As we navigate the jaded doldrums of mid-awards season, let's pause a moment to give the BAFTAs some credit for spiking its 2008 awards nominations with some counterintuitive, even self-loathing surprise.
Sure, Slumdog Millionaire coasted to 11 nods, sharing the lead with fellow Best Picture and Director nominee Benjamin Button, and sure, The Reader is shockingly well-represented with nominations for Picture, Actress and Director. (Kate Winslet is also nominated for Revolutionary Road.) But the trade-off is that Oscar probable The Dark Knight and director Christopher Nolan are out, as are — mindblowingly — Happy-Go-Lucky director Mike Leigh and Globe-winning actress Sally Hawkins.
It's too late in the Oscar voting cycle for the BAFTA snubs to yield any substantial influence over US Academy voters. Not that they necessarily would anyway, but TDK's banishment represents a reassuring-enough bitchslap for those members not comfortably persuaded by Nolan or his "achievement." And that's not the only upheaval of the Kool-Aid bowl: Winslet's two-fer cost Anne Hathaway a Best Actress berth (or Angelina Jolie's Changeling nom cost Hawkins — however you want to explain it). Tilda Swinton's Burn After Reading turn booted Doubt frontrunner Viola Davis from the Supporting Actress category. The Supporting Actor category calmed things down as Heath Ledger etc etc etc. The hardware finds a home Feb. 8.