Bashing the BAFTA Orange Awards has become something of a sport for prognosticators and bloggers. They're too Eurocentric, they favor British actors above all, they're not a good indicator for awards season...well, poppycock.
Regardless of their British slant — um, they have "British" in the name, so why is their Anglophilia such an outrage? — the BAFTAs remain an important part of the process. It is true that the BAFTAs aren't a good way to determine how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might vote, but that doesn't make a BAFTA nom any less important to the producers, directors, writers and actors who make the list.
So, with that in mind and in no particular order, here's a look at the best of what last night's BAFTA nominations had to offer (and the Academy wrongs some of them might have righted) ...
1) "Drive" is getting a little more love: Although Nicholas Winding Refn's film has earned several critics awards and made a few Top 10 lists, the BAFTA noms for Carey Mulligan's supporting role, Refn's directing, editing and best film help raise the film's profile for its DVD release on Jan. 31. The big surprise was that Albert Brooks didn't get a supporting actor nomination after he nearly swept every critics group who announces in November and December.
2) "Senna's" trio of noms makes up for Oscar oversight: The documentary about Brazilian Formula One racer Ayrton Senna has been embraced by critics and audiences, but was inexplicably left off of the Academy's shortlist of eligible documentaries in November. Since then, the documentary branch has revised its rules for the 2013 ceremony, which is a little too late for "Senna." Luckily, BAFTA recognized the archival-footage film with three noms: best doc, best British film and editing.
3) Paddy Considine's "Tyrannosaur" earns praise: With powerful performances from Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan, "Tyrannosaur" is an oddly life-affirming story about two lost souls who find redemption in each other. Colman, whose biggest previous onscreen role was "Hot Fuzz," also plays Margaret Thatcher's daughter in "The Iron Lady," but she's nearly unrecognizable in costume and is obviously overshadowed by Meryl Streep. Mullan, who plays the father in Steven Spielberg's sweeping epic "War Horse," brings a fractured humanity to "Tyrannosaur," without which the film wouldn't have had any impact. The film earned an outstanding debut by a Brit nomination.
4) Spain didn't give Almodovar love, but BAFTA did: The foreign-language Oscar category is rife with arcane rules and corruption in the countries involved, but Spain's decision not to submit Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" as the country's official Oscar selection was about spreading the wealth more than anything. Spain decided to give the shot at gold to a lesser-known filmmaker, essentially saying that Almodovar had become so well-known globally that he didn't need the boost an Oscar submission or nomination would give him. It's too bad that he's a victim of his own success, but the BAFTA non-English-language film nom probably helps prop up his confidence.
5) "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" become BAFTA darling: "The Artist" might still be getting all of the attention for a dozen nominations, but "Tinker Tailor" is following closely behind with 11. Nearly everyone agrees that it's about time for Gary Oldman to get an Academy Award nomination, but for now, he'll have to settle for a best actor nom from his fellow Brits. The film itself has been relatively low-profile with awards shows Stateside, despite being mostly well-reviewed.
6) Jonah Hill picks up another well-deserved nom: Hot off the heels of his Golden Globe nomination for "Moneyball," Jonah Hill received a supporting actor nom for "Moneyball," a role that isn't showy but is crucial to the tone of the film. While Brad Pitt deserves every bit of praise he's getting for his leading role, he owes a lot to Hill carrying his own part of the film.