Who will win the BAFTA for Best Director? Robbie Davidson gives us his predictions
You would never accuse BAFTA voters of being jingoistic or provincial when it comes to nominating best directors. The nominations for the 66th BAFTAs have once again shown that us Brits (or the BAFTA members at least) are not afraid to bestow our highest of film honours on a foreigner. This year’s nominees show not a single British director in the shortlist: the Americans dominate with three nominations plus representatives from Austria and Taiwan. Contrast that with the French Cesar shortlist, which was announced this week, where all but one of the nominees are French and we see why the BAFTAs are the far more sought after award on the international stage.
This year sees two returning winners looking to take home their second gold face: Kathryn Bigelow won her first BAFTA three years ago for The Hurt Locker, whilst Ang Lee won for Brokeback Mountain in 2006. Joining them is Quentin Tarantino who is on his third nomination for Best Director having been previously nominated for Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. Filling the last two spots are two first time nominees Ben Affleck and Michael Haneke.
In terms of how well the director nominations are mirrored by the Best Film nominations there are the usual odd disparities: neither Amour (Michael Haneke) or Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino) have received best film nods which history shows us does not normally bode well for picking up the best film award. However even a win for Best Film does not guarantee victory in the Best Director category, as Tom Hooper would likely attest to, having lost out two years ago to David Fincher and this year not even receiving a nomination despite Les Miserables being nominated for Best Film. Steven Spielberg will likely also be scratching his head having been snubbed in the director category despite Lincoln receiving the most nominations this year (10). Mr Spielberg would be forgiven for feeling a little hard done by having not received a Best Director nomination from BAFTA since 1997 for Saving Private Ryan.
With all this taken into account, the Best Director BAFTA should be Ben Affleck’s for the taking for the fantastic Argo. Whilst there’s no ruling out a last minute surge in popularity for Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which is released in the UK this week, the momentum remains behind Affleck who has won the admiration of many, having made a triumphant transition to top director from his faltering acting career and was shockingly absent from the Best Director Oscar nominees. Go Ben!