"Bridge of Spies," "Carol" lead BAFTA nominees with 9 nods each
LONDON >> Cold War thriller "Bridge of Spies" and lush lesbian romance "Carol" lead nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, while Eddie Redmayne has a chance to win a second straight best-actor prize with his role as a transgender artist in "The Danish Girl."
"Bridge of Spies" and "Carol" each have nine nominations for Britain's equivalent of the Oscars, including best picture. Survival saga "The Revenant" has eight, and dystopian thrill ride "Mad Max: Fury Road" has seven.
"The Danish Girl" — based on the life of early 20th-century transgender woman Lili Elbe — received five nominations Friday, including acting nods for Redmayne and co-star Alicia Vikander. Last year Redmayne won the same prize — and an Oscar — for the Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything."
Swedish rising star Vikander also received a supporting-actress nomination for sci-fi thriller "Ex Machina."
Vikander called both films "such gifts of projects for me" and said she was extremely grateful to be nominated.
The other best-actor contenders are Bryan Cranston for Red Scare drama "Trumbo"; Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant"; Matt Damon for space adventure "The Martian"; and Michael Fassbender for computing biopic "Steve Jobs."
In the best-actress category, Vikander is up against Brie Larson for mother-son drama "Room"; Cate Blanchett for "Carol"; Maggie Smith for Alan Bennett adaptation "The Lady in the Van"; and Saoirse Ronan for Irish emigrant tale "Brooklyn."
Winners of the British trophies, known as BAFTAs, will be decided by 6,500 members of the British film academy and announced at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 14, two weeks before Hollywood's Academy Awards.
The British awards are considered an omen of Oscars success, and the list puts awards-season propulsion behind Steven Spielberg's sturdy Tom Hanks vehicle "Bridge of Spies," Todd Haynes' gorgeously shot "Carol" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "The Revenant," which stars DiCaprio as a 19th-century fur trapper fighting for survival in the wilderness.
All three filmmakers are nominated for best director at the BAFTAs, along with Adam McKay for financial-crisis drama "The Big Short" and Ridley Scott for "The Martian."
The best-picture nominees are "The Big Short"; "Bridge of Spies"; "Carol"; "The Revenant"; and newspaper drama "Spotlight." The separate category of best British film pits "The Danish Girl" against "Ex Machina"; "Brooklyn"; Amy Winehouse documentary "Amy"; marriage drama "45 Years"; and quirky sci-fi fable "The Lobster."
The year's biggest films at the British box office were relatively overlooked by the film academy. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" received four nominations — for production design, sound, music and visual effects — while James Bond adventure "Spectre" got nothing.
"Star Wars" newcomer John Boyega was nominated for the Rising Star Award — decided by public vote — alongside "Room" star Larson and performers Bel Powley, Dakota Johnson and Taron Egerton.
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