BAFTA 2012 Nominations: The Artist, Tinker Tailor Lead the Way

Silence was the watchword at the BAFTA nominations, which were announced in London on Tuesday.

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Jack English / Focus Features

Gary Oldman as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Silence was the watchword at this year’s BAFTA nominations, which were announced in London on Tuesday. The reason? Leading the way, with 12 nods, was Michel Hazanavicius’ silent movie, The Artist, which won a best picture award at Sunday’s Golden Globes, further solidifying its frontrunner status ahead of next week’s Oscar nominations. But before taking to the stage at Convent Garden’s Royal Opera House on Sunday February 12, they’ll need to fend off some home-grown British talent in the shape of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, itself a relatively intense, if quiet, spy thriller.

A well-received film which has gone almost unmentioned this awards season, TTSS has not been neglected by the Brits, who have bestowed an impressive 11 nominations in its direction. Both movies will compete against each other for Best Film, along with The Descendants, The Help and, surprisingly, Drive.

Tinker Tailor‘s producer, and co-chairman of Working Title Films, Tim Bevan, was slightly more sanguine: “It’s fantastic news, particularly in respect of the fact that it didn’t do so well in the American awards. For a producer, it’s about as good as it gets.” Ever the realist, Bevan must know that TTSS has a far better chance of winning Outstanding British Film, though it will have to see off the ever rising My Week With Marilyn, Shame, We Need To Talk About Kevin and Senna, the documentary inexplicably not considered worthy enough to compete for the Oscar.

In any other year, Gary Oldman’s portrayal of George Smiley would have made him the firm Best Actor favorite but George Clooney (The Descendants) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist), both Globe winners, are the more likely picks with Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Michael Fassbender completing a strong category. And at least Oldman might show up: during the Globes, he was to be found modeling clothes at a catwalk show in Milan. Competing in the front row for Best Director is TTSS‘s Thomas Alfredson, who along with Hazanavicius, Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and Lynne Ramsey (We Need To Talk About Kevin) will all be trying to wrest the award away from red-hot favorite Martin Scorsese for Hugo (which received nine nominations). We think we’ll need to talk about Marty because, not only did he just collect a Globe but has already won a BAFTA this year, as he’ll be awarded the prestigious Fellowship, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him double up.

But some didn’t do as well as the BAFTA longlist suggested: Two films with a distinctly British flavor that will be licking their wounds include My Week With Marilyn (six nominations) and The Iron Lady (four). But their leading ladies, Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep, who both won Globes this past weekend, will go head-to-head for Best Actress. The streaking Streep is the clear front-runner for her portrayal of polarizing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But, if anything, Viola Davis (The Help), might prove to be her main competition whereas Tilda Swinton (Kevin) and Berenice Bejo (The Artist) arguably make up the numbers.

Speaking of the Oscars, it must be asked whether the BAFTAs can be seen as a reliable bellwether for Hollywood’s big night. What’s undeniable is that BAFTA’s smart decision to move itself up in the awards calendar has made it more relevant (and attracts a healthy smattering of Hollywood’s A-list to turn up). Only time will tell whether Oscar follows BAFTA, but recent history does suggest that British films can benefit from the BAFTA bounce. Last year The King’s Speech won seven BAFTAs and four Oscars, including Best Picture. And in 2009, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire took home seven BAFTAs, including Best Film but went on to go one better, nabbing eight Oscars. But even if Tinker Tailor and its peers don’t translate BAFTA success into Oscar glory, at least they can take comfort in being recognized – as surprising as it sounds, Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life didn’t receive a single nomination despite many a rave review. Silence was indeed the watchword.

read the full list of nomination on the following page:

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