Can a movie deserve Best Film without any other awards?

BAFTA.jpgThe BAFTA’s are passed, and I’m being asked what I was going to comment on, what wasn’t said in the post of the winners. Well, I have a problem with the Best Film winner.

The show was a very enjoyable experience, although I was away on holiday for the weekend, I did get the chance to catch most of it due to consuming too much food and drink throughout the day. Getting too old you know! Enjoyable it was, but not without surprises.

You see I was surprised when Best Director came and Mike Leigh won, as was he. He even mentioned in his speech that he was surprised to have won over such great nominees. From the look on Martin Scorses‘ face when the winner was announced and the clapping ensued, so was he. It really looked like a struggle to get that smile on his face.

The same happened when Leonardo DiCaprio lost Best Actor to Jamie Foxx. Personally I don’t think that one was so surprising, but still DiCaprio had that same struggle to maintain even a glimmer of a smile. He looked genuinely upset, and that word again, surprised.

So when it came time for the Best Film I was most of all surprised when they announced Aviator. How could a movie take Best Film when it hadn’t won any other award all evening. Any award other than that of Best Hair and Make Up.

Now I’m not arguing that it shouldn’t have won, what I am saying is that a movie, any movie, is considered the Best out of all other movies when it doesn’t win Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Screenplay or even Best Score.

These are key elements of a movie, and when other films are deemed better in all of these areas you wonder why a movie that has failed all of these can be looked upon as the best overall.

Sitting on the train coming home, the general consensus is that if the film consistently came a close second in all these categories, while the winners of each were differently spread from one another, then overall it could possibly win Best Film. That would mean that if another movie won one category it would need to come last or almost last in all the other categories, and the same for the other winners. This would balance out the statistics.

Yet Vera Drake won Best Actress and Best Director (and Best Costume!). That would mean it would have had to be the worst out of all the other categories, and I’m not so sure you could say that of a movie that wins for those two categories that are so integral to a movie.

So what was it? British favouritism? Rewarding British movies over any other nominees? I’m not so sure you could say that. Vera Drake is a very worthy Movie, Director and Actress and quite deserves the win, that does not mean that Aviator does not though.

It does highlight the problems that the various Award Panels face. However I can’t help but feel that Aviator was overlooked for Best Director, and that winning Best Film without any other Awards does seem like a gesture made from this Awards Panel.

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8 thoughts on “Can a movie deserve Best Film without any other awards?

  1. Yep, I like that comment sits well and says what should be the case. Is that what is really happening here though?

    I don’t think so. I still don’t think a film can get Best Film when it is not the Best for Director, Cinematographer, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, (apologies it did win Best Supporting Actress), etc.

    A Best Film is not made on supporting actress and hair and make up. I think it’s a general flaw in all awards ceremonies, and frankly I don’t see a way of evening it out.

  2. Best Film is the only one that recognises what we all know, deep down – that films are more than the sum of their parts, and the very best of them have a quality all of their own that can’t simply be reduced to the combined individual contributions of the cast and crew.

    Well said! Hear, hear, etc.

  3. This doesn’t seem all that strange to me. I mean, Aviator was nominated in these other catagories, so they didn’t go unrecognized. I think the people voting are trying not to look at the awards as a whole. Rather focus on the catagories themselves. It’s not like Dicaprio was up against Steven Segal and Scorsese lost to Uwe Boll. There is some tough competition on the awards circuit this year. With the exception of Million Dollar Baby. It is shit just like everything else Eastwood directs.

  4. But I think you do answer the question in your post. The Aviator was nominated in almost every category it was eligible for – so, if not second best, it was certainly considered Top Five across the board. And the awards were indeed spread out amongst a wide range of other films. I’d suggest that the anomaly here isn’t The Aviator getting Best Film, but rather Leigh winning Best Director. That was a huge surprise (and may have been for Leigh’s body of work as a leading British director as much as for Vera Drake itself). There’s often a strong correlation in awards between getting the most nominations and getting Best Film – even if they get pipped at the post in most of their nominated categories.

    Furthermore, I think the Best Film category allows for a consideration of something none of the others do – that largely intangible feeling that elevates a movie from being merely competent to being great. All the other categories reward specific accomplishments, and are not infrequently awarded to excellent work in othewise unremarkable films. Best Film is the only one that recognises what we all know, deep down – that films are more than the sum of their parts, and the very best of them have a quality all of their own that can’t simply be reduced to the combined individual contributions of the cast and crew.

  5. Hey Mark.

    If you think that a film that wins for Best Director should also get Best Picture

    The post doesn’t say that. I say any other award. Yes, granted the Producer category goes unrecognised, but is that the only thing that makes it rise over another film that wins multiple categories? – and that’s not just Director, or Actress, or…it’s in the post.

  6. A lot of people wonder this question, but I think it boils down to TECHNIQUE. That is, the award for Best Director goes to the film’s “directing”, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the film itself is “best”.

    It’s a concept that’s rather hard to grasp because in this day and age, we equate the director as being the overall auteur of the film. But back in the old days, the title of director wasn’t as lofty as it is today. Back then, producers held more creative clout and control. (Notice that there is not a “Best Producer” category.)

    If you think that a film that wins for Best Director should also get Best Picture, then why even have two different categories to begin with?

    Peter Jackson definitely deserved to win for Best Director, but did Return of the King necessarily deserve to win for Best Picture? I think that’s an example where the distinction between the two categories is more clear.

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