Baftas go to Hollywood

American actors and directors are likely to dominate tonight's awards, leaving few chances for British nominees

Britain swept the board at last year's film awards, and triumphant headlines echoed screenwriter Colin Welland's cry from 1981: "The British are coming." What a difference a year makes: critics and bookies warned yesterday we must steel ourselves for an American invasion, with the first wave expected to dominate tonight's Bafta Awards.

American Kathryn Bigelow is the bookmaker's favourite for best director, for her Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker; her ex-husband, Avatar director James Cameron, is second in line. Also in the running are the American Quentin Tarantino, South African-born Neill Blomkamp and Danish Lone Scherfig.

The change could not be more profound after last year's triumph, when British director Danny Boyle took best director and with six other Baftas, including the coveted best film award for Slumdog Millionaire.

"It's shocking that a British name isn't among the best director contenders," said Sam Ashurst of Total Film magazine. "I expect An Education, A Single Man and Nowhere Boy to do well, but the big prizes will go to American films."

British film-makers are pinning their hopes on the best actor and actress categories. Andy Serkis is a prospect for his turn as musician Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, as is Colin Firth – who picked best British actor at last week's London Film Critics Circle Awards – for his role in Tom Ford's A Single Man.

Twenty-four-year-old Londoner Carey Mulligan is tipped to hold off Meryl Streep and Audrey Tautou, and newcomers Saoirse Ronan and Gabourey Sidibe, as best actress for her role as Jenny in An Education. She took best British actress at the Critics Circle Awards.

Bookmaker William Hill said that partisan betting had shortened the odds on British contenders. "British punters are convinced that the judges will be biased towards any Brit, and we have seen a gamble on both Colin Firth and Andy Serkis to win the leading actor."

But industry insiders say this cannot disguise a dearth of top-notch home-grown films. "I don't think that it has been a banner year for British film," said Helen O'Hara, deputy online editor at Empire magazine. "The films have been good but out of kilter with the type of films that win awards. We haven't had an English Patient or Atonement. An Education is the closest we've got."

Some grumble, however, that British movies have been deliberately excluded from the forthcoming Oscars as "compensation" for Hollywood after the runaway success of multiple winner Slumdog Millionaire. British films are almost non-existent in this year's prestigious Oscar categories, only An Education picking up a nomination for best picture.

British actors have salvaged some dignity, with Colin Firth picking up his first Oscar nomination, and the stalwart Helen Mirren nominated for her role as Sofya Tolstoy in The Last Station.

"It seems that this year's Oscar nominations are overcompensating for last year's British invasion. Aside from a handful of token nods, the big stories at this year's ceremony are all American," said Mr Ashurst.

Amanda Nevill, director of the British Film Institute, agreed: "For a British film to do well at the Oscars [this year], it has to do one and a half times as well as an American one."

Nominations

Best film Avatar, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Up in the Air

Outstanding British film An Education, Fish Tank, In the Loop, Moon, Nowhere Boy

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director of producer Lucy Bailey, Andrew Thompson, Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock, David Pearson, Mugabe and the White African; Eran Creevy, Shifty; Stuart Hazeldine, Exam; Duncan Jones, Moon,; Sam Taylor-Wood, Nowhere Boy

Director James Cameron, Avatar; Neill Blomkamp, District 9; Lone Scherfig, An Education; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker; Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Leading actor Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; George Clooney, Up in the Air; Colin Firth, A Single Man; Andy Serkis, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll; Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Leading actress Carey Mulligan, An Education; Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones; Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia; Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel

Supporting actor Alec Baldwin, It's Complicated; Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles; Alfred Molina, An Education; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones; Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Supporting actress Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Mo'Nique, Precious; Kristin Scott Thomas, Nowhere Boy already announced: academy fellowship Vanessa Redgrave

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Stinson Hunter and his associates Stubbs and Grime in Channel 4 documentary The Paedophile Hunter

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
This Banksy mural in Clacton has been removed by the council
art
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?