Hometown favorite “Atonement” is the front-runner in the nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, grabbing 14 mentions, ahead of nine apiece for “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.”
Those three movies are competing for best film along with “American Gangster” and last year’s foreign-language Oscar winner “The Lives of Others,” both of which received five noms.
Four of those movies also feature in the director race, with noms for Joe Wright, Joel and Ethan Coen, Paul Thomas Anderson and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Paul Greengrass gets the fifth for “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
Best British film nominees are “Atonement,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Control,” “Eastern Promises” and “This Is England.”
Noms for leading actor went to George Clooney (“Michael Clayton”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“There Will Be Blood”), James McAvoy (“Atonement”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Eastern Promises”), along with a posthumous nomination for Ulrich Muehe (“The Lives of Others”), who died of stomach cancer in July.
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Cate Blanchett drew two mentions, for leading actress in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and supporting actress in “I’m Not There.”
Her rivals for the actress nod are Julie Christie (“Away From Her”), Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en rose”), Keira Knightley (“Atonement”) and Ellen Page (“Juno”), who is also nominated for the Orange Rising Star award, as previously announced.
In the supporting actress race, Blanchett is up against Kelly Macdonald (“No Country for Old Men”), Samantha Morton (“Control”), Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”) and Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”).
Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones (both for “No Country for Old Men”), Paul Dano (“There Will Be Blood”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Charlie’s Wilson War”) and Tom Wilkinson (“Michael Clayton”) are in the running for supporting actor.
Vying for animated film kudos are “Ratatouille,” “Shrek the Third” and “The Simpsons Movie.”
Nominees for the Carl Foreman Award for special achievement by a British director, writer or producer in a first feature include Chris Atkins for writing and directing the doc “Taking Liberties,” Mia Bays for producing the doc “Scott Walker: 30 Century Man,” Sarah Gavron for directing “Brick Lane,” Matt Greenhalgh for writing “Control” and Andrew Piddington for writing and directing “The Killing of John Lennon.”
Up for the original screenplay prize are Steven Zaillian (“American Gangster”), Diablo Cody (“Juno”), von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”), Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton”) and Shane Meadows (“This Is England”).
Nominated scribes in the adapted screenplay category are Christopher Hampton (“Atonement”), Ronald Harwood (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), David Benioff (“The Kite Runner”), the Coen brothers (“No Country for Old Men”) and Anderson (“There Will Be Blood”).
It was a good day for Universal, with 32 nominations in total for “Atonement,” “American Gangster,” “The Bourne Ultimatum” (six), “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (four), “Lust, Caution” (two) and “Charlie Wilson’s War” (one).
Icon’s “La Vie en rose” was the most successful indie and foreign-language movie with seven mentions, although Lionsgate’s “Lives of Others,” with five noms including film, director and actor, is the hotter favorite to win on the night and looks a shoo-in for foreign film.
The Coens had the most personal nominations, with four (including their pseudonymous editing mention as Roderick Jaynes). Another notable double nominee is Brit producer Paul Webster for “Atonement” and “Eastern Promises.”
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner’s Working Title had two films to celebrate, with the strong showing for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” backing up the triumph for “Atonement.”
There were some notable omissions. If Angelina Jolie were British, she would surely have figured in for her performance in local helmer Michael Winterbottom’s “A Mighty Heart.” “Sweeney Todd,” shot in Blighty, paid the price for Warner’s decision not to send DVDs to BAFTA voters, picking up just two noms.
“Into the Wild,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Assassination of Jesse James” were among the pics completely shut out.
Winners will be announced Feb. 10 at London’s Royal Opera House.