Bafta film awards: This year’s potential history-makers, milestones and misses

The results of the 2024 Bafta film awards will not be revealed until Sunday night, but one outcome is already certain: there will be no British winner of either best actor or best supporting actor.

This is because no UK performers have been nominated in these categories – the first time since 1976 this has happened in the same year.

Ireland is represented on both shortlists, however, with Barry Keoghan (for the film Saltburn) and Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) among the nominees for best actor, and Paul Mescal (All Of Us Strangers) in the running for best supporting actor.

A win for either Keoghan or Murphy would mark the first time an Irish-born performer has picked up the Bafta for best actor.

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One of the people up against Mescal for best supporting actor is Robert De Niro, for his role in Killers Of The Flower Moon.

Despite appearing in films for more than half a century and being nominated eight times, De Niro has yet to win a Bafta – so this could be his year.

The award for best actress is the only one of the Bafta acting categories never to have been won by a non-white performer.

Two of this year’s nominees for best actress are non-white: Fantasia Barrino, for The Color Purple, and Vivian Oparah, for Rye Lane.

If either of them win, they will make history.

Oparah is one of just five UK acting nominees this year, along with Carey Mulligan (best actress, Maestro); Emily Blunt (best supporting actress, Oppenheimer); Claire Foy (best supporting actress, All Of Us Strangers); and Rosamund Pike (best supporting actress, Saltburn).

The UK’s tally of five of the 24 acting nominations, or 21% of the total, is one of the lowest in recent years.

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In 2002, 60% of acting nominations went to British talent, and this remains the highest proportion so far this century.

The UK’s best hopes for success might come in the categories that recognise achievement behind the camera.

British filmmaker Christopher Nolan could win his first ever Bafta, for his work on the blockbuster biographical drama Oppenheimer.

Nolan is nominated for best director and best adapted screenplay, besides getting a nod as a producer in the category for best film.

Up against Nolan for both best director and best adapted screenplay are fellow UK filmmakers Andrew Haigh (for All Of Us Strangers) and Jonathan Glazer (The Zone Of Interest).

Jacqueline Durran could collect the fourth Bafta film award of her career if she wins best costume design (Barbie).

The UK has a strong showing in the category for best original score, with nominations for Jerskin Fendrix (Poor Things), Daniel Pemberton (Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse) and Anthony Willis (Saltburn).

The award for production design also has a number of UK nominees, including Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer (Barbie), Shona Heath and James Price (Poor Things) and Chris Oddy (The Zone Of Interest).

Four of the five films nominated for best visual effects feature UK talent, as do three of the five films nominated for best sound.

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She is nominated this year for Killers Of The Flower Moon and won previously for Raging Bull in 1982 and Goodfellas in 1991 – all of them films directed by her longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese.

In 2022, women made up half of the six nominees for best director, and in 2021 they outnumbered men by four to two.

This year, as in 2023, just one woman has been nominated: Justine Triet, for the film Anatomy Of A Fall.

Female directors overlooked this year include Greta Gerwig (Barbie), Emerald Fennell (Saltburn) and Celine Song (Past Lives).

There have been only three female winners of the best director award in Bafta history: Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker in 2010), Chloe Zhao (Nomadland in 2021) and Jane Campion (The Power Of The Dog in 2022).

The film with the most nominations at this year’s awards is Oppenheimer with 13, followed by Poor Things (11), Killers Of The Flower Moon (nine) and The Zone Of Interest (nine).

The most Bafta wins clocked up by a film in a single year is nine, set by Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid in 1971 – so a good night for any of the 2024 front-runners could see this record broken.

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