Baftas 2024: All you need to know ahead of the ceremonyon February 18, 2024 at 1:34 am

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Barbenheimer, red carpet glamour and Hollywood royalty will be centre stage at Sunday’s film awards.

Ryan Gosling and Margot RobbieImage source, Getty Images

It’s that time of year again – don your ball gown (Prada or Primark, we won’t judge), pop open the champagne and settle down for a night of glitz and glamour as the stars compete for a coveted Bafta film award.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the ceremony.

What exactly are the Baftas?

Bafta – which stands for the British Academy of Film and Television – is an arts charity that champions UK talent on both the big and small screen. Its annual film awards ceremony is one of the UK’s most prestigious cultural events, honouring both international and homegrown talent. The awards aren’t quite the Oscars but they’re definitely up there.

Which films are in the running?

Robert Downey Jr (left) and Cillian Murphy

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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, about the life of the man who helped develop the atomic bomb, is leading the charge with 13 nominations including best film, best actor (Cillian Murphy) and best supporting actress (Emily Blunt).

British-born filmmaker Nolan is favourite to pick up best director. Hard to believe given his back catalogue – which includes Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises – but this will be his first Bafta win if he triumphs at the weekend.

If, as widely expected, Oppenheimer’s Robert Downey Jr picks up the award for best supporting actor, it will mark his second Bafta win – a whopping 31 years after collecting last for best actor in Chaplin back in 1993.

Yorgos Lanthimos’s brilliantly bonkers Poor Things is hot on Oppenheimer’s heels, with 11 nods. Emma Stone is a frontrunner in the best actress race although Lanthimos missed out on a director nod.

Other films hoping for a successful evening include French courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Fall, nostalgic comedy drama The Holdovers, Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, fantasy romance All of Us Strangers, black comedy thriller Saltburn and of course, not forgetting box office bulldozer Barbie.

Some film fans were left disappointed after Margot Robbie missed the cut for a best actress nomination at the Oscars, but the Barbie star has a chance (albeit a slim one) at the Baftas in the same category.

Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon has an impressive nine nominations but both Scorsese and its female star – Lily Gladstone – are missing from the best director and actress shortlist. Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest also has nine nods.

What else to look out for?

Rosamund Pike and Barry Keoghan

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Euphoria, Saltburn and Priscilla star, Jacob Elordi, is one of the favourites to pick up the Bafta rising star award for up-and-coming actors and he’s also nominated for best supporting actor in Saltburn. But he recently hit headlines when he was accused of grabbing a reporter’s throat in Sydney. He is not expected to attend on Sunday.

Emerald Fennell’s film was completely left out in the cold when the Oscar nominations were announced last month, so will Bafta will show more love to what has already arguably become a cult British classic?

Saltburn’s five nods also include best actor (Barry Keoghan) and best supporting actress (Rosamund Pike).

It lost out on a best film nomination but it wasn’t the only one – with just five spots available, Barbie also missed the cut. Perhaps there’s an argument for Bafta to expand the number of picture nominees, as the Oscars has done, to 10?

The Color Purple’s best supporting actress Oscar nod for Danielle Brooks is replicated at Bafta but unlike at the Academy, there’s also room for the musical adaptation’s star, Fantasia Barrino, on the best actress shortlist.

As for German star Sandra Huller, she’s just being greedy, come on. Not content with a nomination for best actress for Anatomy of a Fall, she’s also up for best supporting actress in Jonathan Glazer’s chilling Nazi drama The Zone of Interest. Seriously though, she absolutely deserves both.

Elsewhere, Samantha Morton, who has enjoyed a successful TV career in shows such as The Walking Dead as well as starring in films like Minority Report and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is the recipient of this year’s Bafta Fellowship. She was previously nominated in 2020 for best supporting actress for the film Control.

It’s the organisation’s highest honorary accolade for contribution to film.

Fun (and unapologetically geeky) fact – if Barbie or Anatomy of a Fall win best screenplay, it will be a couple picking up the prize. Greta Gerwig wrote Barbie with husband Noah Baumbach, while Justine Triet penned Anatomy of a Fall with her partner, Arthur Harari.

Which stars will be attending?

Colman Domingo and Da'Vine Joy Randolph

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Where to start? Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will be among those flying the flag for Barbie, which has five nominations.

Maestro’s Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan, and Oppenheimer’s Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr will all be on the red carpet (not Murphy’s natural habitat).

Poor Things’ Emma Stone, Rustin’s Colman Domingo, The Holdovers’ Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti and All of Us Strangers’ Paul Mescal are expected to be there.

Saltburn’s Rosamund Pike plus Sandra Huller, who stars in Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest, are also among the big names attending.

We’re really hoping Michael J Fox will make it, too – Davis Guggenheim’s film, Still: A Michael J Fox Movie, is up for best documentary.

Prince William is Bafta’s president and will be attending the ceremony but without his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, who is still recovering after abdominal surgery.

Who is hosting?

David Tennant

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Former Doctor Who star David Tennant is taking charge this year. While the Scottish actor certainly doesn’t lack a sense of humour, he won’t be making any Ricky Gervais-style barbs at his A-list audience.

“We want to have an evening that’s a celebration and that won’t make people feel uncomfortable and won’t have people being roasted in any way, so it will hopefully be an evening of generosity and joy,” he said.

It’s probably a wise choice.

When Rebel Wilson made a joke about Will Smith’s marriage while hosting the show in 2022, King Richard star Smith wasn’t there. A few weeks later at the Oscars, comic Chris Rock joked about the actor’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and Smith slapped him on stage. Ouch.

Presenters include David Beckham, Dua Lipa, Bollywood star Deepika Padikone, Hugh Grant, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Gillian Anderson and Andrew Scott (who sadly missed out on a best actor nod for All of Us Strangers).

Are there any performances?

Sophie Ellis Bextor

Image source, Getty Images

There are indeed. Sophie Ellis Bextor will be belting out her 2001 banger Murder on the Dancefloor, which has enjoyed a renaissance after featuring in the infamous nude scene with Barry Keoghan at the end of Saltburn. Watch out for Barry in the audience, who will presumably be staying in his seat rather than leaping up to strip off.

Hannah Waddingham, who neared national treasure status after co-hosting Eurovision last year, will also be performing a musical number.

Any controversies to look out for?

Bafta introduced reforms in 2020 to increase diversity. They included adding more voters with a focus on under-represented groups.

There are six people of colour in the acting categories for 2024. Last year there were nine, 40% of the acting shortlist slots.

But that did not translate into wins, with nearly every winner across all categories being white. So it will be interesting to see if last year was an anomaly.

There are no women in several categories including adapted screenplay, cinematography, original score and sound.

But four out of five best British debut nominees are women and all the nominees in the best casting category are female.

British interest

Inevitably, the BRITISH Academy of Film and Television has more of a focus on homegrown talent than the Academy across the pond. Outstanding British film hopefuls include the delicious Wonka, Saltburn, The Zone of Interest, Ridley Scott’s epic Napoleon, Molly Manning Walker’s striking debut, How To Have Sex, and the warm and wonderful south London romcom, Rye Lane.

Manning Walker’s consent film is also up for best debut by a British writer and producer and has a good chance of winning.

How to watch

The Bafta Film Awards 2024 will take place on 18 February at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London. You can watch all the action on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from 1900 GMT – 2100 GMT, although there is an hour’s delay between the live event and the broadcast. International audiences can watch it via streaming services including Britbox International.

Read more about the films in this year’s awards race:

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