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BIFA Nominations: Amy, Ex Machina, Macbeth, and More...

We've already heard from the Gotham Awards (New York's indie awards) and now we're off to the UK for their rough equivalent the Moet British Independent Film Awards. The leaders are the absurdist festival sensation The Lobster (reviewed), the marital drama 45 Years - go Charlotte Rampling! (reviewed), and the long-awaited Macbeth (reviewed). Doesn't it feel like the latter has had buzz for about 16 months now without ever appearing in US theaters? Annoying. We still can't make sense of the US release plans for it. 

Best British Independent Film + Best Director
Amy”  Asif Kapadia
Ex Machina” Alex Garland
45 Years” Andrew Haigh
The Lobster” Yorgos Lanthimos
Macbeth” Justin Kurzel

The Lobster is may be the presumed frontrunner given its hefty 7 nomination total, but The Film Experience's position is that Ex-Machina deserves some awardage and it better be here because where else is it going to be, you know?

A 5/5 match with film and director suggests that the voting wasn't even close and those films were far out front though High-Rise, Brooklyn, and Suffragette also enjoyed multiple nominations

The complete list of nominees with brief commentary is after the jump...

Best Actor
Tom Courtenay, “45 Years”
Colin Farrell, “The Lobster”
Michael Fassbender, “Macbeth”
Tom Hardy, “Legend”
Tom Hiddleston, “High-Rise”

"Tom" is the magic name this year. Tom times three. None of these films have opened in the US yet and TFE happens to like all five actors quite a lot (which is rare for a male acting lineup). Distributors are really testing our patience this year! 


Alicia Vikander is having a superb year, thank you very much.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, “Macbeth”
Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

We're only two nomination lists in this year but it's fun that there's not one repeat for Best Actress from the Gotham list... and both lists are just glorious. We who love actresses are having a grand year, are we not? One objection: Alicia Vikander is better in Ex-Machina and since they loved that movie... 

Also with Tom Courtenay and Alicia Vikander both showing up in lead for marital dramas hopefully this will tell their respective Oscar campaign managers that supporting campaigns are whack when a movie is about a marriage. Last time we checked marital dramas require two people to be involved pretty equally. 

Best Supporting Actor
Luke Evans, “High-Rise”
Brendan Gleeson, “Suffragette”
Domhnall Gleeson, “Brooklyn”
Sean Harris, “Macbeth”
Ben Whishaw, “The Lobster”

Brendan and Domnhall Gleeson in Suffragette and Brooklyn, respectively

Cute - father & son nominees. Brendan & Domnhall are both wonderful in their respective films with roles that probably aren't showcased enough for Oscar traction so good on BIFA for nodding in their direction. 

P.S. Never thought we'd live to see Luke Evans in an acting nomination lineup!

Best Supporting Actress
Helena Bonham Carter, “Suffragette”
Olivia Colman, “The Lobster”
Anne-Marie Duff, “Suffragette”
Sienna Miller, “High-Rise”
Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”

Yay for actual supporting roles in supporting acting awards!!!

I haven't had the privilege to see The Lobster as of yet but people seem very enthused (to put it lightly) about Olivia Colman's work and we're fond of her from her phenomenal work in Tyrannosaur. Yay for Julie Walters who is a hoot in Brooklyn.

Best Screenplay
Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Amy Jump, “High-Rise”
Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, “The Lobster”


Best Foreign Independent Film
Force Majeure
Son of Saul

US, Sweden, France, Canada, and Hungary in the house! Son of Saul (reviewed) is the only one of these films that qualifies for Oscar's Foreign Language Film category this year. 

Best Debut Director (Douglas Hickox Award)
Chris and Ben Blaine, “Nina Forever”
Corin Hardy, “The Hallow”
Paul Katis, “Kajaki: The True Story”
John Maclean, “Slow West”
Stephen Fingleton, “The Survivalist”

Would our UK readers care to fill us in on these please?

Best Achievement in Craft
Chris King (editing), “Amy”
Fiona Weir (casting), “Brooklyn”
Mark Digby (production design), “Ex Machina”
Andrew Whitehurst (visual effects), “Ex Machina”
Adam Arkapaw (cinematography), “Macbeth”

I've always found it curious to lump all the crafts together but it's still an interesting window into nominating thought processes. Obviously they loved Ex-Machina but viewed it too much as a genre film for acting awards. Which is a pity.

Trivia Alert: Adam Arkapaw shot both True Detective (S1) and Top of the Lake. How's that for a one-two punch calling card?

Best Documentary
Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance
“How to Change the World”
“A Syrian Love Story”

If you missed it here's AMPAS's long list for Best Documentary this year. Palio and ...Love Story are not on it.

Bel Powley & Sarah Gadon in "Royal Night Out"

Most Promising Newcomer
Agyness Dean, “Sunset Song”
Mia Goth, “The Survivalist”
Abigail Hardingham, “Nina Forever”
Milo Parker, “Mr. Holmes”
Bel Powley, “A Royal Night Out”

Bel Powley is nominated at both the Gothams and BIFA but for different films. 

Producer of the Year
James Gay-Rees, “Amy”
Tristan Goligher, “45 Years”
Paul Katis and Andrew De Lotbiniere, “Kajaki: The True Story”
Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos and Lee Magiday, “The Lobster”
David A. Hughes and David Moores, “The Violators”

Raindance Discovery Award
“Burn Burn Burn”
“Orion: The Man Who Would Be King”
“The Return”

Best Short Film
“Love is Blind”

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Reader Comments (30)

I kind of love that AMY is the highest grossing of all the Best Film nominees. I wasn't as keen on the film as most, but that's a fun stat.

It's always interesting to see who they do and don't go with for acting even when they like a movie. No Rachel Weisz for THE LOBSTER, for instance, although Colman is quite enjoyable. Happy mostly for the Whishaw nomination as he's superb in it.


November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I forgot Ex Machina came out this year. I'm a bad fan.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Nice showing for Suffragette. Anf glad everyone behind the sexiest Shakespeare was nominated.

November 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

I just hope the name Charlotte Rampling emerges as the winner from as many envelopes as possible this year!

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Happy for Whishaw and Colman who were my favourites in The Lobster as well.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph W

With all due respect to The Film Experience, I find the notion of The Lobster losing Best Picture and/or Director to Ex-Machina deeply and profoundly unsettling to say the least. Not to go all PC here, but please if you would consider my fragile nerves next time you call for such a thing.

Meantime, yaay Girlhood!

And boo no Bel Powley in the Actress lineup. What is happening here? How did Carey Mulligan have such an easy ride to an Oscar nomination and instant stardom for Education but Powley is struggling to even stay in the conversation for a performance (and film) roughly a zillion times more layered, sophisticated and revelatory?

Is it because Mulligan made the likes of Jeff Wells and co. hard but Powley doesn't quite?

I'm kinda serious.

And I say this as someone who generally really really likes Mulligan in everything (even in Drive!)

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergoran

So happy for the Gleesons. I'm a big fan of Domnhall, who had me rooting against the major narrative arc of his film, and Brendan who gave a surprising amount of heart and solidity to what could have been an easily demonized role (as did Whishaw in that same film--but he's great in Lobster too). For some reason Colman didn't resonate in Lobster for me as much as Seydoux Ariane Labed but the nod is welcome. Glad to see Duff in here too because she just oozes charisma in her early scenes (she was the standout when I saw the trailer and I wanted to know WHOWASTHAT!?) even if the film loses interest in her. Hardy in Legend is great and is probably who I'm betting on for the win here. Solid and interesting lists all around.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

goran -- we in America are not privvy to The Lobster's glories so naturally i'll root for something that is 2015 for us instead :)

as for an education versus diary of a teenage girl -- this is a rhetorical question right? I like both movies about the same but one is a relatively lush, pedigree, mainstream accessible type film with a classic coming-of-age story and the other is a sexually raunchy often emotionally confrontational indie based on a memoir comic book. Of course Diary and Bel are having more trouble. But yes, I agree. getting the dominant-by-men industry excited about a performance with actresses is often about her physical attractiveness + her performance, rather than just her performance.

glenn -- i didn't know that. how unusual for a doc. also unusual for a doc: a directing nomination.

November 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Isn't Slow West (Best Debut Director) the Western with Fassbender and Mendelsohn?

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Yay for Girlhood! That movie should not be forgotten!

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCoco

"Last time we checked marital dramas require two people to be involved pretty equally."

Humorously ironic thing to say considering we're talking about "45 Years" here...

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

re. Education/Diary
With all of what you say very much taken into account, and despite Diary's disheartening box office, I still find it odd that Powley hasn't managed to get more into the awards conversation. Even the Gotham nomination was (rightfully) treated as a mini-shock.

I know Diary is a bit 'prickly' as a film to say the least. I'd never expect any other aspect of the film to feature in precursors.

But watching Bel Powley was an Amy-Adams-in-Junebug or Jennifer-Lawrence-in-Winter's-Bone kind of revelation for me. Neither of those films was mainstream friendly but look at what happened with those respective actresses.

I feel Powley deserves more or less the same - even if not an eventual nomination, at least much much louder critical support and publicity and media presence and to be legitimately in the running for awards. And my brain just can't compute how this isn't happening for her.

Or at least it couldn't until I made my roughly annual mistake of deciding to visit Jeff Wells's website. That man maybe doesn't quite personify everything that's wrong with mankind, but he comes damn close.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Also, re. Colman - though I like the nomination, I wouldn't have even thought to consider her. Maybe I should. Her work isn't anything stunningly special if you've seen Lanthimos's previous films, but for me she was indeed best in show of the women in Lobster (I will never understand the cult of Weisz - see also: Youth) and pretty note perfect, really.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Agree with Catbaskets re the Gleesons. The elder brings a certain gravitas to every role (really loved him in The Guard and Calvary, as well as In Bruges), while the younger is the Irish version of Hugh Grant for this generation, equally at home in period or modern day films, but more adorable and less smarmy.

Haven't seen any of these films including The Lobster, but wonder if Olivia Colman was previously nominated for her outstanding performance in Tyrannosaur?

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Writing down the nominees - and Asif Kapadia was autocorrected to 'As if'. Clearly, the director of Amy must be a big fan of Clueless

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterConMan1226

Re: Bel Powley and Diary, while I am totally on board with Goran's concerns - I don't think it was eligible here as it's entirely US-funded and produced as far as I'm aware. In fact, the nom in Newcomer for A Royal Night Out may essentially be a way to give her attention because I don't think anything about that film was particularly well-received. So this could still be encouraging.

November 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterDave

It's an impressing lead actress list of nominees.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuigi De Angelis

I actually think Emory Cohen was miles better than Gleeson in Brooklyn. Such a charismatic performance. But I get that they probably wanted to nominate father and son in the same category. Also I'm disappointed that Ian McKellen didn't make the Actor lineup for Mr. Holmes.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRenton

Very pleased with the noms. I proper loved Olivia Colman in The Lobster - absolutely loved the film, and she was my favourite part of it. And Luke Evans was awesome in High-Rise. I need to catch up with 45 Years, I live in London and it was a struggle to find a cinema showing it at a decent time. :/

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I watched Amy on the plane and bawled my eyes out (embarrassing), happy to see it get some attention, but wonder how much of it was great filmmaking, how much was sad subject matter...

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrooooke

Far From the Madding Crowd was hilariously, deservedly snubbed for everything. And it's not like the release date somehow explains that away. Ex Machina was out in UK theaters in January.

Also noteworthy is that Sunset Song was seen and very much eligible, but the BIFAs just do not seem to care for Terence Davies. The Deep Blue Sea was also snubbed in all categories in 2011.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Conman - LOL. autocorrect is the worst.

Kate -- ah. i liked Madding Crowd. not nomination-worthy liked. but still...

Anna - i am interested in High-Rise for odd statements like this and for how divisive it seems to be. i kept hearing opposite things at TIFF.

November 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Diary of a Teenage Girl is American. It wasn't eligible here. A ROYAL NIGHT OUT, however...

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

So if Alicia Vikander was nominated for The Danish Girl that must mean they passed on it for most everything else, including Eddie Redmayne? I didn't see that coming.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Dave in Hollywood - I too was surprised with the Danish Girl's one nomination. All the film blogs have the film and Redmayne as dead certs for Oscar nominations.

Very strange.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbettes streep

Go Amy and Carol.

Also, Amy and Carol sounds like the name of a nice little sitcom.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEz

So many movies I need/want to see! Hopefully this is the beginning of an exciting (and diversified) Awards Season. The nominations for Girlhood and Ex Machina are very satisfying, though I agree the acting deserves some love.

Side note: So I'm the only one who didn't know Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson were related?

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

Olivia Colman is hysterical in The Lobster. One of her lines makes me giggle uncontrollably every time I think of it.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Ian McKellen was passed over? Indefensible

November 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Watch EX Machina on Amazon Prime Instant Video from Any Country with PureVPN.. It changes your IP address so you can Watch EX Machina Streaming outside USA

November 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShaun

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