So much happening and I was seized by offsite emergencies. Apologies. In the wee hours of the morning here in the States... we'll call it "last night", BAFTA announced their nominations and went wild for all six of the top presumed Best Picture Oscar nominees. The biggest surprise inclusion in the British Academy's list has to be the Best Actor nomination for Ben Affleck in Argo (in place of the usual suspect John Hawkes from The Sessions... though Denzel Washington was also absent since The Master was well represented in the acting categories). BAFTA's devotion to their fellow countrymen is a factor each year -- it's no surprise to see Skyfall with 8 nominations because BAFTA loves Bond (Casino Royale had 9 nominations in 2006!) . But this 'Brits first!' thing is also grossly exaggerated by the media since it's hardly an infallible formula. Supporting Actress hopeful Maggie Smith is noticeably absent - note the one nomination "British film" for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. And though Anna Karenina rebounded in awards season with several nominations here, Keira Knightley was not rescued from its train tracks in Best Actress where Helen Mirren held on to her default Best Actress bid --- will she do the same tomorrow with Oscar?.
The biggest oddity of the day? Steven Spielberg's Lincoln led the pack with 10 nominations but Steven Spielberg himself was not nominated for directing it. It's totally deja vu -- t'was nearly the exact Oscar nomination fate of The Color Purple (1985) with 11 nods but none for the man in the director's chair!