"Gravity", starring Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George
Clooney, was shortlisted in categories including best film, best
actress, best director for Alfonso Cuaron, best sound and visual
effects, and outstanding British film.
The nomination for top British film gave "Gravity" the edge over
U.S. rivals in a highly competitive year in which the
unflinching slavery drama, "12 Years a Slave," from British
director Steve McQueen, is topping many U.S. award lists.
That film is heading the nominations across the Atlantic for the
January 12 Golden Globe awards and is a favorite for the Oscars
on March 2. Its British lead actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is also
nominated for the BAFTA best actor prize.
Ejiofor, 36, gained recognition as the lead in the 2002 dark
crime thriller "Dirty Pretty Things" but his role in "12 Years a
Slave" as a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery has thrust
him into the limelight, winning him a list of award nominations.
"I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film
is getting around the world. There is, of course, something
particularly special about receiving a BAFTA nomination from
home," Ejiofor said in a statement.
Other films competing for the BAFTA best film award are 1970s
con-men caper "American Hustle," Somali pirate thriller "Captain
Phillips" and the heart-tugging adoption drama "Philomena."
Of these five films vying for the top prize, all but "Philomena"
are also competing for the best director award with Cuaron
running alongside McQueen, David O. Russell for "American
Hustle" and Paul Greengrass for "Captain Phillips."
The fifth in this field was Hollywood veteran Martin Scorsese for his tale of
American greed "The Wolf of Wall Street."
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Vying for the best actor prize are Christian Bale in
"American Hustle," Bruce Dern in "Nebraska," Leonardo DiCaprio in
"The Wolf of Wall Street" and Tom Hanks in "Captain Phillips."
Veteran British star Judi Dench was one of five
women competing for the best actress award. The biggest surprise in
that category was that Amy Adams was nominated for "American Hustle"
but Meryl Streep was overlooked for "August: Osage County."
The two others vying for best actress are Emma Thompson in "Saving
Mr. Banks" and Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen's tragic comedy
The BAFTAs have had a patchy record in predicting which films go on
to scoop the biggest movie honors, the Oscars, although the main
winners in London in the past two years, "The Artist" and "Argo,"
stormed to best picture victory at the Academy Awards.
The awards ceremony for the BAFTAs, formally called the EE British
Academy Film Awards, takes place in London on Feb. 16.
(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, editing
by Elizabeth Piper)
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