The WGA and BAFTA gave out their awards this weekend. I am sorry to report that there were very few surprising results. What surprises were in store, though, were quite rewarding.
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire (based upon the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup)
Beat out Eric Roth's Benjamin Button, Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon, John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, and The Nolans' The Dark Knight. Of course, it's the only nominated screenplay I haven't read. I haven't read the novel either, and that's also the one exception here. I need to read the damn script already. 'Twould be nice to know what the fuss is about.
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Beat out Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Robert Siegel's The Wrestler, Thomas McCarthy's The Visitor, The Coens' Burn After Reading. I've not read Siegel's script, but the rest I have. This is a good choice, I have no qualms. It seems the Screenplay race is decided. Dammit, when even these categories get dull and predictable....
The BAFTAs announced today, and that's always interesting. They allow double nominees in acting categories, say "FUCK YOU" to category fraud, and have the tendency to surprise us all. Even if they have the same movies, they nominate them in unfamiliar categories. Let's just look.
BEST FILM: Slumdog Millionaire
Same nominees as the Oscars. It's getting to be a dull affair, isn't it? What's worse, I keep reading how it's the "under dog". Really? Do people not know what that word means?
BEST DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Defeated Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Clint Eastwood (Changeling), David Fincher (Benjamin Button), and Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon). It makes sense. He's the front-runner, one of two Brits nominated. Plus, Boyle's done a lot for British cinema. And he's the front-runner.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
Also-rans: Dustin Lance Black's Milk, Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long, The Coens' Burn After Reading, J. Michael Straczynski's Changeling. I was right. It really is All Awesome on the McDonagh Front. Much admiration for this pick.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Beat out David Hare for The Reader, Justin Haythe for Revolutionary Road, Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. So, now he's won everything. And he'll get the Oscar, too. Beaufoy, by the way, also wrote Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a film deeply admired here (Hollmann Award Nominee for Best Actress, Frances McDormand). So now that I know that, awesome!
BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: I've Loved You So Long
Defeated The Baader Meinhof Complex, Gomorrah, Persepolis, Waltz with Bashir. This movie wasn't even in contention for this category at the Oscars. Of these, I've only seen Persepolis. Last year. So...why am I commenting on this at all?
BEST ANIMATED FILM: WALL-E
Beating out Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir. Obv. WALL-E is so going to own this category.
BEST LEADING ACTOR: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Also nominated: Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Sean Penn (Milk), and Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button). Last year, BAFTA matched Oscar's acting categories four-for-four, so this may bode well for Rourke. The idea of a split between him and Penn for a win by Langella or Jenkins or Pitt is an interesting one, though. Like when Adrien Brody beat out Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson in 2002.
BEST LEADING ACTRESS: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Not only did she win against herself for Revolutionary Road, but Meryl Streep (Doubt), Angelina Jolie (Changeling) and Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long) are also bridesmaids. After last year, this could bode well for Winslet, who always wins for The Reader when it's nominated. I'm still not completely convinced, of course, but that's because I like suspense.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
The Losers: Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading). What an awesome lineup this was. That posthumous Oscar is looking like a done deal for Heath. Bring it, says I.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Nommies: Amy Adams in Doubt, Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire, Tilda Swinton in Burn After Reading and Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler. BAFTA and I remain the only ones to nomainte Adams without Viola Davis. A Cruz win here is awesome, and a Cruz win at the Oscars would mean a spiritual win for Woody Allen. Which is, of course, amazing.
For complete results, check this out.