Out is up for four Oscars, including best picture and best actor

Yet all of this could help a film like Get Out. It didn’t get a Bafta nomination, so hasn’t been damaged by not winning. What it does have is a huge amount of momentum in the US.

The make-up of the American Academy is slowly changing, with more women and people from ethnic minorities joining its membership. Around a fifth of that membership only joined in the last two years, and these new voters could make the difference.

What about the acting categories?

Back in 2014, two performances from Dallas Buyers Club won almost every prize going. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both went on to win the Oscars for best actor and supporting actor.

One of the only dissenting groups was Bafta, where the pair didn’t win. In fact, they weren’t even nominated.

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Entertainment One

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Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club

In 2018 things are very different. The Critics’ Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild awards, Golden Globes and Bafta Film awards have all honoured the same four performers, a level of consensus that hasn’t been seen in recent years.

It would therefore be a major shock if Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell didn’t all win at the Oscars. And any hopes for Sally Hawkins and Lesley Manville again must have been diminished by the fact they couldn’t pull off a win on home soil.

What about the other categories?

It’s hard to say, apart from the fact that Britain’s Christopher Nolan looks likely to be waiting a while longer for a best director Oscar after losing to Guillermo del Toro in London.

Still, Dunkirk’s win in the best sound category could point to it picking up at least one of the two sound prizes at the Academy Awards.

Sometimes, Bafta can also flag up an unexpected win at the Oscars. Hacksaw Ridge won best editing at the Baftas in 2017 and went on to win the equivalent Oscar.

That might bode well for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver after its win in that category on Sunday.

Is there any significance to Daniel Kaluuya’s Rising Star win?

There’s no comparable category at the Oscars. He is up for best actor (as he was at the Baftas), but because of the Oldman juggernaut he’s not expected to win.

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Getty Images

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Daniel Kaluuya with his Rising Star award

Still, because of the momentum behind Get Out (not to mention a great performance in Black Panther), Kaluuya is being seen on both sides of the Atlantic as the most exciting on-screen talent to come out of awards season.

This is despite the fact he’s been producing great, if less high-profile, work for years in everything from TV’s Black Mirror to the London stage.

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