71st British Academy Film Awards – Breakdown

2018, Uncategorized

Last night saw the Royal Albert Hall play host to the 71st Annual British Academy Film Awards, or as they are most commonly know, the BAFTA’S. Although not as coveted as the OSCAR’s, the BAFTA’s are the biggest night in film this side of the Atlantic. Of course, all awards are rather trivial, a chance for the industry to pat themselves on the back, but they are still incredibly important. It’s a great chance to celebrate the previous year in film, and to bring attention to some amazing work that might otherwise go un-noticed. Your favourite film might not win, or even get nominated, which is always frustrating and you could spend your time moaning about this, but where’s the fun in that. Here we will go through all of last nights big winners.

Best Film

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
The Shape Of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ll admit that I’ve only seen three out of these five movies, but out of the films on this list that I had seen, Three Billboards was a well deserved winner. Dunkirk was great, but maybe lacked the emotional resonance to really compete. The Shape Of Water was also fantastic, for me it was a close race between this and Three Billboards.

Outstanding British Film

Darkest Hour
The Death Of Stalin
God’s Own Country
Lady Macbeth
Paddington 2
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards won again, which makes complete sense that the best film would also be the best British film. Personally, I would have loved to have seen Paddington 2 pick up the award, but there are some great films on this list. All worth a watch.

Best Animated Film

Loving Vincent
My Life As A Courgette

I loved Coco. It’s another well deserved win. The other two movies are definitely worth checking out, but Pixar are maintaining their dominance over this category. Hopefully, one day they’ll recognise them as the Best Picture.

Best Documentary

City Of Ghosts
I Am Not Your Negro
An inconvenient Sequel

I haven’t seen any of these. I love my documentaries, but I usually wait until after awards season to check out the best the year had to offer.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049
Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape Of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape Of Water may have missed out on Best Film, but Guillermo picked up his Best Directors award, in a pattern I think will be repeated at the OSCAR’s. The Shape Of Water is a beautifully directed movie, and Guillermo is one of our most unique directors. Nolan must be thinking that he’s another Scorsese, on of the best directors of his time, but never recognised during awards season.

Best Actor

Daniel Day Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kayuula, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Jamie Bell, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

This was the biggest non-surprise of the night. They’re all great performances, but there was only ever one winner here. Gary Oldman continues his winning streak with his portrayal of Winston Churchill. It’s a shame though that these award ceremonies are okay with the make-up used to enhance Oldman’s performance, but are yet to recognise Andy Serkis’ mo-cap assisted performances.

Best Actress

Annette Benning, Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I,Tonya
Sally Hawkins, The Shape Of Water
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

When the nominations came out, I thought this might have been the closest run category. The performances here are all fantastic, but McDormand delivers a tour-de-force performance which can’t help but grab all the attention.

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Plummer, All The Money In The World
Hugh Grant, Paddington 2
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Defoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Again, no real surprises here. Some may have been hoping for an upset with Willem Defoe snatching it, but that would have meant some people actually saw The Florida Project. Sam Rockwell has been great for ages, and it’s nice to see him getting recognised.

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Octavia Spencer, The Shape Of Water

Heading into awards season, it seemed that this was a two horse race between Allison Janney, and Laurie Metcalf, but it seems now that Janney is set to sweep the board. Best known for her role in The West Wing, it’s great to see another fabulous character actor get some accolades.

Best Original Screenplay

Get Out
I, Tonya,
Lady Bird
The Shape Of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Whilst we would have all loved to see Get Out win some awards, it’s clear to see that Three Billboards is the most showy screenplay in this category. It’s full of fantastic dialogue, and deals with complex issues. This was the hardest category of the night for me, as they’re all great.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name
The Death Of Stalin
Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
Molly’s Game
Paddington 2

I haven’t seen Call Me By Your Name Yet, and I did really enjoy Molly’s Game, but Paddington 2 should have won.

That’s it for the main categories of the night. It was a predictable night, and I’m hoping for a few more upsets at the OSCAR’s. Three Billboards was the big winner, and now seems most likely for Best Picture at the OSCAR’s, although The Shape Of Water might have something to say about that.

Below you can find the list of all the other winners. Special mention to Daniel Kaluuya for his EE Rising Star Award, and Ridley Scott for his Fellowship.

EE Rising Star: Daniel Kaluuya
Best Original Music: The Shape Of Water
Best Make Up And Hair: Darkest Hour
Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread
Best Editing: Baby Driver
Outstanding British Contribution To Film: National Film and Television School
Best British Short Animation: Poles Apart
Best British Short Film: Cowboy Dave
Best Film Not In The English Language: The Handmaiden
Best Production Design: The Shape Of Water
Best Special Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: I Am Not A Witch
Best Sound: Dunkirk
Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049
BAFTA Fellowship: Ridley Scott


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

2017, Uncategorized

Dir. Martin McDonagh

Starring: Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, Abbie Cornish, John Hawke, and Peter Dinklage


Three Billboards is the third feature film from writer and director Martin McDonagh. If you’ve seen his other two films, Seven Psychopaths, and In Bruges, then you might know what to expect. He’s a director known for subtle genre subversion, and darkly black comedy. Three Billboards continues this trend with a great deal of confidence, and you get the feeling that McDonagh has really fine tuned his style. Creating a film that works on many different levels, and doing so much more than its black comedy tag would suggest.

It’s the story of Mildred Hayes, played superbly by Francis McDormand, whose daughter was brutally murdered. When the police fail to catch the killer, she pays to put up three billboards which pointedly ask the police why they haven’t found him yet. This question being directed at Chief Willoughby, here played by Woody Harrelson. This starts a “war” between the police and those in the town who support them, and Mildred and those in the town who are against the police. Willoughby will have to do his best to keep those on his side in check, especially loose canon Dixon, played by Sam Rockwell, whilst Mildred will have to navigate a town in which her actions have enraged a lot of people.

The film succeeds on so many levels. It’s a great subversion of the western revenge genre. Here, there is no one to aim the revenge against, as the police who would usually saddle up and go off to find the killer don’t know who they are after. This creates a perceived lack of agency from Mildred, which turns the police into the villains. It’s shot like a western, and the score brilliantly invokes this as well. It’s also a brilliant, character driven story. There’s not one character that does something that doesn’t make sense. Their actions, and arcs all seem logical. The actors completely sell this with some phenomenal performances. Especially Francis McDormand and Sam Rockwell. McDormand is the emotional anchor. Being both heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure. She’s doing something which she feels she has to do, but you get the feeling that she’s not sure if it’s the right thing to do. Rockwell gets a character which could have been seen as completely unlikeable or completely goofy, but their is a subtlety to his performance which allows his character to develop, and gives the audience the opportunity to root for his reformation.

This review so far has focused on how much of an emotionally complex movie this is, focusing on some pretty heavy subject matter. This belies how funny the movie is. It’s dark without ever feeling dour, as it’s just so entertaining. McDonagh achieves all this through mastery of tone. The tone of this movie is spot on. The darkest moments being undercut by the funniest moments. An example of this is just after the darkest, saddest, and most tragic scene, which cuts to a completely oblivious Rockwell dancing to Abba. It never feels forced either, all the laughs stemming from the characters and how they deal with the awful situations they find themselves in. This mastery of tone also extends to how well the characters are written. McDormand the exact right mix of tough and vulnerable. Rockwell the exact right mix of psychopathic and stupid. Their respective arcs feeling completely earned.

The film is also extremely timely. McDonagh aims his cutting dialogue at everyone. No one escapes unscathed. Whether it’s the Catholic Church, or Police brutality. At one point Harrelson explains that you can’t get rid of all the racist cops because you’d only be left with three, who would be homophobic. It’s a slice of America under Trump. The way the media can be used to direct peoples anger and hate through mere suggestion. Facts aren’t important. The central message and theme of the film also ties into this. It’s about hate, and how meeting those who hate with hate just creates more hate. It’s a film whose worst character is given the room to change and reform because of a guiding hand. It’s so well written that the audience are allowed to feel for the most unlikeable character. Ultimately, it’s a film about forgiveness.

Three Billboards is such a hugely enjoyable movie. You will cry. You will laugh. You will think, and you will leave the theatre completely satisfied, but with thoughts and themes to ruminate on for days. It’s well written, well directed, and acted fantastically by a great ensemble cast. It’s sure to be a real contender during this awards season. See it now.