It’s just possible that the Franco-Belgian production The Artist, silent and in black and white though it is, could win practically everything since it’s beautifully played and is the best, most innovative and most refreshing film of the past year.
I don’t think that will happen, however.
With the Baftas, as with the Oscars, a certain amount of jingoism creeps into the voting and it would not be entirely surprising if a number of British winners emerged, somewhat out of left field.
Tilda Swinton for best actress in We Need to Talk about Kevin? Michael Fassbender (strictly speaking Irish-German rather than British but what the hell) in Shame or Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for best actor? Or Tinker Tailor for best film?
Well — as Rory Bremner would say — why not? A strong case can be made for each of them. Disappointingly all (except Oldman) have been ignored in the Oscar nominations, which could cause a defiant backlash here in favour of the local talent.
Again that probably won’t happen,
Bafta voters being on the whole an honourable lot, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re having a flutter. Here, though, is my list of those I think should and will win in the six main categories:
Best film: The Artist
It’s quite simply the best, most original and most charming film of the year.
Best director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
He, and his film, could lose out to Martin Scorsese and Hugo but Hazanavicius gets my vote for the wit and ingenuity with which he handled his material.
Best actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
An offbeat role for Gorgeous George — cuckolded husband with troublesome daughters — but brilliantly played.
Best actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Her impersonation of Margaret Thatcher is nothing less than brilliant. Easily the best performance by an actress for some time.
Best supporting actor: Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Again a brilliant impersonation, this time of Laurence Olivier.
Best supporting actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Goes a long way towards stealing the film with her portrayal of a maid coming to the aid of her white-trash employer.
The British Academy Film Awards will be transmitted tonight on BBC1 at 9:00pm.