Nomadland, the English film directed by Chloe Zhao starring Frances McDormand, bagged four awards out of seven nominations at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA), including the Best Film award, on April 11. The 74th edition of the BAFTA was held in two parts- the craft awards on April 10 and performance awards on April 11.
Zhao and McDormand won the Best Director and the Best Leading Actress Awards, respectively. The film, that revolves around the life of a female nomad, also picked the award for best cinematography. On April 11, Zhao became the first woman of colour to win the best Directorial Directors’ Guild of America Award.
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) April 11, 2021
Following Nomadland, films like Promising Young Woman, Rocks, Soul, Sound of Metal, The Father, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, won two awards each. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, made its mark at Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards. While the film bagged no titles in the acting categories, it took home awards for the best costume, and hair and make-up.
Anthony Hopkins of The Father won the Best Leading Actor Award, breaking late actor Boseman’s posthumous winning streak. The film also won the Best Adapted Screenplay prize, the same category which saw the nomination of The White Tiger featuring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, and Adarsh Gourav. Gourav received his first BAFTA nomination in the leading actor category.
Promising Young Woman won in the outstanding British film and original screenplay categories. Contrary to expectations of another win for the Korean-American family drama Minari, the Danish film Another Round won in the best foreign language film, or Film Not in the English Language category. However, Minari‘s Yuh-Jung-Youn picked the golden mask in the best supporting leading actress category and Daniel Kaluuya won in the male counterpart category for Judas and the Black Messiah.
BAFTA Fellowship, the organisation’s highest honour, was awarded to filmmaker Ang Lee by Hugh Grant, for his contribution to cinema through films like Crouching Tiger, Life of Pi, Sense and Sensibility, and others.
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) April 11, 2021
The event was conducted, and hosted by Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary, virtually from the Royal Albert Hall in London and was broadcast on BBC channels. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, presides over BAFTA’s committee, but he was unable to attend the event this year following the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip, on April 9.
The 2020 BAFTA Awards was criticised for having all-white nominees in its performance categories, especially in acting. Social media brimmed with #BAFTAsSoWhite and raised questions on inclusion and diversity. Its chair, Krishnendu Majumdar, addressed the issue in a 2020 review, and stated, “The 2020 Film Awards nominations earlier this year highlighted some uncomfortable truths for BAFTA and represents its own moment of reckoning,” adding that the 2020 nominations “showed we are a long way from where we want to be.”
A year after facing flak for not nominating non-white actors, the BAFTAs saw the most diverse nominations. The awards committee claimed so in its press release that read, “In a first for BAFTA, four women have been nominated in the best director category. Three of the nominated directors are also nominated for Film Not in the English Language.”
A total of 21 of the total 24 names in the performance categories are first time nominees.
Other winners include:
Best Film– Nomadland
Outstanding British Film– Promising Young Woman
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer– Remi Weekes (His House)
Film Not in the English Language– Another Round (Danish)
Documentary– My Octopus Teacher
Animated Film– Soul
Director– Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Original Screenplay– Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Adapted Screenplay– Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller (The Father)
Original Score– Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (Soul)
Editing– Mikkel E.G. Nielsen (Sound of Metal)
The list of winners is linked here.