Sam Mendes must have been worn out by the constant up and down to the stage at the Albert Hall for the seven BAFTA awards that 1917 hoovered up on Sunday evening. These included Best Film, Best Director for Sam, and Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC. Oscar glory is sure to follow, unless the basic physics of awards season somehow gets warped.
As ever the award nominations courted controversy by ignoring a huge swathe of films and concentrated on ones by, about, and mostly for, white men. Even the winners, host and presenters couldn’t ignore the reality of it all, Joachim Phoenix defined it as institutional racism and Rebel Wilson pointed out that balls were the common defining feature of the noms. Wilson notably delivered the best presentation speech ever at the BAFTA’s, although admittedly the bar isn’t particularly high. Most of the other presenters clunkily scripted ‘jokes’ fell as flat as the Jokers chest.
However, 1917 is a deserved winner, celebrating the longstanding chemistry between the director and cinematographer.
Deakins cinematography is as stellar as ever, his eye for realism ratchets up the tension in every shot. Word of mouth is keeping the film at the top of the box office, for once the ticket buyers agreeing with the academies.
Here is a featurette on one aspect of the production design.
1917 is directed by Sam Mendes, who wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Showtime’s Penny Dreadful). The film is produced by Mendes and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road, Away We Go) for their Neal Street Productions, Jayne-Ann Tenggren (associate producer, Spectre), Callum McDougall (executive producer, Mary Poppins Returns, Skyfall) and Brian Oliver (Rocketman, Black Swan).