BAFTA Awards 2017: Nominees & Predictions [Updated]


[UPDATE: The full list of 2017 BAFTA winners has been revealed!]


As the date for the Academy Awards looms ever closer, film fans are ticking off a number of key predictors that could predict the results of Oscar night, one of those being tonight's British Academy Film Awards, or the BAFTAs. The awards, which will be celebrating their 70th anniversary this Sunday, are the top prize of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, founded by some of Britain's top industry talents including David Lean and Charles Laughton, which works year round to support and develop film as an art form through public outreach, education and funding.

While the ceremony is today considered part of the march towards the Oscars, beginning with the Golden Globes and ending with the Academy Awards themselves, it wasn't always like that. The BAFTAs used to hold their own ceremony in April or May, after the Oscars had already been held, but the date was moved to February in 2002 to precede them. Many have questioned why this was done, with some believing it to be the BAFTAs' way of fitting into the arc of US-focused awards season.

Although the BAFTAs have always on some level operated in line with the Oscars in terms of winners and nominees, and were always intended to celebrate international film as much as British film, many critics have expressed dissatisfaction with their perceived bias towards films that fit the generally accepted narrative of winners. That’s not strictly speaking true, and the BAFTAs can still throw a few surprises into the ring. Some uniquely BAFTA shocks include: The Commitments winning Best Picture over Dances With Wolves and The Silence of the Lambs; Alan Rickman winning Best Supporting Actor for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; and Eddie Murphy garnering a nomination in the same category for his voice work in Shrek.

British film remains a great focus for the BAFTAs, as awards are given for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and Best British Film. The BAFTAs are also unique in their presentation of the Rising Star Award, the only award of the night - and possibly the entire Oscar season - voted on by members of the public.

This year’s nominees have also been criticized for their overwhelming whiteness, with the Oscars’ own diversification following protests not spilling over to British shores. BAFTA have announced major steps to fix this problem and to address the deep seated racial discrepancies in the British film industry, but the lack of nominations for Barry Jenkins, Ruth Negga and Denzel Washington remain glaring.

While the eventual outcome may not entirely align with the results on Oscar night, the BAFTAs are an excellent indication of what’s going on in British film as it becomes an increasingly international business, and how its influence stretches to Hollywood. We’ve compiled some of our predictions for the night in some of the biggest categories.


Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner in Arrival


I, Daniel Blake

La La Land

Manchester by the Sea


While this category shares 80% of its nominees with the Best Picture Oscars line-up, it's the inclusion of I, Daniel Blake that sits as the most interesting aspect. Ken Loach's Palme D'Or winning drama of working class Britain struggling under the archaic benefits system has been a much-discussed topic in British film since its release, and its 5 nominations stands as a reminder to many of the power and influence of Loach, one of Britain's most iconic film-makers. Having said that, its chances of winning here are slim, particularly as the La La Land domination of awards season reigns supreme. The BAFTAs have taken unexpected curveballs in the past with this category, and have only aligned with the Oscars half the time since 2000, so if a shock win is to happen, it’ll probably be in this category for Moonlight, but right now the odds are still very much in La La Land’s favour.


WHO SHOULD WIN: Moonlight.


Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals is the surprise of BAFTA season, with the warmly received but critically divisive drama receiving 9 nominations. The film did well in British cinemas, and Ford has been dogged in his campaigning this season, including a minor faux-pas at the Golden Globes where he gifted HFPA voters with his signature fragrance (they had to return the gift, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s surprise win at the ceremony did smell fishy). However, he will probably be another casualty of the main Oscar race, and since Chazelle’s main competition, Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins, is not nominated in this category, it will probably be an easy walk to the podium tomorrow night.

WHO WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle

WHO SHOULD WIN: Denis Villeneuve


Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

While Casey Affleck’s juggernaut victory to the Oscar stage has faced a few roadblocks, notably Denzel Washington’s win at the SAG Awards and the increasingly difficult to ignore discussion regarding past sexual harassment lawsuits, it remains to be seen as to how that will affect his odds on the big night, and the BAFTAs presents an easier route to the top prize for him by not including Washington amongst the top 5. BAFTA often like to award the Brit in this category who will be ignored by the Academy, and with Garfield as the only home grown talent in the bunch, the prize may go out to him (Garfield is a previous winner in the BAFTA Television Awards and was nominated for the Rising Star Award in 2011). If La La Land sweeps, Gosling could very well benefit, but Affleck remains the man to beat.

WHO WILL WIN: Casey Affleck.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Andrew Garfield.


Natalie Portman in Jackie (2016)

Amy Adams – Arrival

Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

While The Girl on the Train did not reach the critical heights many were hoping for, Emily Blunt’s performance was near universally praised, so its inclusion in this category is welcome, particularly given the competitiveness of the available prospective nominees. However, Emma Stone’s win here seems like the safest lock of the night. Isabelle Huppert has become her main competition for the Oscar but she is notably absent from the nominations, and the remaining nominees have garnered nowhere near the same level of awards attention as Stone’s performance in the most celebrated film of the year. It is a shame that the work of Adams and Portman have been so overlooked this season, as both performances were career bests from two of Hollywood’s best.

WHO WILL WIN: Emma Stone.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Amy Adams or Natalie Portman.


Dev Patel in Lion as Saroo Brierley

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins

Dev Patel – Lion

Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals

Taylor-Johnson’s nomination here following his shock Golden Globes win suggested to many that he would leverage that momentum all the way to Oscars glory, but he was pipped to the post by his co-star Michael Shannon. Nevertheless, the BAFTAS love to reward their British cohorts, and this is what may work in Dev Patel’s favour. The star of Lion – who campaigned in the supporting category partly because it was seen as less competitive than lead – is a previous nominee thanks to his work in Slumdog Millionaire, and the film has garnered many positive headlines in the UK. Ali remains the Oscar favourite for his stellar work in Moonlight, but Patel has the edge thanks to familiarity and a top notch Weinstein led campaign.

WHO WILL WIN: Dev Patel.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Mahershala Ali.


Fences (2016) - Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
Viola Davis and Denzel Washington in Fences.

Viola Davis – Fences

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Hayley Squires – I, Daniel Blake

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Squires’ inclusion in this category for her raw, heartbreaking work in I, Daniel Blake is heartily welcome, although Viola Davis is the front-runner for a reason. Her nomination is the only one Fences received at the BAFTAs, which may hurt her chances if voters missed the film, and that in turn could help a nominee like Harris, a British favourite in a critically adored film that’s nominated across several categories. Having said that, Davis remains the bookies’ favourite by a wide margin, and the narrative is very much in her favour.

WHO WILL WIN:  Viola Davis.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis or Naomie Harris.


Moonlight (2016) - Alex Hibbert

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Paul Laverty – I, Daniel Blake

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

Due to the Academy's rules on unproduced work as adaptation material, Moonlight is considered by them to be an adapted screenplay, and has been categorised as such in this year's nominees. However, BAFTA's rules are not as strict and it is nominated as an original screenplay alongside its main competition, La La Land. This ultimately hurts its odds of winning the BAFTA as La La Land has swept this category all season, and Manchester by the Sea is its only real spoiler.


WHO SHOULD WIN: Moonlight.


Nocturnal Animals (2016) - Amy Adams
Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals.

Luke Davies – Lion

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Eric Heisserer – Arrival

Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder – Hidden Figures

Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight – Hacksaw Ridge

However, Moonlight’s absence here benefits the remaining nominees as the race becomes a chance to really mix things up. Ford has fought hard all season for some recognition, but Nocturnal Animals’ screenplay is one of its weaker elements; Hidden Figures is popular and crowd pleasing stuff, but not what voters tend to go for; Lion has momentum but more for its performances; while Hacksaw Ridge’s surprise inclusion this Oscar season has been positioned more as part of Mel Gibson’s redemption narrative than anything else. Arrival has done very well with British audiences and Heisserer’s skillful adaptation of very difficult material deserves more praise than it has received this season.

WHO WILL WIN: Arrival.



Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land
La La Land.

Bradford Young – Arrival

Giles Nuttgens – Hell or High Water

Linus Sandgren – La La Land

Greig Fraser – Lion

Seamus McGarvey – Nocturnal Animals

This year’s nominees must have been relieved to hear Emmanuel Lubezki didn’t have a film out in 2016, as the critically adored cinematographer won this award – and the Oscar – three times in a row. The remaining nominees are all stellar examples of the craft, from technicolour vibrancy to stark minimalism. Once again, the La La Land sweep seems all but inevitable, although Greig Fraser did win the American Society of Cinematographer’s top honour this year for Lion. That award, however, was voted on by his peers in the field, and a more general voter base will probably benefit La La Land.


WHO SHOULD WIN: Lion or Arrival.


The Girl With All the Gifts (2017)
The Girl With All the Gifts.

Mike Carey and Camille Gatin (Producer) – The Girl with All the Gifts

George Amponsah (Writer/Director/Producer) and Dionne Walker (Writer/Producer) – The Hard Stop

Peter Middleton (Writer/Director/Producer), James Spinney (Writer/Director) and Jo-Jo Ellison (Producer) – Notes on Blindness

John Donnelly (Writer) and Ben A. Williams (Director) – The Pass

Babak Anvari (Writer/Director), Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill and Lucan Toh (Producers) – Under the Shadow

This award, designed to celebrate the rising stars of the British independent film scene, is a trickier prospect to predict. Some of its winners include Lynne Ramsay, Duncan Jones, Amma Asante and Chris Morris, but it can be tough to nail down just what will entice voters the most. This is arguably the category where name recognition and commercial success matter the least. This year's nominees include a zombie drama, a documentary on the killing of Mark Duggan, an exploration of a theologian's deteriorating vision, a film adaptation of a stage play on closeted footballers, and a Tehran set horror film. The latter, Under the Shadow, has received particular attention due to its unique setting and concept, and was even submitted by the UK as its Best Foreign Language Film Oscar contender (it did not make the shortlist). It currently stands as the favourite, based on buzz and acclaim, but Notes on Blindness would also be a worthy winner. Both are also nominated in Outstanding British Film, but their odds are better in a category less crowded with recognizable names.

WHO WILL WIN: Under the Shadow.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Under the Shadow or Notes on Blindness.


Fantastic Beasts
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

American Honey


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I, Daniel Blake

Notes on Blindness

Under the Shadow

This is the category where Loach and I, Daniel Blake stand the best odds. Three of Loach's films have been nominated in this category but he's never won, and with buzz at an all-time high for his latest, his time may have finally come. However, this is also a category that in recent years has been prone to awarding the biggest name in the bunch, with Skyfall and Gravity taking home the honour in their respective years. If that plays out again in 2017, the obvious choice would be Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a phenomenally successful film that has employed a lot of people in the British film industry.

WHO WILL WIN: I, Daniel Blake.

WHO SHOULD WIN: I, Daniel Blake.


Anthony Weiner Documentary


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

The Eagle Huntress

Notes on Blindness


The top favourites at the Oscars are absent here – OJ: Made in America and I Am Not Your Negro – which opens up the category for a potential surprise. Ava DuVernay’s 13th is the only film here also nominated at the Oscars, which is always helpful, but Notes on Blindness has 2 other nominations across the BAFTA categories, and won the British Independent Film Award for Best Documentary last year, giving in an edge in a mostly American dominated field.

WHO WILL WIN: Notes on Blindness.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Notes on Blindness or 13th.


Toni Erdmann
Toni Erdmann.




Son of Saul

Toni Erdmann

This category features some big name talents, including Jacques Audiard and Pedro Almodovar, as well as Son of Saul, last year’s Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film. While László Nemes's drama received rapturous acclaim in Britain, the current buzz remains with Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann, a close to 3 hours long comedy drama that's already in the process of being remade for English language audiences with Jack Nicholson. As Toni Erdmann’s chances of winning the Oscar decrease thanks to The Salesman, this would be an excellent opportunity to give in the validation it deserves.

WHO WILL WIN: Toni Erdmann.

WHO SHOULD WIN: Toni Erdmann.


Ruth Negga in Loving
Ruth Negga in Loving.

Laia Costa

Lucas Hedges

Tom Holland

Ruth Negga

Anya Taylor-Joy

With the public deciding the winner of this, the Rising Star award is most certainly a popularity contest. While previous years included high-profile winners like Tom Hardy, Kristen Stewart and James McAvoy, this year the most publicly recognizable name is harder to pin down. Tom Holland has the benefit of being Spider-Man but there’s not as much buzz attached to his own name. Ruth Negga’s garnered a loyal fan-base thanks to TV work on Misfits and Preacher, but her Oscar nominated work in Loving received no BAFTA recognition and has been a muted hit with audiences. Lucas Hedges is a critics favourite with Manchester by the Sea but carries no clout with the British public. Anna Taylor-Joy could snatch it thanks to work in The Witch and the recent surprise hit Split, while Catalonian actress Laia Costa is almost completely unknown. Negga would be the worthiest winner, and it would go a long way to making up for her snub in the Leading Actress category, but never under-estimate the power of a Marvel fan-base.

WHO WILL WIN: Tom Holland.


The 20th British Academy Film Awards will take place on Sunday 12th February at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with Stephen Fry once again on hosting duties. British audiences can watch the ceremony on BBC One.


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