LONDON — “The Aviator” leads the race for this year’s British Academy Film Awards with 14 nominations, ahead of “Finding Neverland” and “Vera Drake,” which scored 11 apiece.
All three are vying for the top film prize with “The Motorcycle Diaries” (seven noms) and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (six).
Kate Winslet scored a double in the actress category for her perfs in “Eternal Sunshine” and “Finding Neverland.” Jamie Foxx also was nominated twice, in the actor race for “Ray” (for which he won a Golden Globe) and the supporting actor stakes for “Collateral.”
“Collateral” made a strong showing with six noms, including Michael Mann for director. He is competing against Martin Scorsese (“Aviator”), Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine”), Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland”) and Mike Leigh (“Vera Drake”).
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Chinese martial arts romance “House of Flying Daggers” sprung something of a surprise with nine noms, including Zhang Ziyi in the actress category. But she faces stiff competition from Imelda Staunton in “Vera Drake,” last year’s Oscar winner Charlize Theron in “Monster” and Winslet.
Foxx’s rivals in the acting section are Gael Garcia Bernal in “Motorcycle Diaries,” Jim Carrey in “Eternal Sunshine,” Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland” and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Aviator.”
“Dead Man’s Shoes,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “My Summer of Love,” “Shaun of the Dead” and “Vera Drake” go toe-to-toe for the Alexander Korda prize, awarded for British film of the year. The third “Potter” pic scored four noms.
The supporting actor race pits Foxx against Alan Alda (“Aviator”), Golden Globe winner Clive Owen (“Closer”), Phil Davis (“Vera Drake”) and Rodrigo de la Serna (“Motorcycle Diaries”). In the supporting actress section, the nominees are Cate Blanchett (“Aviator”), Heather Craney (“Vera Drake”), Julie Christie (“Finding Neverland”), Meryl Streep (“The Manchurian Candidate”) and Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman (“Closer”).
“Motorcycle Diaries” and “House of Flying Daggers” will battle “Les Choristes,” “A Very Long Engagement” and “Bad Education” for the foreign-language award.
Matthew Vaughn, director of “Layer Cake,” has become the first person to win a second nomination for the Carl Foreman Award, which goes to a British newcomer; he was nommed six years ago for his producing debut, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Other nominees in this category are director Amma Asante (“A Way of Life”), writer Andrea Gibb (“Afterlife”), producer Nira Park (“Shaun of the Dead”) and director Shona Auerbach (“Dear Frankie”).
“Sideways,” which received seven Golden Globes noms and is a hot Oscar contender, managed just one BAFTA nom, for adapted screenplay. “Million Dollar Baby,” which won director and actress nods for Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank at the Golden Globes and is another likely Oscar contender, had few screenings in the U.K. and was overlooked by voters.
Signaling the increased relevance of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts’ film awards in the kudos season calendar and increased Brit media interest, the nomination announcement was broadcast live for the first time.
“Dear Frankie” actress Emily Mortimer joined BAFTA chairman Duncan Kenworthy onstage at the org’s 195 Piccadilly headquarters to unveil the contenders in the nine categories.
The awards will be dished out once again by Stephen Fry on Feb. 12 at the Odeon Leicester Square.