The British Academy Film Awards are somewhat of a black sheep in the trinity of lavish, self-indulgent film awards ceremonies in the early months of each new year. Their bizarre practice of pre-recording the ceremony – so the winners end up announced before it’s even televised – then editing out a bunch of the technical and ‘smaller’ awards, makes it a very lacklustre viewing experience. Though that being said, there’s a lot to say about the awards and the ceremony itself. First, and most obvious, is the sweep of “1917”. Seven wins out of nine nominations, only losing Makeup and Hair to “Bombshell” and Original Score to “Joker”. Not unexpected given the film’s staggering momentum this awards season, plus the film being British which the BAFTAs highly favour. But it’s still telling. Expect “1917” to make a similar sweep of the upcoming Academy Awards, with a near-guaranteed shot at Best Picture and Best Director, winning both of its equivalents here.
“Jojo Rabbit” is--at first glance--quite the peculiar film. It opens up with vintage footage of Nazi Germany; Hitler-hailing fascist nutjobs going wild in exaltation over their idol. All this while a German rendition of The Beetles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” plays...this is the part where you, the viewer, may start to scratch your head in bewilderment, then utter to yourself what I did during this sequence: What. The. Hell.
It’s always a refreshing experience to see films with female protagonists; films which tell a woman’s story--the kind of story that is unique to the female lived experience. These female-focused stories are just as valid as the ones that men have, and we see male stories embodied in films constantly. Being a man is not the default state of what it means to be human.