This image released by Searchlight Pictures shows writer-director Chloé Zhao, left, and Frances McDormand, center, on the set of “Nomadland.” (Searchlight Pictures via AP)

This image released by Searchlight Pictures shows writer-director Chloé Zhao, left, and Frances McDormand, center, on the set of “Nomadland.” (Searchlight Pictures via AP)

‘Rocks,’ ‘Nomadland’ lead race for COVID-curbed BAFTA awards

LONDON — British teen drama “Rocks” and American gig-economy Western “Nomadland” lead the race for the British Academy Film Awards, which are being handed out Sunday during a pandemic-curbed ceremony.

Hugh Grant, Tom Hiddleston and Priyanka Chopra Jonas are among the presenters who will announce the winners from the stage of London’s Royal Albert Hall, but award recipients will accept their honours remotely, and there will be no black-tie audience to cheer them on.

Prince William, who had been due to attend and make a speech in his role as president of Britain’s film academy, also will be absent following the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip, on Friday.

“Nomadland,” Chloe Zhao’s drama about a middle-aged woman who travels the American West while living out of her van, and “Rocks,” Sarah Gavron’s coming-of-age tale about a Black teenage girl in London, are the leading contenders, with seven nominations apiece.

The British film academy shook up its membership and its voting rules last year in an attempt to address a glaring lack of diversity in the nominations. In 2020, no women were nominated as best director for the seventh year running, and all 20 nominees in the lead and supporting performer categories were white.

This year’s slate of acting nominees is strikingly more diverse, and four of the six filmmakers nominated for best director are women: Zhao, Gavron, Shannon Murphy (“Babyteeth”) and Jasmila Zbanic (“Quo Vadis, Aida?”). Also nominated are Lee Isaac Chung for the family drama “Minari” and Thomas Vinterberg for the Danish dark comedy “Another Round.”

Nominated for best film are: Zhao’s “Nomadland,” Florian Zeller’s dementia drama “The Father,” Kevin Macdonald’s Guantanamo Bay drama “The Mauritanian,” Emerald Fennell’s revenge comedy “Promising Young Woman” and Aaron Sorkin’s 1960s courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Up for lead actress are: Bukky Bakray (“Rocks”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”), Radha Blank (“The Forty-Year-Old Version”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Wunmi Mosaku (“His House”) and Alfre Woodard (“Clemency”). Lead actor nominees are Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), the late Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Adarsh Gourav (“The White Tiger”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Another Round”) and Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”).

The nominees for most outstanding British film — a category expanded to 10 — are: “The Dig,” “The Father,” “Calm With Horses,” “His House,” “Limbo,” “The Mauritanian,” “Mogul Mowgli,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Rocks” and “Saint Maud.”

The British awards, known as BAFTAs, are usually held a week or two before the Oscars and have become an important awards-season staging post. This year, both the British and Hollywood awards were postponed from their usual February berths because of the coronavirus pandemic.

BAFTAs in craft and backstage categories were handed out Saturday. The ceremony opened with a tribute to Prince Philip, who was the first president of Britain’s film academy in 1959 and who died Friday at age 99.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” won two prizes, for costume design and hair and makeup.

Actor, writer and director Noel Clarke received the outstanding British contribution to cinema award, dedicating it to “my young black boys and girls out there that never believed it could happen to them.”

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read