And the winner is… London rolls out red carpet for BAFTA Film Awards

By Thomson Reuters Feb 17, 2024 | 6:05 PM

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

LONDON (Reuters) – Hollywood stars descend on London on Sunday for the annual BAFTA Film Awards, where U.S. historical drama “Oppenheimer”, one of the highest-grossing films of 2023, leads nominations for Britain’s top movie honours.

The three-hour epic about the making of the atomic bomb during World War Two has 13 nods, including for the night’s top prize – best film – which it is the current favourite to win.

Also leading betting odds are the film’s Irish star Cillian Murphy, who plays the American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, to win the leading actor prize and Briton Christopher Nolan for best director.

Digital Spy movies editor Ian Sandwell said the local talent in “Oppenheimer” could help its BAFTA chances.

“It’s got Christopher Nolan, it’s got Cillian Murphy in the lead. I think it would be a massive surprise if that film does miss out,” Sandwell told Reuters.

Last year, a German remake of “All Quiet on the Western Front” was the big winner at the BAFTAs, including, in a surprise for many, for best film, beating the 2023 awards season favourite “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

“If there’s anything that’s going to do that this year it will be ‘The Zone of Interest’ because it’s got a British director, even though it’s foreign language, it’s a British co-production so it’s a local film,” Sandwell said.

Jonathan Glazer’s chilling movie “The Zone of Interest” – about the commandant of Auschwitz and his family living next to the death camp – has nine nominations.

The other contenders for best film include Emma Stone’s sex-charged gothic comedy “Poor Things”, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”, about the murders of members of the Osage Nation in the 1920s, courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Holdovers”, a comedy set in a boys’ boarding school.

Previous BAFTA and Oscar winner Stone is the favourite to win the leading actress category.

“(It) was an absolutely extraordinary performance for any actress to do,” Tim Richards, founder and CEO of cinema operator Vue International, told Reuters.

None of the best director contenders has previously won the award, and four out of the six are first-time director nominees, including Glazer and Justine Triet for “Anatomy of a Fall”.

Triet is the only woman on the list, with the omission of “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig raising some eyebrows.

“Barbie”, the highest grossing film of 2023, has five nominations overall.

Known as the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), the awards ceremony will take place at the Royal Festival Hall on the banks of the River Thames and will be hosted by actor David Tennant.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Susan Fenton)