Ryan Gosling’s march to the Oscars just took another step forward. His swooningly gorgeous musical ‘La La Land’ picked up nominations in 11 categories this morning at the Baftas – the British equivalent of the Oscars. After taking top honours at the Golden Globes on Sunday, winning seven awards, its Bafta haul makes ‘La Land Land’ the frontrunner for Oscar glory.
There was also good news for brainy headscratching sci-fi ‘Arrival’ and Tom Ford’s thriller ‘Nocturnal Animals’, which both picked up nine nominations. ‘Manchester by the Sea’, a devastating drama about a grieving man, starring Casey Affleck, took six.
Londoners will finally get to see ‘La La Land’ this weekend, when it opens in cinemas around the city. A modern take on the classic Hollywood musical, Gosling and Emma Stone star as struggling artists in Los Angeles – he’s a jazz pianist, she’s an actress. After a love-hate start, they fall in love, but find themselves torn between chasing their dreams and settling down together. ‘La La Land’ is directed by 31-year-old Damien Chazelle, who made a splash with his debut ‘Whiplash’ in 2014. It's the ultimate January blues-buster: sunny and optimistic, with magical flights of fancy.
Gosling has been nominated for an Oscar once before (for 'Half-Nelson') but will face stiff competition from Casey Affleck, whose performance as a man living with grief and guilt in ‘Manchester By the Sea’ – also released this weekend – has been hailed as a career-best.
Leading the group of British films, Ken Loach’s austerity cuts drama ‘Daniel Blake’ took five nominations, equalled by JK Rowling's ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’. There was also a surprise nomination for Emily Blunt and her starring role in ‘Girl on the Train’, an adaptation of Paula Hawkins’s page-turning psychological thriller. The awards, are voted for by around 6,000 Bafta members from the film industry. The ceremony takes place on Sunday 12 February, hosted once again by Stephen Fry, who got into hot water last year, criticised for making a joke referring to costume design winner Jenny Beavan as a 'bag lady'.