Saudi Cup or “the ultimate platform to showcase Saudi culture”

LONDON: Best film, best director, best actor? Jane Campion’s dark western “The Power of the Dog” is among the favorites for the race for the Bafta, the British film awards presented on Sunday evening in London.

After an awards ceremony without an audience last year due to the pandemic, it is the war in Ukraine that hovers over the 75th Bafta ceremony this year, which will be held at the famous Royal Albert Hall in London.

The president of the British academy, Krishnendu Majumdar, has already said that the Bafta “stand in solidarity with all the Ukrainian people who are fighting bravely for their country”.

With eight nominations, the film produced by Netflix “The Power of the Dog” approaches the ceremony in a strong position two weeks before the Oscars. Its director, Jane Campion, is nominated for the director’s award while Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the lead role as a tormented cowboy, is in the running for best actor.

“The Power of the Dog” also manages to line up three actors for best female (Kirsten Dunst) and male (Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee) supporting roles.

Presented at the Venice Film Festival last September, where the New Zealand director was awarded, the western has since won the Golden Globe for best dramatic film and Jane Campion for best direction.

The feature film, also a big favorite of the Oscars which take place on March 28 in Los Angeles, is in particular in competition in London for the best film with the space opera “Dune”, adaptation of the science fiction novel by Frank Herbert by Denis Villeneuve, who amassed a total of eleven nominations, but not the one for best direction.

Two Frenchwomen for the best realization

In this category, two French women are notably in the running against Jane Campion: Audrey Diwan for “L’Evènement”, an adaptation of a novel by Annie Ernaux on abortion which won the Golden Lion in Venice, and Julia Ducournau for his film “Titane”, Palme d’Or at Cannes last year.

If one of them wins the prize, she will become only the third woman to be crowned for the best direction at the Bafta, after the Chinese Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) last year and the American Kathryn Bigelow (“Minesweepers ” in 2009).

The three women are in competition with Aleem Khan (“After Love”), Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza”).

On the French side, the film “Petite Maman” by Céline Sciamma is also nominated in the category of best foreign language film.

Almost at home in London, “Belfast”, by Briton Kenneth Branagh, is nominated in six categories, including that of best film. The director pays homage to his hometown, retracing the journey of a kid from Northern Ireland traumatized by the civil war and who finds refuge in the cinema.

Will Smith and Lady Gaga

In the category of best actors, we find in particular alongside Benedict Cumberbatch the American Will Smith, for his interpretation of the father of champions Serena and Venus Williams in “The Williams Method” and Leonardo Dicaprio for “Don’t Look Up”.

The Best Actress Bafta will be played between Lady Gaga, nominated for her portrayal of the wife of a wealthy Italian fashion heir in “House of Gucci”, Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”), Emilia Jones (“CODA”), Renate Reinsve (“Julie (in 12 chapters)”), Joanna Scanlan (“After Love) and Tessa Thompson (“Clair-obscure”).

This year, less than a third of actor nominations went to non-white performers, down sharply from a record two-thirds last year, but still above historical averages.

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Saudi Cup or “the ultimate platform to showcase Saudi culture”