Deepika Padukone to join galaxy of global stars at tonight's Battle of the BAFTAs

February 18, 2024
British Academy of Film and Television Awards, with Prince William being the guest of honour and Deepika Padukone one of the presenters.

Half an hour after midnight tonight (Indian Standard Time), curtains go up on the BAFTAs, the much-anticipated British Academy of Film and Television Awards, with Prince William being the guest of honour and Deepika Padukone one of the presenters. The glittering evening is being beamed live by Lionsgate Play for Indian audiences from 12:30 a.m. onwards.

As the world of showbiz prepares for the BAFTAs, which may not be up there with the Oscars, but are nonetheless counted among the world’s top four film awards, here’s a curtain-raiser to bring you up to date on the event.

The race this year is between British-born Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’, which has got 13 nominations, including best film, best actor (Cillian Murphy) and best supporting actress (Emily Blunt), and Yorgos Lanthimos’s brilliantly original ‘Poor Things’, which received 11 nods. Emma Stone is a frontrunner in the best actress race.

Nolan, according to, is favourite to pick up best director. “Hard to believe given his back catalogue — which includes ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Inception’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ — but this will be his first Bafta win if he triumphs at the weekend,” says

If, as widely expected, Robert Downey Jr picks up the award for best supporting actor, it will be his second Bafta win — a whopping 31 years after his best actor win for ‘Chaplin’ back in 1993, reports

Other films hoping for a successful evening include French courtroom drama ‘Anatomy of a Fall’, nostalgic comedy drama ‘The Holdovers’, the Leonard Bernstein biopic ‘Maestro’ with Bradley Cooper playing the lead role, fantasy romance ‘All of Us Strangers’, black comedy thriller ‘Saltburn’ and ‘Barbie’ of course.

“Some film fans were left disappointed after Margot Robbie missed the cut for a best actress nomination at the Oscars,” notes, “but the ‘Barbie’ star has a chance (albeit a slim one) at the BAFTAs in the same category.”

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ has an impressive nine nominations and so does Jonathan Glazer’s ‘The Zone of Interest’.

‘Euphoria’, ‘Saltburn’ and ‘Priscilla’ star Jacob Elordi, says, is one of the favourites to pick up the BAFTA rising star award and he’s also nominated for best supporting actor in ‘Saltburn’. He recently hit headlines when he was accused of grabbing a reporter’s throat in Sydney and is not expected to attend on Sunday.

Emerald Fennell’s film was completely left out in the cold when the Oscar nominations were announced last month, continues, so will the BAFTAs show more love to what has already arguably become a cult British classic?

‘Saltburn’ has got five nods, including best actor (Barry Keoghan) and best supporting actress (Rosamund Pike). It lost out on a best film nomination, but it wasn’t the only one — with just five spots available, ‘Barbie’ also missed the cut.

“Perhaps there’s an argument for BAFTA to expand the number of picture nominees, as the Oscars has done, to 10?” notes

German star Sandra Huller has the distinction of getting a nomination in two categories — for best actress ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ and for best supporting actress in Jonathan Glazer’s chilling Nazi drama ‘The Zone of Interest’. “Seriously though, she absolutely deserves both,” says

Another one from “Fun (and unapologetically geeky) fact — if ‘Barbie’ or ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ wins best screenplay, it will be a couple picking up the prize. Greta Gerwig wrote ‘Barbie’ with husband Noah Baumbach, while Justine Triet penned ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ with her partner, Arthur Harari.

Who should you look out for? Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will be among those flying the flag for ‘Barbie’, which has five nominations.

Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan (‘Maestro’), and Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr (‘Oppenheimer’) will all be on the red carpet.

Emma Stone (‘Poor Things’), Colman Domingo (‘Rustin’), Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Paul Giamatti (‘The Holdovers’) and Paul Mescal (‘All of Us Strangers’) are also expected.

So are Saltburn stars Rosamund Pike plus Sandra Huller, who stars in both ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ and ‘The Zone of Interest’.

Prince William is BAFTA’s president and will be attending the ceremony but without his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, who is still recovering after abdominal surgery.

Former ‘Doctor Who’ star David Tennant will host the show this year. To quote, “The Scottish actor certainly doesn’t lack a sense of humour, but he won’t be making any Ricky Gervais-style barbs at his A-list audience.”

Tennant said in his defence, “We want to have an evening that’s a celebration and that won’t make people feel uncomfortable and won’t have people being roasted in any way, so it will hopefully be an evening of generosity and joy.”

The list of presenters include David Beckham, Dua Lipa, Bollywood star Deepika Padikone, Hugh Grant, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Gillian Anderson and Andrew Scott (who missed out on a best actor nod for ‘All of Us Strangers’).

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