Yorgos Lanthimos‘ The Lobster, a dryly amusing, Bunuelian parlor piece about societal oppression, landed the most nominations — seven — from the British Independent Film Awards committee, which announced their noms this morning. That’s quite a vote of support for a film that dies around the 45-minute or one-hour mark, and which I felt was a pain in the ass to sit through. If you’re lying around on a rainy Sunday afternoon and find yourself in the mood for a challenging, semi-gnarly indie film, you don’t want to see The Lobster…trust me.
Andrew Haigh‘s 45 Years (which I finally saw in Savannah — hooray for Charlotte Rampling!) and Justin Kurzel‘s gunky, sweaty Macbeth landed six nominations each. Five nominations each for Amy, Brooklyn and Ex Machina — fine. And four nominations for Ben Wheatley‘s High-Rise and Sarah Gavron‘s Suffragette.
One of the big uh-ohs was the absence of The Danish Girl‘s Eddie Redmayne among the Best Actor nominees. On the other hand Alicia Vikander, Redmayne’s Danish costar, was nominated for Best Actress. Another nail in the coffin. I’ve been sensing since last summer that Redmayne’s Best Actor chances seemed dicey, and since the partly negative reception to his performance in Toronto I’ve been saying that he’s more or less a dead man. Redmayne may not be completely out of the game as he might be nominated for the usual superficial, easily-impressed reasons, but a win is out of the question.
Why was Asif Kapadia‘s Amy nominated for Best British Independent Film as well as Best Documentary? Why didn’t “they” nominate the more rousing Suffragette in it place among the narratives? The rules of the Spirit Awards (i.e., the American version of the BIFAs or vice versa) stipulate that “documentary films are only eligible for Best Documentary.” What’s the BIFA rationale?
How did The Danish Girl even merit consideration for a BIFA award, considering that it cost $25 million to make and that the Spirit Awards, for perspective, stipulate that only films that cost under $20 million can be considered? The answer is that (a) the BIFA rules don’t even mention budget as a condition of eligibility, and (b) they also state that “final decisions about a film’s eligibility rest with BIFA’s Nomination Committee…under exceptional circumstances, inclusion and consideration of films which do not strictly comply with the below criteria will be subject to the discretion of the Committee.”
I don’t precisely know what Macbeth and 45 Years cost, but probably south of $10 million each, I’m guessing. (Especially 45 Years.) The Wiki pages report that Ex Machina cost $15 million, The Lobster cost $4 million pounds, and Amy cost $3.4 million.