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BAFTA Film Head On Why ‘Barbie’ & ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’ May Have Missed Out In Some Key Categories

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer continued its commanding awards showing this morning, clocking a leading 13 BAFTA noms. Disappearing from the season’s leading pack, however, was Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which only clocked five noms after being longlisted in 15 categories.

“You can’t try to play a guessing game about what our nearly 8,000 voters will vote for,” Anna Higgs, BAFTA Film Committee Chair, said of this afternoon’s nominations and high-profile omissions.

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“The field is so competitive. This year, our entries are up, so we’ve had more films to consider, but our members have been watching more hours and more films than ever before. We really are trying to level the playing field and see films on their own merit, so there is a broader range of films in there.”

Since its 2020 review, BAFTA has implemented vast structural changes to its voting regulations, including the introduction of ‘viewing groups’ where each voting member is provided a group of around 15 films which they are recommended to prioritize before casting their votes.

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“What we’re seeing numerically in the stats is that people are watching beyond their viewing group,” Higgs said of the new voter viewing regulations. “Anecdotally, I’m hearing from members that they love the viewing group. They don’t feel it’s an imposition. Members are saying they’re watching films they would never have heard of.”

High-profile names also missing in leading categories included Martin Scorsese in best director, and his Killers Of The Flower Moon lead, Lily Gladstone, in best actress. There was also nothing for Todd Hayne’s May December or Netflix’s Nyad, starring Jodie Foster and Annette Bening. Surprise nominations that popped up this morning included Rye Lane’s Vivian Oparah in leading actress.

“You’ve got all of those heavy hitters and favorites, as you might put it, in the mix, but you also have films not in the English language up in categories that they might not normally be,” Higgs said.

“That’s something to celebrate and reflects BAFTA’s position at the heart of the global film industry. We sit between Europe and the US. We hold a really interesting place internationally.”

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The leading non-English language films in this year’s nominations are Jonathan Glazer’s Polish-language holocaust drama The Zone Of Interest with nine and Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or-winning Anatomy Of A Fall, which lodged seven nominations, including best film.

Alongside a strong international showing, there is also a prominent British presence in this year’s BAFTA nominations, which Higgs — a former Meta and Film4 exec — described as the best example of the eclecticism in UK filmmaking.

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“I’m thrilled to see the huge range in the outstanding British category. That’s an A to Z there to die for,” she said. “You go from literally ‘A’ for All Of Us Strangers through to ‘Z’ for The Zone Of Interest. But through that, you’ve got How To Have Sex, Rye Lane, and Wonka in the mix. What could be better for a film fan or film practitioner looking at that works being celebrated?”

The 2024 BAFTA ceremony will take place February 18 at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London and will be broadcast on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK and BritBox International in the states, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and South Africa. Actor David Tennant has been set as the show’s host.

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