BAFTA success nudges The Revenant closer to Oscar victory

The wilderness revenge drama The Revenant has dominated the BAFTAs, taking five awards – including three of the most influential – while Mad Max: Fury Road was the only other film to succeed in more than one category, winning four of the technical honours. Bridge of Spies and Carol, together topped the nominees list with nine, but Steven Spielberg’s spy drama took just one award, while Todd Haynes’ lesbian drama walked away empty-handed.

Leonardo DiCaprio took home one of The Revenant's 5 BAFTAs.
Leonardo DiCaprio took home one of The Revenant’s 5 BAFTAs.

It was The Revenant, What’s Worth Seeing’s best-reviewed film in contention, which was propelled further towards Oscar glory, taking Best Film, Best Director for Alejandro González Iñárritu and Best Leading Actor – matching the Screen Actors Guild’s selection of Leonardo DiCaprio, who’s been nominated four times before, but never won. The film’s cinematography won a third successive BAFTA for Emmanuel Lubezki, after Birdman and Gravity, while the sound team also won.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts named Brie Larson as the Best Leading Actress for playing the mother held captive for five years in Room, in line with SAG’s Awards, but BAFTA picked British stars in the supporting categories, Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies and Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs. SAG – which is often an accurate acting Oscar predictor – chose Idris Elba, for Beasts of No Nation, and The Danish Girl‘s Alicia Vikander, but Elba isn’t even nominated for an Oscar.

The writing awards were in line with the Writers Guild Award, with the journalism expose Spotlight being named the Best Original Screenplay, while The Big Short won the Best Adapted Screenplay prize.

The parochial prize for the best British film went to the British, Irish and Canadian co-production, Brooklyn, which beat off competition from the likes of the British, German and American co-production The Danish Girl, the Greek, French, Dutch, Irish and UK co-production The Lobster and Asif Kapadia’s Amy, which took home the prize for the Best Documentary.

British actor John Boyega was named BAFTA's Rising Star after his role in Special Effects winning Star Wars: The Force Awakens
British actor John Boyega was named BAFTA’s Rising Star after his role in Special Effects winning Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Although it wasn’t successful in any of the major categories, the producers of Mad Max: Fury Road will not be disappointed to have walked away with four of BAFTA’s famous faces; it won production design, editing, costume and hair & make-up. The other main technical award, for Special Effects, went to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, whose star John Boyega was named BAFTA’s Rising Star, in a personal triumph, after a vote by members of the public. “I’m going to share this with all the young dreamers who are determined and hard-working – this is for you,” he beamed, as he collected a translucent blue version of BAFTA’s trophy.

With a large number of British Film Academy members also having a vote in the Oscars, the BAFTAs are a useful guide to what the Academy might be thinking, but it’s not an accurate science, not least because the Hollywood guilds are often more accurate predictors of who will be taking home the little gold men, when Awards Season comes to an end in two weeks’ time.

The full list of BAFTA Film Award winners:

Best film

The Revenant

Outstanding British film



Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant


Brie Larson – Room

Supporting actor

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Supporting actress

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs


Alejandro G Inarritu – The Revenant

Adapted screenplay

The Big Short

Original screenplay


Animated film

Inside Out



Foreign film

Wild Tales


The Revenant

Costume design

Mad Max: Fury Road


Mad Max: Fury Road

Make-up and hair

Mad Max: Fury Road


The Hateful Eight

Production design

Mad Max: Fury Road


The Revenant

Special effects

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

British short animation


British short film


Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer

Naji Abu Nowar (writer/director) & Rupert Lloyd (producer) – Theeb

Rising Star award

John Boyega