Migrant saga 'Nomadland' tipped for more success at Britain's Baftas

·3-min read
Chloe Zhao, Frances McDormand and Fox Searchlight Chairman Steve Gilula 12 Sep 2020

"Nomadland", which has already swept the board in nominations and awards in the United States, and the British film "Rocks" are among the favourites at Sunday's Bafta film awards.

Director Chloé Zhao's poignant film "Nomadland" about modern-day migrants travelling across the United States is nominated in the coveted best film and best director categories.

Two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand is also vying for best actress.

"Nomadland" is shortlisted in the best film category alongside "The Father", a film about an elderly man contending with dementia, and "The Mauritanian", a legal thriller about a Guantanamo Bay prisoner.

"Promising Young Woman", a feminist dark comedy and Aaron Sorkin's courtroom drama "The Trial of the Chicago 7" complete the nominees.

With a total of seven nominations including best director, best cast and best original screenplay, "Rocks", directed by Sarah Gavron, could be a homegrown sensation at the awards.

The coming-of-age drama, which shows the struggles of a British-Nigerian schoolgirl who is abandoned by her mother, has been praised by critics for its depiction of life in the British capital.

Teenaged actress Bukky Bakray, 19, who has garnered a best actress nomination for her role as the film's eponymous heroine, told AFP audiences had connected with her performance and the film because of their authenticity.

"It captures what most people have always felt but never truly seen on screen. I'm really proud and honoured to have captured truth and honesty," she said.

"Mank", a film about a debauched, real-life screenwriter set during Hollywood's golden age, and "Minari", the portrayal of an South Korean family trying to make a life in rural America have, along with "The Father" and "Promising Young Woman" also received seven nominations each.

Veteran Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins is up for his third Bafta for his role as the protagonist in the "Father" after receiving the British academy's fellowship award in 2008.

- Most diverse Baftas ever -

Last year's awards were criticised for not including any non-white actors in the four major categories and no female directors made the shortlist.

For the first time, the British academy has introduced an extra round of voting in all categories to strive for greater diversity.

This year, for the first time, four women directors were nominated for best director.

In the best actor category, French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim, Indian actor Adarsh Gourav, black American actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last year, and British actor Riz Ahmed -- also the first Muslim to be nominated for an Oscar -- have been shortlisted.

The French film "Les Misérables", by Ladj Ly, which won the César for best film last year, is nominated for best foreign langauge film.

Among its rivals are "Minari", by American director Lee Isaac Chung.

The award ceremony will go ahead on Sunday without an audience because of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be broadcast from London's Royal Albert Hall.

Following the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, Prince William, his grandson and second in line to the British throne, will not participate as previously planned.

Director Ang Lee, best known for the films "Sense and Sensibility", "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" and "The Life of Pi" will receive the prestigious the Bafta Academy Fellowship on Sunday evening.