It was hailed at Cannes, praised by critics - and is already Mike Leigh’s most successful film at the box office.
Insiders expressed their surprise that the 6,500 “industry professionals” of Bafta’s voting membership overlooked a film that had struck such a chord with the public - especially as 71-year-old Leigh has previously been favoured by the academy.
There was particular sympathy for Timothy Spall, who won the best acting award at Cannes last year for his depiction of Turner.
Samantha Horley, a Bafta member and managing director of film sales company Salt, said: “I’m flabbergasted. Ironic his most popular film has been the least resonant with voters. It’s my favourite Mike Leigh film in 20 years.”
Colin Vaines, a film producer and Bafta member, said: “The big surprise was that Tim Spall didn’t get recognised. It’s an amazing performance.”
Mr Turner opened in September to five star reviews and posted a record opening weekend for a Leigh film taking £900,000. It went on to become his biggest grossing film at the cinema overtaking Vera Drake.
Yet it has only secured Bafta nominations for its cinematography, production design, costume and hair and make-up. Nick James, editor of Sight & Sound magazine, described the snub as “utterly mystifying”.
Baftas 2015 nominees
Baftas 2015 nominees
1/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Rosamund Pike plays over-achieving Ivy League graduate Amy Dunne in Gone Girl and is nominated for leading actress
2/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Michael Keaton (left) with Edward Norton in existential comedy Birdman - Keaton is up for leading actor
3/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Julianne Moore receives a devastating diagnosis as linguistics professor Alice Howland in Still Alice - she has been nominated for leading actress
4/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Benedict Cumberbatch is up for leading actor for his role as code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game
5/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Reese Witherspoon has earned a Baftas leading actress nod for her adventurous role in Wild
6/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Jake Gyllenhaal in plays a creepy journalist in Nightcrawler and is up leading actor
7/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Amy Adams is nominated for leading actress for her role alongside Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
8/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Eddie Redmayne is nominated for leading actor for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything
9/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Felicity Jones plays Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde in The Theory of Everything and is up for leading actress
10/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Ralph Fiennes has a leading actor Baftas nod for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel
11/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Patricia Arquette has a Bafta supporting actress nomination for her performance in Boyhood
12/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
J.K. Simmons stars as an abusive tutor alongside Miles Teller in Whiplash
Sony Pictures Classics
13/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Keira Knightley is nominated for supporting actress for her role in The Imitation Game
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Imitation Game/downloaded from Papicselect
14/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Ethan Hawke has a supporting actor nod for his performance in Richard Linklater's Boyhood.
15/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Emma Stone is up for supporting actress for playing Sam in Birdman
16/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Mark Ruffalo is up for supporting actor for his performance alongside Channing Tatum in wrestling drama Foxcatcher
17/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Rene Russo is nominated for supporting actress for her role as Nina Romina in Nightcrawler
Chuck Zlotnick/© 2014 Open Road Films/The Hollywood Archive
18/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton star in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman - Norton is up for supporting actor
19/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Imelda Staunton (centre) with Liz White and Nia Gwynne in Pride - Staunton is up for supporting actress at the Baftas
20/20 Baftas 2015 nominees
Steve Carell is nominated for supporting actor for his role as John du Pont in Foxcatcher
US comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel leads the field with 11 nominations. It was recognised in categories including best film, best director for Wes Anderson, and best actor for Ralph Fiennes.
Two British films about flawed scientific geniuses secured a string of nominations. Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything secured 10 and Alan Turing film The Imitation Game received nine. Both are up for best film and outstanding British film.
It pits two of the UK’s finest acting talent against each other with Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Hawking going up against Benedict Cumberbatch’s Turing. Both actors have been nominated for a Bafta for the first time.
Redmayne’s co-star Felicity Jones, who was nominated for best actress for her role as Hawking’s wife Jane said she screamed when she heard the news. “It’s fantastic for a film like this to be supported at home,“ she said.
Strong competition was posted by two acclaimed American films in Birdman, with 10 nominations, and Boyhood, with five, both of which will compete for best film.Reuse content