The Help Wins Sag Award

February 13, 2012 by staff 

The Help Wins Sag Award, If there was any question before today’s British Academy Film Awards that The Artist was the film to beat for the Oscars, the results in London just cemented it, and in an impressive sweep that portends big things. It wasn’t just the expected awards for Picture, Director, Music Score, Costumes.

It was also another Best Actor notch in Jean Dujardin’s belt following his all-important SAG win two weeks ago. It also scored less obvious BAFTA trophies for its black and white Cinematography and most surprisingly for director Michel Hazanavicius’ Original Screenplay, a category widely predicted to go to Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris.

A writing award for a screenplay of a essentially dialogue-less movie surprised even Hazanavicius who has told me he expects to lose in this category to his idol, Allen. It just goes to show the amount of love this film has gotten, not only from critics but the industry where it has also won key PGA and DGA honors. BAFTA, like those groups has a large crossover of Academy members. As much as one sixth of the entire Academy voting bloc are also members of BAFTA.

Last year’s BAFTA winners for Picture , Actor and Actress (The King’s Speech’s Colin Firth and Black Swan’s Natalie Portman) all repeated at the Oscars although oddly Social Network’s David Fincher beat hometown boy Tom Hooper in the directing contest while King’s Speech co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter took Supporting awards only to lose to The Fighter’s Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (she wasn’t even nominated for a BAFTA) at the Oscars. Two years ago Oscar fave The Hurt Locker took the BAFTA Best Picture and directing award but local favorites Firth (A Single Man) and Carey Mulligan (An Education) grabbed the lead acting awards while corresponding Oscars went to Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock.

So even with the Academy voter crossover the correlation isn’t perfect but it is significant, and it can change the dynamics of the race. In 2007 after losing in previous matchups both Lead Actress Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) and Supporting Actress Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) got their first significant wins late in the awards season game at BAFTA and rode those victories straight to upset wins at the Oscars. And like Dujardin seems to be doing this year, Roberto Begnini in 1998 took SAG/BAFTA victories to a somewhat surprising (at the time) Best Actor Oscar win for Life Is Beautiful. And while BAFTA is the last pre-Oscar test for his category mates Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Gary Oldman, Dujardin can lock up yet another win on February 24 at the French Cesar awards giving him a quartet of major victories (SAG, BAFTA, Cesar, Golden Globe) before walking into the Kodak on the 26th. While Clooney seemed to be ruling the Best Actor race early on, all momentum has now shifted to Dujardin who also is winning charm points from a recent Jay Leno appearance, a hilarious Funny or Die video and last night’s surprise dancing turn on Saturday Night Live. He’s on a roll, peaking at just the right moment and part of a movie juggernaut that appears to be coasting to Best Picture. The stars are aligned , folks.

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