Bafta 2012 Film nominations: where’s Olivia Colman?

Online outrage as Tyrannosaur actress is overlooked in favour of Hollywood stars

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Awards nominations always cause debate about who hasn’t been included, as much as who has – and this year’s British Academy Film Awards shortlist, announced this morning, is no exception. But the uproar is focusing firmly on one name: Olivia Colman.

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Colman, best known for appearing in Peep Show, Rev and, most recently, as Carol Thatcher in The Iron Lady, starred opposite Peter Mullan in acclaimed British drama Tyrannosaur last year. It’s that devastating performance for which fellow actors and Twitter users have been demanding recognition today. 

Colman has been trending all morning on Twitter, with celebs including David Baddiel, Shappi Khorsandi and Josie Lawrence all expressing surprise at Colman’s omission from the Leading Actress category.

“Shocked and disappointed with Bafta voters,” tweeted Great Expectations and Exile star Shaun Dooley. “You will not see a finer performance by an actress than Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur. Not happy!”

“Not the first time Bafta have got it massively wrong,” agreed John Simm, who also appeared with Colman in Exile. “Won’t be the last.”

“They’re havin’ a LAFTA,” wrote actor Joe Dempsie, of Skins and The Fades. “Shocking,” tweeted Jamie Bell.

“Really f***ed off Olivia Colman hasn’t been nominated for a Bafta,” was the forthright comment of Michael Smiley, star of another lauded but overlooked British film, Kill List. “What a load of old w**k,” he added.

“Glad to hear there’s been Twitter outrage at Olivia Colman’s ridiculous omission,” observed Colman’s Peep Show co-star David Mitchell. “There CAN’T be five better performances.”

Dive star Aisling Loftus, Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey, and Rebekah Staton (Pulling, Spy) were among many others in the TV/film industry to back Colman on Twitter.

The shortlisted performers for Leading Actress are: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn),
 Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and 
Viola Davis (The Help). Most tweeters thought Bejo or Davis should have given way to Colman.

Tyrannosaur, the first feature film to be directed by actor Paddy Considine, starred Colman as a victim of an abusive husband (Eddie Marsan) who finds unlikely succour when she befriends an intimidating drunk (Peter Mullan). “It is Colman’s terrific performance that sticks in the mind,” said Radio Times’s five-star review of the film, “a powerhouse portrayal of one of modern-day suburbia’s many unseen, unheard victims.”

RT film editor Andrew Collins sympathised with moviegoing tweeters who are up in arms about the Colman snub. “The one thing that seemed crystal clear when watching Tyrannosaur was that Olivia Colman would win a Bafta for her incredible work mixing pathos, tragedy and humour in what is a truly devastating film about the secrets we keep behind closed doors,” Collins said. “Because she is best known for comedies, it’s such a massive leap into serious acting. It’s one of those roles upon which a career turns.”

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Added Collins: “Apparently, it’s more important that the Hollywood movie The Help gets two out of the five supporting actress nods, while in the best actress category, Colman is edged out by three Americans – Streep for Thatcher, Williams for Marilyn, and another from The Help, Viola Davis. What is the world coming to? Sure, Tyrannosaur is a difficult, raw film to watch, but it’s in the fine tradition of Shane Meadows, Ken Loach and Alan Clarke – prime Bafta fare.”