Cold War fever as 1950s spies and romance lead Bafta picks

AFP , Friday 8 Jan 2016

Steven Spielberg spy thriller "Bridge of Spies" and "Carol", a story of romance between two women, led the nominations on Friday for Britain's Bafta film awards, seen as a tip for later Oscar success.

The two Cold War-era stories set in the United States in the 1950s have nine nominations each and are both nominated in the best film category.

They are up against financial drama "The Big Short" and survival tale "The Revenant", which has eight nominations.

Also in the running for best film is "Spotlight" -- the story of the journalists who uncovered sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, which led nominations at the Golden Globes along with "Carol".

"We couldn't have more different films. There is a good mix in there of British talent as well," said Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts).

Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, 21, is nominated for best actress for her performance in "Brooklyn", the story of an Irish immigrant to New York, which has six nominations.

The other nominees for best actress are Cate Blanchett for "Carol", Brie Larson for "Room", Maggie Smith for "The Lady in the Van" and Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl" -- who is also up for best supporting actress for her role in thriller "Ex Machina".

Vikander's fellow star in "The Danish Girl", British actor Eddie Redmayne, who plays a transgender artist, is nominated for best actor for the same film.

It is Redmayne's second best actor nomination in a row after winning the award last year for portraying scientist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything".

Redmayne will be up against Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant", Michael Fassbender for "Steve Jobs", Matt Damon for "The Martian" and "Trumbo" star Bryan Cranston -- known for his leading role in television hit "Breaking Bad".

In the best director category, Spielberg is up against Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Britain's Ridley Scott, and US directors Adam McKay and Todd Haynes.

"I'm so pleased to see a great wide sweep of films represented, both intimate portraits -- if you might call them that -- like 'Room' and 'Carol' and sort of epics like 'The Revenant'," said British actor and comedian Stephen Fry.

He likened Inarritu's "The Revenant" to the "incredible outdoor films" of cinema history and had praise for its star, who endures extreme cold and a bear attack in the frontier film set in the 1800s.

"A lot of people will feel that this is one of Leonardo DiCaprio's most accomplished and extraordinary performances, both as a physical achievement to have done what he has done, but also as an acting achievement and there is a huge amount of affection for him," Fry said.

"He's a very liked and respected man, he has an extraordinary sort of dignity and self-assurance without any cockiness, conceit or any of the other qualities that some people are perceived to have. So I think there will be a strong move to voting for him but you can't guarantee it."

The awards will be announced on February 14, two weeks before the Oscars.

The main nominations:

Best film
"The Big Short"
"Bridge of Spies"
"The Revenant"

Outstanding British film
"45 Years"
"The Danish Girl"
"Ex Machina"

Best director
Adam McKay for "The Big Short"
Steven Spielberg for "Bridge of Spies"
Todd Haynes for "Carol"
Ridley Scott for "The Martian"
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "The Revenant"

Leading actor
Bryan Cranston for "Trumbo"
Matt Damon for "The Martian"
Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant"
Michael Fassbender for "Steve Jobs"
Eddie Redmayne for "The Danish Girl"

Leading actress
Cate Blanchett for "Carol"
Brie Larson for "Room"
Saoirse Ronan for "Brooklyn"
Maggie Smith for "The Lady in the Van"
Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl"

Supporting actor
Christian Bale for "The Big Short"
Benicio del Toro for "Sicario"
Idris Elba for "Beasts of No Nation"
Mark Ruffalo for "Spotlight"
Mark Rylance for "Bridge of Spies"

Supporting actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh for "The Hateful Eight"
Rooney Mara for "Carol"
Alicia Vikander for "Ex Machina"
Julie Walters for "Brooklyn"
Kate Winslet for "Steve Jobs"

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