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Watch the trailers for all the BAFTA nominated Best Films 2019

PUBLISHED: 17:33 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:45 10 January 2019

Rami Malek gives an incredible performance in moving yet funny Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek gives an incredible performance in moving yet funny Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody

Archant

Oscar season is now underway. With the Golden Globes awarded and the BAFTA nominations released, the fight for Oscar glory is now underway. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at the likely winners and losers in this year's awards tussle

Hollywood maybe dominated by blockbusters, traditionally released during the summer and Christmas, but its heart still craves Oscar recognition. In a seemingly hard-nosed business, where you are judged purely on the number of tickets you sell, Hollywood studios can’t resist investing sizeable sums of money in what appear to be independent-style movies with the sole aim of bagging an Oscar.

From December to March, studios switch-off the special effects, ground the superheroes, mothball their fleets of alien spaceships, as they excitedly unveil a raft of actor-led, story-driven, character-rich movies with which to entice a different audience – a, perhaps, more critical audience, an awards voting audience.

In the short-term these films may appear to be the products of a very expensive vanity project but they not only appeal to a different type of audience, frequently an older audience, they also have a very long shelf life. They continue to make money years after they first hit our screens – much more so than the flash-in-the-pan blockbuster of the moment.

These dialogue-driven, actor-led films don’t need to be watched on the first weekend of release. Hollywood is dominated by the opening weekend box office figures. Films’ reputations are forged on the first three days of release. Oscar films will continue to work their magic for years afterwards.

Although we refer to the months of January and February as Oscar season, it is really awards season with a raft of different ceremonies rewarding the best films of the year.

The three most influential awards are The Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and The Oscars. By looking at the nominees for The Globes and BAFTA you can get a good idea at the way the industry is thinking when it comes to the main Oscar prize – although there is still room for an upset or two.

BAFTA is particularly revealing as it shares many of the same voters as Oscar – film-making professionals currently working in the industry.

So with BAFTA announcing this year’s nominees, now is a good time to start taking a look at this year’s front runners.

The Favourite, the black comedy about Queen Anne, starring Norfolk’s Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, is the movie with the most nominations – 12 in all – and following its success at The Golden Globes last weekend must be a strong contender for some major prizes on both sides of the Atlantic.

It’s good to see #MeToo is having an effect as there are several other female led movies also in the running for the top honours. Can You Ever Forgive Me? with Melissa McCarthy playing a biographer forging writers memorabilia to make ends meet, Mary Poppins Returns with Emily Blunt and the epic Mary, Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie all have three nominations each.

One of the most interesting battles will be fought in the world of the rock musical. Both Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born have seven nominations apiece. Before Sunday’s Golden Globe’s ceremony A Star Is Born was the hot favourite. It was much better reviewed than the Freddie Mercury bio-pic but in the event Rhapsody stole the Best Picture trophy from under A Star Is Born’s nose.

Will the same thing happen at the Oscars? It’s difficult to say. Certainly A Star Is Born is likely to have more emotional connection with Hollywood but there will be no face-to-face challenge to test the waters at BAFTA as Bohemian Rhapsody is only entered in the Best British Film category.

The presence of Netflix-backed Roma has made this year’s awards ceremony interesting. This critically adored Mexican movie has only been given a limited London run and film festival screenings and will only be available to the viewing public on the web-based streaming site. This has led some people, including Steven Spielberg, to suggest that these ‘TV movies’ shouldn’t be eligible for mainstream film awards. I suspect that this is a debate that is already over.

In terms of the high profile Best Actor categories again it’s all to play for. Before Sunday Lady Gaga was odds-on favourite for her outstanding performance as fledgling singer Ally in A Star Is Born, but Glenn Close’s win for her role as the eponymous wife in The Wife has reminded voters and audiences of how good an actress she is and, shockingly, how she has never won an award. But, my money is on Olivia Colman who delivered a funny and yet heartrending portryal of Queen Anne in The Favourite.

As for Best Actor? It’s probably a three horse race between a trio of outstanding performances: Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice, Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and

Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel in Stan & Ollie. It’s interesting to note that these frontrunners are all portrayals of real people. Awards voters love real-life transformations.

The BAFTA ceremony is on BBC1 on February 10 and The Oscars are screened on February 24.

The main BAFTA nominations 2019 are...

Best film

BlacKKKlansman

The Favourite

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Outstanding British Film

Beast

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourite

McQueen

Stan & Ollie

You Were Never Really Here

Best Director

Spike Lee - BlacKKKlansman

Pawel Pawlikowski - Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos - The Favourite

Alfonso Cuaron - Roma

Bradley Cooper - A Star is Born

Best Actress

Olivia Colman - The Favourite

Glenn Close - The Wife

Lady Gaga - A Star is Born

Melissa McCarthy - Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Viola Davis - Widows

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper- A Star is Born

Christian Bale - Vice

Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody

Steve Coogan - Stan and Ollie

Viggo Mortensen - Green Book

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