With some of the first “expert” predictions on the Oscar 10 starting to trickle in, a handful of bloggers (Guy Lodge and David Poland in particular) are going out on a limb and putting based-on-true-events Britcom ‘Made in Dagenham’ into the mix. Now, the Academy has a sizable British voting bloc, which has wielded some amount of influence in recent years. Now that the Best Picture field has expanded to 10, it seems highly likely that at least one slot per year will go to the British film du jour. ‘Made in Dagenham’ looks perky and sports a long list of familiar faces, but will it have the substance to back up the fun? From the trailer, it’s hard to see whether this will fall on the ‘An Education’ or ‘Pirate Radio’ side of things.
My money is still on Mike Leigh’s ‘Another Year.’ A much more somber piece to be sure; the tribulations of middle age don’t have the broad appeal of a feel-good sex-equality romp. But Leigh is an established auteur and his films are already a staple in the Original Screenplay category. If the reviews out of Cannes are to be believed, Leigh may have finally topped himself, which would certainly call for a Best Pic nod.
Another thing to keep in mind: the newly empowered Conservative government in Britain recently abolished the UK Film Council, the decade-old film funding public organization. Much beloved by the British film community, the UKFC was partly responsible for both ‘Another Year’ and ‘Made in Dagenham,’ not to mention ‘The King’s Speech,’ yet another awards vehicle featuring lots of accents. Outrage over the UKFC decision could lead to increased sympathy for these films, especially at the BAFTAs.