It’s been a pleasingly memorable year for British movies, and BAFTA 2014 has corralled six of the very best nominations for the illustrious Outstanding British Film prize on 16 February.
Gravity (also a nominee in the Best Film category) may not look from the outside like a British movie, but it’s been deemed so by BAFTA, on account of its English producer (David Hayman). It was also shot here in the UK, specifically at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. The universally loved movie has already scooped up a Best Director gong for Alfonso Cuaron at the Golden Globes.
Similarly, making-of-Mary-Poppins drama Saving Mr. Banks may not scream Brit-movie, but its BBC Films/Disney co-production credentials qualify it as such. The movie has already hoovered up Best Actress (Emma Thompson) and Best Family Film statues at the Las Vegas Film Critics Society ceremony as well as the Audience Award at the Capri Film Festival earlier this month.
Then there’s Philomena, Stephen Frears’ acclaimed adaptation of journalist Martin Sixsmith’s book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. Steve Coogan (who also penned the BAFTA nominated script) plays Sixsmith and Judi Dench plays the eponymous Philomena. The movie is a funny and poignant road movie as the cockily metropolitan Sixsmith and the deeply religious Lee travel round the United States in search of her long-lost son.
Epic biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom takes us from Nelson Mandela’s childhood in the 1920s through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of South Africa. The film has drawn praise for its electrifying performances from Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, and recently bagged a Best Original Song win (for U2) at the Golden Globes.
Though it’s directed by American Ron Howard, Rush is British through and through. The story of the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, it’s a gripping tale of two very different men and their love of speed at any cost. BAFTA have already given a Best Film gong to a previous Peter Morgan-scripted true life story (The Queen) - will they do it again this year?
Finally, this year’s “dark horse” nominee is The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard’s loose reworking of Oscar Wilde’s short story. A raw, Ken Loach-inspired tale of growing up in working class Bradford, it’s a powerful and emotionally charged film, which could very well surprise us on the night.
Check out the rest of this year's hopeful winners on our official BAFTA page and keep an eye out for screenings at your local Cineworld.