BAFTA Awards Analysis: A Rare Four Animated Feature Nominees, Diverse Shorts, And ‘The Lion King’ Up For VFX
The nominees for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), the U.K.’s equivalent of the Oscars, are out. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts made the announcement this morning. A few takeaways:
The animated feature category has thrown up no real surprises. Walt Disney Animation Studios’s Frozen 2 and Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story 4 are both nominated, as is A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon from BAFTA regulars Aardman Animations. The list is rounded out by Netflix’s Klaus.
Missing Link, Laika’s surprise Golden Globe winner, is absent, as are any indie titles — but then these rarely get BAFTA voters’ attention anyway. That said, the consistent snubbing of I Lost My Body this award season surprises us. It’s a striking, supremely polished work which launched with a bang, picking up awards at Cannes Critics’ Week and Annecy, and it has Netflix’s publicity machine behind it.
A Disney win is less of a given at the BAFTAs than the Oscars, and the award could well go to Klaus — which has yet to pick up steam in this award race — or Shaun the Sheep, even if Aardman has never actually won in this category.
For the second time only, this category has four (not three) nominees. As per the rules, the number of nominees is decided “at the discretion of the Film Committee and dependent on number of entries,” and is capped at five.
Disney’s campaign strategy for The Lion King, which it is misleadingly pushing as a vfx contender, has worked on the BAFTAs. Whereas the Golden Globes recognized it as the animated film it really is, the BAFTAs’ special visual effects chapter have nominated it in their category. It competes against two other Disney titles — Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — as well as World War I epic 1917 and Martin Scorsese’s de-aged gangster drama The Irishman.
The BAFTAs tend to distinguish themselves in the animated shorts category, which is limited to films with significant creative input from Brits, and is far more open to indie works than the equivalent Oscars category. So it has proved this year, with an eclectic list comprising Iran-set family comedy Grandad Was A Romantic, rotoscoped migration drama The Magic Boat, and graduation film In Her Boots.
Notably, all three shorts have a female nominee (two directors and a producer), and they have several non-white filmmakers between them. This sets them apart from nominations in the more high-profile categories, which have been heavily criticized this year for failing to reflect diversity. See trailers and stills below:
Some reactions from the nominees:
Klaus writer/director Sergio Pablos and producer Jinko Gotoh:
“We are extremely honored to be nominated for the Bafta Awards. Many thanks to the members of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Klaus would not be here without our relentless crew of 260-plus talented artists and technicians representing 22 countries, and of course without Atresmedia and Netflix, who believed in our vision to take traditional animation forward. We hope others will continue to innovate and diversify the animation medium.”
#GrandadWasARomantic is nominated for a @BAFTA !!!! Thank you thank you thank you @suehardingfoley @FonicPost #TaneraDawkins #2danimation #womeninfilm #screenplay #shortfilm https://t.co/lEYuZMeyTm
— Maryam Mohajer (@MaryamMohajerP) January 7, 2020
I’m absolutely speechless. I can’t even begin to process this incredible news. I made 'The Magic Boat' from my bedroom over the course of seven months. And this tiny film has made it amongst this insanely talented group of people. Thank you @BAFTA for this incredible honour. https://t.co/E9HWRFk02I
— Naaman Azhari (@NaamanTells) January 7, 2020
WOW! I am speechless. In Her Boots is nominated for a BAFTA! https://t.co/PZt4wNZhIs
— Kathrin Steinbacher (@kathrinsteinb) January 7, 2020
The nominees in full:
- Frozen 2 — Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
- Klaus — Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh
- A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon — Will Becher, Richard Phelan, Paul Kewley
- Toy Story 4 — Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen
Special visual effects
- 1917 — Greg Butler, Guillaume Rocheron, Dominic Tuohy
- Avengers: Endgame — Dan Deleeuw, Dan Sudick
- The Irishman — Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Pablo Helman
- The Lion King — Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Elliot Newman, Adam Valdez
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy
British short animation
- Grandad Was a Romantic. — Maryam Mohajer
- In Her Boots — Kathrin Steinbacher
- The Magic Boat — Naaman Azhari, Lilia Laurel
The BAFTA ceremony will take place on Sunday, February 2 in London’s Royal Albert Hall.