BAFTAs 2019: The Favourite rules, but female directors shut out

Yorgos Lanthimos’s vicious comedy starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz lead the BAFTA race with 12 nominations

Article by Jamie Dunn | 09 Jan 2019
  • The Favourite

Award season is upon us once again, although an obvious contender for Oscar glory has yet to emerge. At the weekend, the Golden Globes handed their biggest awards to a couple of duds. The shallow race-relations road movie Green Book was awarded Best Comedy, while lamentable but hugely popular Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody picked up the award for Best Drama. The win for the latter was even more regrettable given its credited director, Bryan Singer, has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse for years.

The BAFTA award nominations were announced this morning, and there can be few complaints about the film emerging as front runner: the appropriately titled The Favorite, Yorgos Lanthimos’s vicious comedy set amid the bizarre goings on of Queen Anne’s court. The period romp, currently in UK cinemas, picked up a dozen nominations including ones for Best Film, Best British Film, Best Director, Best Leading Actress for Olivia Colman and a pair of Supporting Actress nods for Colman’s co-stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

The Favorite’s dominance of the BAFTAs may be down to home advantage, but it’s not exactly clear what other films will be its main competition come Oscar time. The next most nominated films are Bohemian Rhapsody, Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, the Lady Gaga-starring A Star is Born and Alfonso Cuarón’s gorgeous Mexican drama Roma, all on seven nominations, although of those only the latter two are in contention for Best Film.

Joining The Favourite, Roma and A Star is Born in the Best Film category are Spike Lee’s blistering BlacKkKlansman (which received five nominations overall) and the aforementioned comedy Green Book (four nominations) from Peter Farrelly, best known for co-directing Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary.

Surprises and snubs

There were a few eyebrow-raising nominations and snubs. Steve Coogan got a surprise nod for his role as Stan Laurel in Stan & Ollie – we don’t expect that to be replicated at the Oscars. The lack of awards for Steve McQueen’s Widows is also a surprise. The only nomination it received was for Viola Davis as Best Actress.

Coogan is joined by Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Christian Bale (Vice), and Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) in the Best Actor category, while Davis will compete with Glenn Close (The Wife), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite) in the very strong Best Actress field.

Logic suggests The Favourite should also be the favourite for the Best British Film award, where it’s up against Lynne Ramsay’s brutal hitman drama You Were Never Really Here, Jersey-set romantic thriller Beast, Alexander McQueen doc McQueen as well as Stan & Ollie and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Female Filmmakers shut out of Best Director category

While it’s great to see Ramsay’s film up for this award, it’s disappointing we didn’t see it nominated in other categories, particularly Best Director, which once again has shut out female filmmakers. While few would argue that Spike Lee, Yorgos Lanthimos, Alfonso Cuaron and Paweł Pawlikowski, whose Cold War received four nominations in all, are unworthy of their Best Director nominations, is Bradley Cooper’s first time effort behind the camera more notable than Ramsay's work on You Were Never Really Here? Or any of the other female filmmakers who released excellent films this year, such as Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Chloé Zhao (The Rider), Karyn Kusama (Destroyer) or Tamara Jenkins (Private Life) to name a few? Hopefully Oscar voters won’t prove so short sighted.

The Baftas will be announced at the annual London ceremony, which this year takes place on 10 Feb, with the Oscars revealed a fortnight later.

Find the full list of BAFTA nominees at