The British Academy Film Awards, known as BAFTAs, are increasingly glamorous _ despite a well-earned reputation for dismal weather _ and ever-more scrutinized as an indicator of likely success at the Hollywood Oscars. In recent years they have prefigured Academy Awards triumph for word-of-mouth hits including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.”
This season’s movie with momentum is crowd-pleaser “Argo,” based on the true story of a group of U.S. diplomats spirited out of Tehran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It has been building steam with big prizes at ceremonies such as the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild and the Directors Guild of America Awards.
“Argo” marks a change for Affleck, whose first two features as director _ “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Town” _ were set in his native Boston. In “Argo” he stars as Tony Mendez, a CIA agent who poses as a sci-fi filmmaker in a risky plot to rescue Americans in Tehran.
“Argo” is now considered a front-runner for the best picture award at the Oscars on Feb. 24, even though Affleck was not nominated for best director. Bookmakers also have made the film favorite to win the best picture BAFTA, over finalists “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi” and Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“`Argo’ is the big mover in the whole of the awards season,” said Rupert Adams, spokesman for bookies William Hill.
The best actress shortlist includes: 85-year-old “Amour” star Emmanuelle Riva, who was nominated for the same prize 52 years ago for “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”; Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”; Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty”; Cotillard for “Rust and Bone”; and Mirren for “Hitchcock.”
Poignant old-age portrait “Amour” is up for best foreign language film, along with Norway’s “Headhunters,” Denmark’s “The Hunt” and French films “Rust and Bone” and “Untouchable.”
Sunday’s ceremony will also see director Alan Parker receive a BAFTA Fellowship, the academy’s highest honor, for a career that includes “Midnight Express,” “Fame” and “Mississippi Burning.”
Online: http://www.bafta.orgView Entire Story
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