News – The 2014 BAFTA Awards: Winners and Effect on the Oscars

by Justin Cook 

This past Sunday the 2014 BAFTA awards were held in London. For those of you who are not familiar with the BAFTAs, they are in essence the British equivalent of the Academy Awards. In general, BAFTA nominees and winners provide a pretty good indication of who we can expect to see take home some of the bigger prizes Oscar night. In fact, every year since 2009, the BAFTA winner for Best Film went on to win best picture.

Last night, the Best Film ended up going to 12 Years a Slave, which was up against some pretty stiff competition between Gravity and American Hustle. All three films are contenders for the Oscar, but with this win, 12 Years a Slave has become a slight front-runner. 12 Years a Slave has received universal acclaim and tells the grueling story of former slave, Solomon Northup.

The BAFTAs also give out an award for Best British Film, which ended up going to Gravity. Gravity is a Mexican and American film as well. The film also took home the award for Special Visual Effects, Cinematography and Sound.

Gravity director, Alfonso Cuaron went on to win Best Director, a well-deserved win considering how Gravity is widely known as a “game changing” movie in the world of film. On Oscar night, the race for Best Director will probably come down to Cuaron, and Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. McQueen tackled an issue in Slave that we seen many times before, but haven’t quite seen it depicted in such a realistic light before this release. Cuaron, on the other hand, made a film that was not only a box office smash, but also an extremely entertaining space adventure about the human condition. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

One of the award’s biggest surprises of last night’s awards was Barkhad Abdi taking home the award for Best Supporting Actor for Captain Phillips, where he plays a Somali pirate, who takes workers on a cargo ship hostage. The role was his feature film debut. Abdi went up against frontrunner for the Oscar, Michael Fassbender as well as several other well known faces. Noticeably absent from the nominees was Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, who also is a strong contender for the award. The BAFTAs for the most part have been pretty spot on in the Best Supporting Actor category when it comes to who will win the Oscar, so although it’s unlikely, there is a chance Abdi can take home the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. If she wins the Oscar, this will be the second year in a row where she takes home the award. Lawrence won the Best Actress Oscar last year for her role as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. The Oscar race comes down to her and 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the abused slave named Patsy.

Best Actor went to Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave and Best Actress went to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. Blanchett is nearly a lock to win the Oscar, while Ejiofor will have to go head to head with Matthew McConaughey for the award.

Overall, the BAFTAs proved to be a good indication of what we can expect from the Oscars. It should be pretty exciting to see, which films will get snubbed and which ones come out on top on March 2nd.

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