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BAFTA 2014: 'Gravity' and '12 Years' big winners, will Oscars follow?

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Well, now there’s nothing left to do but wait. The BAFTA Awards handed out their year-end honors for 2013, and with it the last major precursor prior to the Academy Awards. BAFTA didn’t disappoint as the pen ultimate in an already crazy year on the circuit.

The British Academy Film Awards named “12 Years a Slave” their best film of the year, but the most wins would go to “Gravity,” including best British film of the year and best director. The ripples of BAFTA’s winner’s however aren’t just limited to those two films, or even the major categories.

Gravity” grabbed six trophies Sunday, but one key omission was for best editing. Long considered a favorite at the Oscars, “Gravity” was not able to win at BAFTA’s, “Rush” pulled off the upset, or with the Editor’s guild, losing to “Captain Phillips.” Editing is a major below the line category when it comes to best picture, but the nomination is more important than win in predicting picture winner. Likely this just means “Gravity” has a tougher road in adding to it’s eventually tally, and not a back-breaker in its run for best picture.

Screenplay saw “American Hustle” take the trophy for original and “Philomena” surprising in adapted. It is “Hustle’s” first major win after “Her” took the Golden Globe and WGA award. However, “Her” was not a nominee at BAFTA. “Hustle” definitely gets a bump for the win, but it still has yet to beat “Her” when the two have been nominated against each other. “Philomena’s” win over “12 Years a Slave” was one of the bigger upsets, but it may have been a case of BAFTA spreading love to an entirely British production. “12 Years” is still the heavy favorite.

In the acting races, the leads went pretty much as expected. Cate Blanchett now looks to make a clean sweep for best actress at the Oscars, and Chiwetel Ejiofor nabbed the win for best actor. Presumed Oscar front-runner Matthew McConaughey was not nominated, and again Ejiofor’s win, as deserved as it is, could be in part the Brits wanting to honor one of their own. A bigger impact would have been Leonardo DiCaprio winning, but this loss clears the path for McConaughey a little, but neither Ejiofor nor DiCaprio can be overlooked.

Things were much more interesting in the supporting races. Barkhad Abdi won for best supporting actor, topping fellow Oscar nominees Bradley Cooper and Michael Fassbender. In actress, Jennifer Lawrence topped chief rival Lupita Nyong’o. Lawrence’s win is the biggest of the night. Out of the four biggest precursors for actors (Globes, SAG, Critics Choice and BAFTA) Lawrence and Nyong’o are now even, each winning two. This is the closest of all the acting races. Abdi, on the other hand, moves up in consideration, but still is unlikely for a win. Jared Leto, the Oscar favorite, was not nominated here.

BAFTA has had a great run over the last 12 years in helping to predict the Oscars. All major categories except adapted screenplay have matched up with the Academy more than 50% of the time, and adapted only fails to meet that because it is right at 50%. Even with those numbers, it is hard to say that predicting the Oscars has gotten any easier after Sunday. “12 Years,” “Gravity” and “Hustle” all helped their cause. With only two weeks left in the race BAFTA’s primary contribution was adding to the clutter, not clearing anything up. This is turning into one of the more exciting Oscars in years though, and that is hard to complain about that.

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