2008 movie awards

After the damp squib that was the Golden Globes, there is optimism that we may see some glamour finally. And there at last seems to be renewed hope of a resolution to the writers’ strike before the Oscars (if the strike is still on, there will be a ceremony of sorts, with industry figures handing out awards and pre-recorded messages from the stars).

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards at the weekend brought out Hollywood’s best, although the fashions left quite a bit to be desired – the main item of interest was the billowing dress of a remarkably healthy looking Angelina Jolie, sparking renewed speculation that she’s pregnant with twins.

There were few surprises, with No Country for Old Men receiving Outstanding Ensemble Cast (the SAG equivalent of best film), and Daniel Day-Lewis, Julie Christie and Javier Bardem repeating their Golden Globes wins. Ruby Dee pipped Cate Blanchett to best supporting actress this time, though.

On the TV side, The Office won best comedy series and The Sopranos took best drama, with stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco also scoring wins (yes, I know it seems eons since the show finished).

A star-studded audience at the South Bank awards – which recognise British achievement in music, theatre, television and the arts – saw J. K. Rowling honoured with an outstanding achievement award. The film prize was surprisingly scooped up by This Is England, beating Atonement.

Which can only lead industry observers to wonder if, despite its many nominations, Atonement can take home any of the main awards this year. It’s garnered an astonishing total of nominations in both the Oscars (seven, but none for Keira Knightley or James McAvoy, although Saoirse Ronan has been recognised in the supporting actress category) and the BAFTAs (14). Unfortunately, it’s up against the juggernaut that is No Country for Old Men and the strongest field of acting nominations in some years.

It would take a stronger nerve than mine to bet against Christie, Day-Lewis and Bardem repeating their earlier successes, and Cate Blanchett seems likely for best supporting actress simply because she’s playing a man (Bob Dylan in I’m Not There). No Country is a strong possibility for best picture, but don’t underestimate the quirky Juno – the Academy voters might take to something whimsical among all the angst on February 24. And, I’m happy to say, Enchanted leads the way in best song with three out of five nominations (I’m resolutely putting out of my mind that Dreamgirls was in much the same position last year and didn’t win).

Atonement stands its best chance of success at the BAFTAs on February 10, although it’s up against the same heavy hitters there too. But the big surprise in the BAFTA nominations is the rather poor showing of Sweeney Todd, which doesn’t feature in any of the major awards (by contrast, Johnny Depp has a best actor Oscar nomination).

But, if the writers’ strike isn’t resolved, the BAFTAs may be about the only time you’ll get to see the stars on the podium and making bad speeches. You know, the strike might not be such a bad thing after all…