NEW YORK • The frothy musical La La Land continued its run as an awards favourite on Tuesday, picking up 11 nominations from the EE British Academy Film Awards, but there were surprises in the competition, familiarly known as the Baftas: The extraterrestrial drama Arrival and Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford's twisty tale-within-a-tale, drew nine nominations apiece.
Besides Arrival and La La Land, the contenders for Best Film are Ken Loach's Cannes Palme d'Or winner, I, Daniel Blake, along with two more mainstays of the awards circuit, Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight. Manchester By The Sea drew a total of six nominations, including Best Director for its writer-director Kenneth Lonergan. His competition includes Loach, Ford, Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival).
For Best Actor, Casey Affleck, who won a Golden Globe for Manchester on Sunday, will be competing with his fellow Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling (La La Land) as well as Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals) and Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic).
The Best Actress contenders are Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Emma Stone (La La Land), Amy Adams (Arrival), Emily Blunt (The Girl On The Train) and Natalie Portman (Jackie).
Moonlight, which has picked up scores of awards this season and had been considered a strong Oscars contender, drew only four nominations. Nocturnal Animals has been less of a presence on the circuit but a co-star, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who plays a thug who menaces a family on a lonely highway, was a surprise Golden Globes winner on Sunday.
How much can the Bafta choices predict the Oscars? The short answer is: It depends. The membership of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which oversees the Baftas, does overlap with the American Academy's. And the British choices can help clarify which way the wind is blowing. But as always with the Oscars, precursor awards are helpful predictors, until they are not.
The Bafta ceremony is set to take place on Feb 12.