How could a movie with a Mexican director, two American stars and the backing of a major U.S. studio be named outstanding British film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards?
That's the question on many awards observers' minds after Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi thriller
BAFTA stipulates that to be eligible for outstanding British film "a film must have significant British creative involvement and be certified as British under one of the BFI/DCMS's three definitions." To receive certification, a film must either pass a "cultural test" or be an official U.K. co-production.
Eligibility requirements are less stringent for other BAFTA categories, such as best director, which Cuarón won, and best film, which went to "12 Years a Slave." They merely require films to be released theatrically in the U.K. within BAFTA's awards year.
"Gravity" passed the cultural test for best British film, as it does indeed have British bona fides. The film was produced by Briton David Heyman (of the "Harry Potter" films) and shot at Pinewood Studios outside London and Shepperton Studios in Surrey. The shoot employed a local crew, and visual effects were handled by the U.K. outfit Framestore. Composer Steven Price is British as well.