‘Casino,’ ‘Queen’ lead pack

Brit Academy Film Awards announces longlist

LONDON — The two most commercially successful British movies of the year, “Casino Royale” and “The Queen,” have emerged at the top of the longlists for the British Academy Film Awards, with 14 entries apiece.

They are closely followed by a more eclectic bunch of multilingual pics, including “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Babel,” “Children of Men” and “The Departed,” which all have 13 nods.

“The Last King of Scotland” and “Little Miss Sunshine” picked up 12, and “Volver” and “Dreamgirls” tied on 10.

This is the result of the first round of BAFTA voting, when the choices are narrowed down to 15 contenders in each category. The five nominees will be selected in the second round, which ends Jan. 12.

But given the number of films in the longlists, it’s the omissions that are as significant as the inclusions. So the surprise news is that “Dreamgirls” didn’t make the cut for best film, despite its plentiful entries in other sections.

The other entries on the best film list include “Bobby” (eight nods), “The Devil Wears Prada” (nine), “Flags of Our Fathers” (eight), “The History Boys (five), “Notes on a Scandal” (nine) and “United 93” (seven).

“The Devil Wears Prada” was the only best film entry not to make the list for best director, where it was replaced by “Apocalypto” (nine nods).

There was no place for “Factory Girl” in any of the lists, despite the strenous efforts of the Weinstein Co. to qualify the movie for BAFTA, and to courier last-minute screeners out to voters at great expense.

Nor was there any recognition for such critically-acclaimed low-budget Brit pics as “Red Road” and “London to Brighton,” which didn’t send out screeners.

The acting longlists also throw up some BAFTA quirks, with voters often refusing to follow guidance from distribs on which roles should be regarded as supporting.

So Cate Blanchett is pitched against her “Notes on a Scandal” co-star Judi Dench in the main actress category, where she also faces Emma Thompson from “Stranger Than Fiction,” Jodie Whittaker from “Venus,” Juliette Binoche from “Breaking and Entering” and Eva Green from “Casino Royale,” all arguably supporting performances.

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