Leonardo Wins the Bafta, but his Oscar trek isn't over yet
Leonardo DiCaprio accepting his Best Actor award at the 2016 Baftas
To the surprise of nobody, The Revenant swept the board at the 2016 Baftas. But why were Spielberg and Carol frozen out?
Here’s the unexpected lesson of this year’s Bafta Film Awards: the industry and the public are more closely in sync than you’d think. The big winner at last night’s ceremony was The Revenant, which left clutching five trophies, including Best Film, in its calloused, frost-bitten fists. And of its four fellow nominees in the top category, it’s also the most successful by some margin.
Last weekend, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s icy survival epic sailed through the £18 million barrier at the UK box office – and following its success at London’s Royal Opera House, business is unlikely to slow any time soon. So much for elitism: the night’s big winner was the film in which Leonardo DiCaprio rides a horse off a cliff.
Elsewhere, the results stacked up much as predicted. DiCaprio was named Best Leading Actor, and Brie Larson Best Leading Actress for her performance in Room. These were the only two categories in which an unexpected victory – perhaps for a talent born closer to home, like Eddie Redmayne, Michael Fassbender or Saoirse Ronan – might have thrown the Oscar race into disarray. As it stands, expect both DiCaprio and Larson to be back on stage in Hollywood in two weeks’ time.
Mark Rylance’s Best Supporting Actor Bafta for his work in Bridge of Spies could be seen coming so far off, there might as well have been a blue flashing light and a siren on top of the statuette. More surprising was Kate Winslet’s victory in Best Supporting Actress for playingSteve Jobs’ right-hand-woman Joanna Hoffman: many awards-watchers, including me, expected Rooney Mara to squeak through for her performance in Carol, which until the results started rolling in, seemed like it might be one of the night’s big players.
But in the end, Todd Haynes’s gorgeous period romance took home nothing, despite its nine nominations – more than any other nominee apart from Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, which had to content itself solely with Rylance’s supporting actor win.
More puzzling still, if not downright exasperating, were the four Baftas for Mad Max: Fury Road in the technical categories, for Production Design, Editing, Costume Design, and Makeup and Hair. Those down-table victories were hugely deserved, but also indicated that Bafta-voters admired George Miller’s action masterpiece plenty – which leaves its lack of Best Film and Best Director nominations looking even wimpier than they did before.
DiCaprio and Larson Oscar victories now seem certain, but I’m not convinced The Revenant can rest on its laurels. Spotlight and The Big Short still have momentum, and their respective wins in the original and adapted screenplay categories are enough to keep their campaigns ticking over. Like DiCaprio hauling himself through the snow, there’s a long way to go yet.