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Senna movie closes in on BAFTA awards
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jan 2012   |  12:39 pm GMT  |  24 comments

We are in the thick of what the movie industry calls “Awards Season” with the Writers Guild of America awards, the BAFTAs and the Oscars among the many awards ceremonies on the horizon.

Although the Senna movie was snubbed by the Academy for an Oscar nomination, it seems to be finding more traction with the British version of the awards, the BAFTAs.

Today it was confirmed that the documentary about the great Brazilian three times F1 champion has been shortlisted in three categories, including Outstanding British film for the ceremony on February 12 in London.

It has also had the nod in Best Documentary and Best Editing.

In Outstanding British Film it is up against “My Week With Marilyn”, “Shame”, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “We Need To Talk About Kevin”. In Best Documentary its competition is

Universal worked hard on getting the film out there to BAFTA members, even recruiting Senna’s great friend the F1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins to sit with the film-makers on Question and Answer sessions at screenings.

It could be paying off; there is a feeling at large that the tide could be moving towards the movie and that it might win at least one of the three. In Best Documentary it is up against Martin Scorsese’s film about Beatles guitarist George Harrison.

The competition is tough, but the film has some momentum behind it now, with record DVD sales and critical adulation.

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To those who followed F1 in the 80s-90s, it seemed Senna was a rogue. But it shows that the media can paint a picture, that does not show who a person really is!

The fact remains that every person has good/evil side, and he was human! We all expect sports persons to act larger than we are! Facts show that, is just perception.

Ayrton was a guy that was here to first gain attention, and then change the landscape of his country Brazil. He was a soft inside with a hard shell! He lived his highest values.

The film does not totally encapsulate the whole story, but in the end, even with Prost he had mad peace!


Having been given the DVD as a Christmas present I can only recommend it, although I stopped watching it once it got to Imola,

the drivers briefings are a highlight.

The film I felt does miss out on some important points, like Ayrtons decision to miss the Formula Ford Festival, which Tommy Byrne won in Ayrtons Van Diemen. ‘Crash and Bryne’ makes interesting reading on this subject; worth a film too.

His year in British F3 is also overlooked, an interview with Martin Brundle about that season would have been very illuminating on race craft too.

A good film, if you do end up with a lump in your throat.


There appears to be a great deal of biased emotion re this documentary simply because its about Senna…

Possibly one of the reasons it was “snubbed” by the Oscars is simply because it’s a very ordinary film.The subject matter is indeed extraordinary but the film makers missed a golden opportunity.Put simply their film was an editing exercise between talking heads and old footage..bolted to a sound track.As already mentioned there were glaring absentees in the film..why?.This resulted in hearing from the same people/drivers far too many times.This simply weakened the film.

Moreover they completely failed to get under and examine the obsessive personality of Senna.Why was he like this? It was far too superficial and lightweight.

Don’t get me wrong it was wonderful to see the old footage again( though I had seen nearly all of it before) and hear the sounds and “smell”of a different period but it remains a missed opportunity..and an average film.



The film has been doing so well not because it’s about F1 but because it’s a good film, objectively. The most impressive thing about the its reception has been the glowing praise it has received from people who don’t care one jot about motor sport. And I don’t think the momentum has ever changed or the tide was ever moving *away* from the film – it has been on an upwards trajectory since its release. The Oscars snub shouldn’t be seen as any kind of surprise – the longlist that it failed to get on is only partly based on merit and the category’s voting system is famously flawed and outdated.

Its closest competition for Best Documentary at the Baftas, by some margin, isn’t the George Harrison documentary, by the way, it’s Project Nim. Still, there is little doubt that Senna will win that award and may even pick up more. Deservedly so.


Great movie for the USA fans it is on Netflix now


Oscar nominations 01/24/2012.


I went to see it on a Friday afternoon in a cinema in Reading. I had the theatre to myself and it was a surreal and moving experience. It didn’t make me love Senna, but it was a truly great film, and the editing is brilliant.


Just following on from last topic on Senna movie a week or so ago. I got another DVD, had a closer look at the audio/captions set up and bingo, got it to work!

Great movie and even my wife (another F1 widow) was impressed with it!


James, do you know or suspect why Nigal Mansell did not feature and was not interviewed in the film. He is conspicuous by his absence.

Since watching the film & the dvd I have read the book ‘Senna versus Prost’ by Malcolm Folley (isbn 978-0-0995-2809-8 – paperback – Published 2008 – cover price £8.99). Thoroughly recommend it as it complements and adds much detail to background events, situations and subjects only touched-on by the movie. The book tends to give the film a more meaningful context.

Hope the film does well in the BAFTAs, the film fully deserves all the recognition it appears now to be receiving.


Another person conspicuous by his absence is Gerhard Berger who I believe declined to be interviewed for the film.

While I thought it was an excellent documentary I found it almost too biased. Anyone unfamiliar with Senna would be left thinking he was a saint and the Prose was the devil incarnate. It completely glosses over his darker side and there is no mention of the fact that in 91 Senna admitted deliberately crashing in to Prost. No one should think they have the god given right to put another person’s life in danger.


Although the Senna movie was snubbed by the Academy for an Oscar nomination


It’s a known fact that a lot of under the table deals go on with the American ward shows just ask Elton John & his partner after Madonna’s win at the Golden Globes.

Then of course, who can forget the Kanye West – Taylor Swift fiasco a few years ago.

Anyway, at least we have some good news with the BAFTAS, just goes to show we the Brits love our Formula 1 & it’s good drivers irrespective of what countries they’re from.

And no, I doubt the Senna movie has got any competition for Biopics especially sad ones tend to perform well at award shows.

As Senna himself used to like to say… ”I have pole position”


Sorry for being ignorant. I am in Singapore, how can I order the dvd?


You can buy it from Amazon. Most other DVD retailers probably have it as well.


That photo never loses its power almost 18 years from 1st May 1994. Senna looks completely lose in thought.


i have yet to see the movie, but just the previews alone is something very special . yet i’m here in dallas texas and i have call some theaters that shows documentary films and no one can tell me when can we see it in the states. being a fan of senna and f1 it a hard pill to swallow . please please james can you help me???


It is available on NetFlix


Senna played at Angelika theatre starting last September. There was a huge kickoff party in Austin by The Austin Grand Prix in August. Good times.


Wow I’m amazed it hasn’t been released widely in the US like in other countries just to give you an example it was released in Mexico in most theaters last year… but it was sponsored by TELMEX of course 😉


This movie was released across the US starting in July.


Get the DVD. It’s worth it.


My kids gave me the DVD for Christmas, I don’t go out to the cinema any more. It was very moving and I found the on-board shots particularly gripping, and very illustrative of his almost mystical powers over the limit. Schumacher later acquired the same, but only by hundreds of hours of practice, Senna had it built in. Senna talked about driving unconsciously at Monaco. Telling him to slow down broke the spell and he crashed.

I would have likes to see more of his younger days in the film and for the UK commentators to be named. Murray and James were often used but never acknowledged.


“In Best Documentary its competition is…”

George Harrison: Living in the Material Morld

Project Nim


Unbelievable that it didn’t make ‘Best Documentary’ at the Oscars…

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