All the 2020 BAFTA nominees (and who should win…)

From a tight race for best director to a fashionable fight for best costume design, we roll out the red carpet and make our predictions for 2 February

Pull out your finest tuxedo — it’s awards season! And the culmination of all the glitz, glamour and shameless campaigning in Britain is the BAFTAs — our esteemed precursor to the Academy Awards. This year, there’s already been controversy around a lack of diversity in the acting categories, as well as female representation in the directing category. But the show, as always, will go on.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a whole lot of talent still on show. From big names including Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Al Pacino in the acting categories, to directors and screenwriters from Quentin Tarantino to Martin Scorsese, most awards could go several ways. We’ve chosen ten awards, and decided who they should go home with…

Best Film

The nominees:

  • 1917
  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
  • Parasite

It’s tough being the BAFTAs — especially when you’ve got to shortlist just five titles for the Best Film category. Back in 2009, the Oscars finally bowed to the pressure and upped the nominations in this category from five to ten, and the Golden Globes split the field into ‘Drama’ and ‘Musical or Comedy’ categories. No such luck or leniency from the stiff-upper-lipped British Academy however – we’re still stuck with just five.

So who made the cut? We’ve got the big Scorsese-tinged two; The Irishman and Joker. But, with this being a British award, and 1917 already taking the Golden Globe home, we’d wager Sam Mendes and co. will be lifting the mask this year. Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood may have also bagged a Globe, but we’d be surprised if it won out over 1917’s pure patriotism and the single-shot style that won Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman the Academy Award for Best Picture back in 2015.

What about the South Korean Parasite, we hear you cry? That would mean BAFTA had handed this award to two foreign language films in a row (after last year’s Roma) and, as good as the black comedy may be, we just don’t see it happening.

Who should win: 1917

Who will win: 1917

Best Director

The nominees:

  • 1917, Sam Mendes
  • The Irishman, Martin Scorsese
  • Joker, Todd Phillips
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho

This is a tricky one. Sam Mendes, as a native Brit and the proud winner of the Golden Globe for 1917, would appear to be the safe choice. And the likelihood is that the Skyfall and Spectre director will indeed take home the statuette. But it’s a strong field, and we wouldn’t put too substantial a sum on it. Todd Phillips would be our wildcard here — Joker has the most nominations overall, and the director’s about-turn from schlock like The Hangover to the seriously serious comic book origin movie has been shocking and joyful in equal measure.

Elsewhere, Tarantino and Scorsese seem to be token nominations. True, Tarantino’s film is a very personal ode to filmmaking as a whole, and Scorsese has pushed de-ageing technology to its pioneering limits with The Irishman, but they just don’t seem as exciting as Phillips or Mendes. Bong Joon-ho has crafted a truly gripping story with Parasite, but the direction itself is nowhere near as exciting as his previous fare, such as Snowpiercer or even Netflix’s Okja.

Who should win: Todd Phillips

Who will win: Sam Mendes

Best Leading Actor

The nominees:

  • Leonardo Dicaprio, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood
  • Adam Driver, Marriage Story
  • Taron Egerton, Rocketman
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
  • Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

We’re always thankful for the Golden Globes, because they give often overlooked performances the chance to revel in some well-deserved recognition. Take Taron Egerton’s turn as Elton John, for example. A stellar performance — and a winner at the Globes — but as the film’s musical/comedy stylings side-stepped the seriousness of Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury, we can’t see it beating out grounded, gritty performances such as Adam Driver in Marriage Story or Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker at the BAFTAs.

Phoenix will almost certainly win out here. And for good reason; his grungy, unsettling performance topped even Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the character — and Ledger picked up a posthumous Oscar back in 2009. Jonathan Pryce and DiCaprio appear to be largely non-players here, turning in solid but not spectacular performances. But we keep rocketing back to Taron Egerton’s Elton. A Brit playing a Brit in a British film? He just might swing it.

Who should win: Taron Egerton

Who will win: Joaquin Phoenix

Best Leading Actress

The nominees:

  • Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose
  • Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
  • Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
  • Charlize Theron, Bombshell
  • Renée Zellweger, Judy

We’ll be completely honest here: we haven’t seen Wild Rose. And that’s because we didn’t hear much buzz about it at the time; which you’d think we would’ve done if Jessie Buckley’s performance in the film was BAFTA-winning. Perhaps that’s unfair — but we’d be very surprised if Buckley proved to be anything but a token Brit in a field of largely American contenders.

Renée Zellweger could well follow in the footsteps of Marion Cotillard’s Edith Piaf and Reese Witherspoon’s June Carter and win the BAFTA for playing a legendary singer, and we imagine her turn as Judy Garland will come out on top. Although it would be nice to see Saoirse Ronan scoop up the prize on her fifth(?!) nomination, especially as Scarlett Johansson has another chance at a statuette in the ‘Supporting Actress’ category. But, more than anything, we’d like to see Charlize Theron win her first BAFTA for a completely baffling transformation into Megyn Kelly in Bombshell.

Who should win: Charlize Theron

Who will win: Renée Zellweger

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees:

  • Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
  • Al Pacino, The Irishman
  • Joe Pesci, The Irishman
  • Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Brad! Brad! A thousand times Brad! Like his Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt has had something of a dry spell when it comes to awards seasons. He may have been nominated for an acting BAFTA three times in the past, but he’s never won. Until now (we hope). Surely no-one deserves this as much as Brad, whose quietly heroic, nuanced performance as former stuntman Cliff Booth was surely the highlight of Tarantino’s latest.

Don’t get us wrong. Joe Pesci was also the best thing about The Irishman (quite why Pacino has been nominated at all, we don’t know) and Tom Hanks is probably his usual tour de force in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood — again, we’re yet to see it. We suspect Hopkins, however, is that Jessie Buckley-style token Brit. But forget them all, because this is Brad’s year — we know it.

Who should win: Brad Pitt

Who will win: Brad Pitt

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees:

  • Laura Dern, Marriage Story
  • Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
  • Florence Pugh, Little Women
  • Margot Robbie, Bombshell
  • Margot Robbie, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

It’s a double Robbie! Two Margots for the price of one. Unfortunately, we’re not sure that the Australian will be taking home a statuette, despite having twice the chance of any other nominee. For this category, we’d put money on Laura Dern coming up trumps for her performance as brash, acerbic lawyer Nora Fanshaw in Marriage Story. Alas, Dern will walk it.

Scarlett Johansson is less likely to win for Jojo Rabbit than she is for Marriage Story, with less screen time and a less meaty role in Taika Waititi’s latest. And Florence Pugh — before we all shout ‘Token Brit!’ — should be a winner here, but not for Little Women. Rather, the 24-year-old should have got a nod for her chilling, devastating performance in folk horror Midsommar.

Who should win: Florence Pugh (for Midsommar)

Who will win: Laura Dern

Best Original Screenplay

The nominees:

  • Booksmart, Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Katie Silberman
  • Knives Out, Rian Johnson
  • Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
  • Parasite, Han Jin Won, Bong Joon-Ho

For all of its lush shots and fabulous costumes, there’s not much of a story to Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood — which begs the question: how did Quentin Tarantino get a nomination here? It also begs the question: how did he recently win the Golden Globe in this category for the winding, narrative-less film? We’ll never know. Parasite has a twistier tale, Marriage Story is crammed with double the emotion and Booksmart was one of our films of the year.

But the winner, naturally, obviously, clearly, is Knives Out. Rian Johnson dreamt up, wrote and directed the modern whodunnit — and we couldn’t think of a more worthy winner of this award than his murdery, magnificent film. Unfortunately, previous years have seen films win whose primary appeal weren’t their stories — such as The Favourite, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Artist. So, while we’d love to see Johnson take the gong, we’re expecting Tarantino.

Who should win: Rian Johnson

Who will win: Quentin Tarantino

Best Costume Design

The nominees:

  • The Irishman, Christopher Peterson, Sandy Powell
  • Jojo Rabbit, Mayes C. Rubeo
  • Judy, Jany Temime
  • Little Women, Jacqueline Durran
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Arianne Phillips

And now we venture into uncharted territory. With no such category at the Golden Globes, it’s all to play for in the costume contest. But we’ve got a few inklings. Firstly, it’s key to point out that all of the nominated films are historically set. But, while some pushed the bombastic boat out and stretched the seams of realism, others played it straight.

For that reason, we’d put Little Women and Judy at the bottom of our list. The Irishman would also be an underdog — if it weren’t for Sandy Powell’s magnificent achievement of dressing the cast throughout four decades. Equally, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood features heightened costumes; exaggerated styles of the time that never teeter over into caricature. We’d put money on Tarantino’s pic swinging it — but we’d love to see Jojo Rabbit win; pulling off comedy Nazi uniforms is no mean feat…

Who should win: Jojo Rabbit

Who will win: Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Best Casting

The nominees:

  • Joker, Shayna Markowitz
  • Marriage Story, Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler
  • Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Victoria Thomas
  • The Personal History Of David Copperfield, Sarah Crowe
  • The Two Popes, Nina Gold

This one’s even trickier to call — and that’s because it’s a brand new category. After calls from casting directors to have their work recognised, BAFTA has rounded up the best work from this oft-overlooked part of the industry and will announce who has won the inaugural award on the 2 February. And it’s a mixed bag.

Joker hinges on Joaquin Phoenix, so good job there, but other than De Niro who else do you remember in the cast? It’s the same with The Two Popes; well-cast, but nothing very outside of the box. Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood could swing it for the size of the cast, and the challenges of casting real-life people (hello Damien Lewis as Steve McQueen), but we’d have to give it to one of the last two pictures. Marriage Story saw Laura Dern cast against type and Ray Liotta making a cinematic comeback, and The Personal History of David Copperfield is a joyous celebration of diversity, screen legends and, of course, Tilda Swinton.

Who should win: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Who will win: Marriage Story

Rising Star Award

The nominees:

  • Awkwafina
  • Jack Lowden
  • Kaitlyn Dever
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr.
  • Micheal Ward

We’ll let you in on a secret: we’ve got an agenda when it comes to the Rising Star award. Last year, in the Gentleman’s Journal Acting Special, we profiled one of these young actors in our ‘Name Drop’. And, with a storming upcoming role in upcoming Al Capone biopic Fonzo, we’d love to see the talented Jack Lowden take home the gong.

However, he’s got strong competition. Kelvin Harrison Jr. was layered and wise beyond his years in the way he approached his role in Luce, Kaitlyn Dever had us on the floor in stitches during Booksmart, and Michael Ward brought real power to the screen with performances in both Top Boy and Blue Story. But Awkwafina will win; forget calling her a Rising Star — she won best actress at this weekend’s Golden Globes.

Who should win: Jack Lowden

Who will win: Awkwafina

Last year, we rounded up the films you should be seeing in 2019. How many did you check off?

Further Reading