And the award won't go to... how Bafta lost its worst 'best' actress
IT WAS supposed to bring the heartwarming tale of a faithful canine to a new generation of cinema-goers. But ill-fated movie The Adventures Of Greyfriars Bobby has once again turned around and bitten its makers on the backside.
Scotland on Sunday can reveal that award-winning actress Gina McKee was secretly stripped of a Scottish Bafta nomination for her part in the film because some jury members hated the movie and were underwhelmed by her performance.
The move is embarrassing for McKee and the film's makers, but it has also raised eyebrows within Bafta Scotland, which will now only have two nominations for best actress at its awards ceremony next Sunday.
Members of the organisation nominated three films to be put before the jury and some are asking why they bothered when McKee was ditched without any announcement or explanation.
The lack of a third best actress nominee also raises awkward questions about why Scotland is struggling to produce female movie stars despite having no difficulty finding male leads.
Gina McKee, who is English and herself a former Bafta award winner for Our Friends In The North, had a role in The Adventures Of Greyfriars Bobby as the widow of Bobby's owner.
But the film, which also starred Christopher Lee and James Cosmo, was shunned by cinema-goers and attracted some of the worst reviews of any Scottish film in recent times.
Total Film magazine dismissed it as "a mangy addition to the current craze for cute canine tales".
It seemed the last glimmer of hope for the film was the Bafta Scotland awards. Film companies were invited to put forward initial suggestions for consideration. There were six feature films and eight actresses on the initial lists.
Bafta Scotland then arranged special screenings of the films, several of which were still to come out. The organisation's 400 members were invited to vote for their 'top three', which went forward to the juries.
McKee joined Kate Dickie, for Red Road, and Laura Fraser, for the Graeme Obree biopic The Flying Scotsman, on the shortlist.
But when the formal list of nominations was published last week, only Dickie's and Fraser's names appeared.
Alison Forsyth, director of Bafta Scotland, confirmed: "When it actually came to the final jury decision, they said, 'We only want to nominate two people.' So that's the end of the story for us. We don't take it any further. It goes into the sealed envelope and it's not discussed any further."
One jury member, Ali de Souza, an acting teacher at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University College, admitted McKee had been one of the nominees.
When asked why she was not on the formal list, he said: "I do know, but I would have to speak with the other people on the jury to come to a consensus of what exactly the reasons were."
The other jurors, drama lecturer Julie Austin, actress Una McLean, casting director Victoria Beattie and Philip Howard, the director of Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre, were either unavailable or declined to comment.
But Scotland on Sunday understands at least one jury member loathed the film and was determined that any mention would be out of place at next weekend's televised ceremony to honour the best of Scottish film and television.
Opinions were also divided over McKee's performance, which some regarded as too ordinary to merit inclusion.
According to sources, jury members argued over McKee's nomination for so long that several missed the last train back to Edinburgh from Glasgow, where Bafta Scotland is based.
But Don Coutts, director of the film American Cousins and a Bafta member, described the jury's decision as "bizarre".
He said: "I don't think that seems fair at all. I have always thought one of the good things about Bafta is one imagines that that area of it is quite democratic. If the Bafta membership choose a shortlist then the jury has to judge that shortlist and deal with it as such."
He added: "You get a little nomination certificate even if you don't win. I've got one in a cardboard tube somewhere. That means she doesn't even get that. It's ridiculous."
Jim Hickey, a former director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, who sat on the jury for best film, said he thought the removal of a name was "odd".
He said: "We were given the three because that's what the members had voted for and we had to act on what the members had offered to us."
However, Janice Cutting, a writer and producer who is also a Bafta member, said: "I can sympathise with the jury. It's symptomatic of the fact that we're being really parochial in our catchment."
Cutting believes the field is too limited and the awards should be opened up to include Scottish actors in English and American films. Other observers believe it is a sad comment on the dearth of Scottish film actresses that there will be only two nominees next Sunday.
Several Scottish actors have risen to international prominence over the past decade, including Ewan McGregor, Gerry Butler and James McAvoy, but there have been few women.
"It's possibly not so much the dearth of actresses as the dearth of parts," said Forsyth. "Women's parts tend not to be as prevalent as male parts overall."
However, it was revealed just last week that the leading female roles in a film of Irvine Welsh's book Ecstasy have all gone to non-Scots.
McKee's disappearing nomination is not the first time Bafta's voting procedures have come under scrutiny. The process became mired in scandal at the 1992 Bafta UK Television Awards.
It was apparently a close contest between Prime Suspect and GBH for best drama serial and the jury voted secretly for the winner, which was announced as Prime Suspect.
However, four of the seven jurors publicly declared they had voted for GBH. Bafta said the paperwork had been destroyed, and the incident was dubbed 'Baftagate'.
There was further controversy three years ago when Bafta staff in London missed prominent actors and actresses off the list of potential nominees and got the sex wrong for others.
CASINO ROYALE (12A)
FOR years, James Bond has had more to worry about from the competition than from old foes such as Blofeld. Fantastic gadgets and sleek wheels? Check out the Mission Impossible franchise. Committed thumpings meted out by, or indeed upon, our hero? The Bourne series has its own kicking boy in Matt Damon. Fantastically beautiful women prepared to go to bed at the drop of a deadly double entendre? Even Austin Powers scores there, baby.
The heft of Bond history has bogged down his adventures, stringing together action sequences in the expected variety of exotic locations in a way that felt not so much hip, as hip replacement. But now - after 44 years, 20 films, five actors and countless schoolboyish sexual puns - Casino Royale has made 007 licensed to thrill again, with a bolder, edgier Bond.
From the very start, when the film skips its traditional gun barrel signature, this is a very different kind of Bond feature. Shaken but not deterred by the derision that greeted Pierce Brosnan's invisible car in Die Another Day, Casino Royale has opted to swap gadgets for grit.
The famous credits sequence even eschews gun-caressing nude women for casino motifs of hearts and clubs - and what follows is a lot of hearty clubbings, as well as some tersely expressed hearts and flowers with a sophisticated Bond girl (Eva Green).
In this film, Bond has just been awarded his 'double O' status and has yet to acquire his trademarks, even a well-made vodka Martini.
Unlike his predecessor - the well-groomed Brosnan - Daniel Craig doesn't look like an ultra-smooth consumer of girls and guns. More often, he's boozy, bleeding or battered.
This is altogether a more vulnerable Bond, who can get hurt both physically and emotionally. Not since Sean Connery has the suave British spy seemed so multi-faceted.
Still, some things have not changed: there are elaborate chases across airports and over-tall buildings, a quirky villain who weeps tears of blood and Dame Judi Dench's crisply irritable M.
Casino Royale will be on general cinema release on November 17
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