Fry ankles kudocast as ceremony shifts to opera house

LONDON — The British Academy Film Awards will have a new host and a new home this year, with Stephen Fry stepping down as presenter and the ceremony moving to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, central London.

Favorite to replace Fry is Jonathan Ross, the chatshow host and presenter of the BBC’s flagship movie review show “Film 2006.” Insiders said Ross is the only name on the shortlist of candidates to fill Fry’s shoes, after Fry and BAFTA agreed it was time for him to take a break.

Fry had hosted the award ceremony for the past six years at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. But a reduction in the cinema’s seating capacity forced BAFTA to look for an alternate venue.

The Royal Opera House, just five minutes’ walk from Leicester Square, also offers BAFTA the chance to screen the awards live on the ROH’s outdoor screen.

Fry’s links with the org will not be severed completely. He hosts BAFTA/LA’s Britannia Awards for the first time Nov. 2 (Daily Variety, Oct. 9).

The BAFTA Film Awards take place Feb. 11.

(Leo Barraclough contributed to this report.)

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