Baftas 2020: Who should, and who will win?


The 73rd British Academy Film Awards are this Sunday and, due to the shortened awards season, it will indicate the leading Oscar contenders only a week before the Academy Awards themselves. It’s been a controversial year: No acting nominees of colour, despite winning performances from Lupita Nyong’o, Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Lopez etc, and no female directors nominated, despite it being a notable year in that department. But indeed, despite this, the nominees we have been given are still worthy, and the awards will be interesting and competitive. Here are my picks for who I think will win each category, and who I think should.

EE Rising Star Award


Will win: Awkwafina

Should win: Awkwafina

If Florence Pugh hadn’t been nominated previously for this award, she would be dominating this category. But alas, we have to settle for her in a later group. With the nominees we have left, this is Awkwafina’s to lose. She had a Golden Globe winning performance in The Farewell and a Rising Star Award should be BAFTA’s apology for snubbing her in the lead actress category. If a spoiler were to happen, look for Kaitlyn Dever, who not only excelled in Booksmart but put in an incredible Television performance in Unbelievable.

Special Visual Effects


Will win: The Irishman

Should win: Avengers: Endgame

Black Panther won this award last year thus meaning that there is a slight chance of Endgame continuing that success. But part of me sees the Academy not being able to resist the groundbreaking De-aging technology that The Irishman (arguably the biggest media talking point of the film). Also, as the likelihood of The Irishman winning other categories decreases, this could be something of a consolation.

Best Sound


Will win: 1917

Should win: Le Mans 66

Bless the British Academy for acknowledging how very few voters know how to differentiate sound mixing and editing. The single sound category, whilst probably not totally accurate to the experiences of technicians, makes things more simple. Le Mans 66 was a huge achievement in making the intense racing world come to life, and sound is the area in which I see it having the best shot of walking away with anything come Sunday night. But look for 1917 to begin its domination in this category

Best Make up and Hair


Will win: Bombshell

Should win: Bombshell

At this stage of the awards game, Bombshell’s only real hope is this category. With all their campaigning effort behind it, and the endless stories of Charlize Theron’s transformation, this should be an easy win. That is of course unless they decide to award a British film like Rocketman or 1917.

Best Costume Design


Will win: Little Women

Should win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Little Women is the resident period piece in this category, and we know awards bodies love a 19th century wardrobe. But I would give it to the colourful Hollywood, which used the costumes effortlessly to evoke the the world of 1969

Best Production Design


Will win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Should win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The same point on costume design applies to this category, as Hollywood creates a vibrant world in its narrative. It’s a shame that Parasite wasn’t nominated for the masterful creations of its two main houses, but this is Hollywood’s to lose.

Best Editing


Will win: Once upon a Time in Hollywood

Should win: The Irishman

There’s a case to be made for Les Mans in this category, but it’s sound is arguably the more impressive feat. In The Irishman, editor Thelma Schoonmaker was able to construct a well paced 3 and a half hour movie which interestingly cut scenes and montages for stylish effect.

Best Cinematography


Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

This is only going to 1917 for the much lauded single take. Roger Deakins crafted a visually striking film and if I’m honest, the other nominees can probably sit the ceremony out

Best Casting


Will win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Should win: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Tarantino assembled a rich cast for Hollywood and the coup of getting DiCaprio and Pitt together is a feat itself, not to mention Margot Robbie and a slew of supporting performances. But Copperfield truly made history with its inclusive approach to casting. It definitely stands out from the rest of the pack here.

Best Original Score


Will win: Joker

Should win: Joker

John Williams is here because he’s well… John Williams, but the true achievement here is from Hildur Guonadottir for Joker. The score is eerie, experimental and chilling. It’s the kind of score that stays with you not for its memorable melodies but for its evocative feel.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role


Will win: Brad Pitt

Should win: Joe Pesci

This is a tough one. Brad Pitt is phenomenal in Hollywood and is the firm favourite here. He’s beloved in the industry and is currently without an acting BAFTA. But it’s difficult to ignore the quality of Pesci’s work in The Irishman. He plays completely against type, being a quietly chilling mob man rather than his usually exuberant self. It’s restrained yet confident, and one of the best performances of the year. I won’t be sad if Pitt gets it, but deep down, I would vote Pesci.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role


Will win: Laura Dern

Should win: Florence Pugh

The fact that Margot Robbie is in here twice is truly baffling. If anything, the inclusion of her Hollywood performance undermines her deserved nomination for Bombshell, but no matter, this category is going to Dern. It’s “her time” as critics would say and she’s a huge presence in Marriage Story. But I’m secretly hoping that Florence Pugh can pull an upset for her star turn in Little Women however. It’s a difficult feat to turn a once hated character into one of the most beloved, but Pugh did just that with Amy March. She is British (the only one in the category), which might make BAFTA more likely to honour her, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Best Leading Actor


Will win: Joaquin Phoenix

Should Win: Adam Driver

There is a developing theme that all of the acting favourites are not my personal choice, but I’m can’t be doing a predictions without shoehorning in how good Adam Driver is in Marriage Story. He’s having a bit of a moment this year and in the film he establishes both a sympathetic yet also mildly unlikeable character. He deserves an award this season completely. But who am I kidding, this is going to Joaquin Phoenix as Joker. Even those who don’t like the movie praise his performance and it feels like a fitting way of honouring the most nominated film in a major category without annoying too many people.

Best Leading Actress


Will win: Renee Zellweger

Should win: Scarlett Johansson

I find it truly baffling that Renee Zellweger is doing so well this awards season. While her performance in Judy is fine, it strikes me that the love she’s been receiving is a mixture of the fact that she’s spent so long out of the spotlight and the inexplicable praise that biopics get for simply existing. The true winner is Scarlett Johansson as a repressed artist who refuses to continue making sacrifices for her marriage. Like Adam Driver, she’s authentic and empathetic, making Nicole feel as real as you or me. What a wonderful thing it would be to see both Johansson and Driver win on Sunday night. One can dream…

Best Adapted Screenplay


Will win: Little Women

Should win: Little Women

In Little Women, Greta Gerwig takes the idea of an adapted screenplay to the max, reinterpreting Louisa May Alcott’s classic so interestingly that she deepens the central arcs of Jo and Amy and revitalises them for a modern audience. It’s expert writing and manages to pay respect to, and update an author’s material. If there needed to be justification as to why movies adapting books are made, Gerwig’s script is it.

Best Original Screenplay


Will win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Should win: Parasite

Everyone loves a good Tarantino script, and Hollywood is the best he’s been in years. It’s a masterfully restrained screenplay that manages to be funny and entertaining, all while nothing much is happening. But this is the year of Parasite. Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece is a tightly paced thriller that manages to traverse every genre there is. It’s the kind of script that blows even the best Tarantino out of the water.

Best Director


Will win: Sam Mendes

Should win: Bong Joon-ho

Sam Mendes has officially secured his win with the DGAs last year, thus meaning the competition is effectively over. It’s a shame because even though it’s a very well directed movie, the true achievement is Deakins’ cinematography, which will already be awarded during the night. With Parasite, Bong Joon-ho directed a visually stunning film that had the most cohesive vision of all the nominees. Heck, I think both Scorsese and Tarantino would be better choices than Mendes, but what do I know?

Animated Film


Will win: Toy Story 4

Should win: Toy Story 4

Despite the recent success of Frozen II, Toy Story 4 will run away with this award. It’s a touching and funny end to Woody’s story, and overall a more enjoyable watch than the continued adventures of Anna and Elsa

Best Foreign Language Film


Will win: Parasite

Should win: Parasite

There’s no question here. Even though this is a strong field of nominees, Parasite IS winning this.

Best British Film


Will win: 1917

Should win: 1917

A weaker year in the best British film category than most, 1917 is certainly the most significant nominee, and it’s dazzling visuals and thrilling nature make it the default winner.

Best Film


Will win: 1917

Should win: Parasite

There’s nothing I’d like to see more than Parasite take this home on Sunday, but deep down, I know they’re going to give it to 1917. Call me a cynic, but it’s British, it’s an Oscar frontrunner and it’s well loved with critics and fans. If I were a betting man, my money would be on Mendes’ film.

Pictures and nominees sourced from: BAFTA,




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