The BAFTA Award nominations were announced this morning, with some surprises. The major players here are three movies; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Darkest Hour, and #The Shape of Water.

Two days after the Hollywood's Foreign Press ceremony, where the ‘Billboards’ was the biggest winner, the British Academy Film Awards announced the list of nominations. The BAFTA awards are considered as the second most important awards after the Oscars. Natalie Dormer and Letitia Wright unveiled the nominees from the British Academy's London HQ. The ceremony will take place on Feb. 18 at the Royal Albert Hall.

With 12 nods, The Shape of Water led the race, followed by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour with nine nominations.

Specifically, #Guillermo Del Toro’s film, apart from the technical categories, it is nominated for Best Film, Best Direction, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Original Screenplay (Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor). The race is ambiguous as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's big winner, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri scored nine nominations including Best Film, Direction (Martin McDonagh), Best Actress (Frances McDormand), two supporting actor nods (Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson), and Original Screenplay (Martin McDonagh). With nine nominations (Best Film, Gary Oldman for his performance, Kristen Scott Thomas for her supporting role), Winston Churchill’s portrayal, Darkest Hour, makes the race competitive.

Surprises and Snubs

It is worth mentioning some nominations which make this year’s surprise.

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Denis Villeneuve is nominated for his direction for Blade Runner 2049. Annette Bening and Jamie Bell are nominated for their role in the Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Lesley Manville is nominated for her supporting role in Phantom Thread, Hugh Grant for Paddington 2, and Kristen Scott Thomas for the Darkest Hour.

However, Call Me By Your Name is snubbed by the Academy regarding the performances. Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg despite their acclaimed work on this film, the Academy did not give them a nomination. The biggest surprise was The Post. Steven Spielberg's movie has zero nominations. This is bad news because the movie failed to win an award in the Golden Globes, so it is difficult now to make the difference at the Oscars. Also, the British Academy snubbed, as the Golden Globes did, women directors.

This year’s film awards are a difficult puzzle, as there are not those such as La La Land or The Revenant. The competition is hard as all the movies have equal possibilities to claim the ‘throne’.