Cold Mountain leads Bafta nominations

Cold Mountain and The Lord Of The Rings led the nominations today for this year's Baftas, the British equivalent of the Oscars.

Jude Law and Renee Zellweger were both named for Cold Mountain but there was no nomination for its female lead, Nicole Kidman.

The American Civil War drama got 13 nominations while The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King received 12.

Girl With A Pearl Earring, starring Colin Firth as the painter Vermeer, was nominated in 10 categories.

Sean Penn has two best actor nominations - for 21 Grams and Mystic River - while Scarlett Johansson is up for two best actress awards for her roles in Girl With A Pearl Earring and Lost In Translation.

Stephen Fry announced the nominees at the Bafta headquarters in Piccadilly, central London. He will host the awards ceremony for the fourth year running at the Odeon in Leicester Square on 15 February.

Kidman was widely expected to make the best actress shortlist but Bafta voters decided otherwise.

The surprise snub is all the more marked because the Australian actress won the award last year for her performance in The Hours.

Her Cold Mountain role has been recognised in the US, where it has earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

The best actress list instead includes Anne Reid, the 68-year-old star of The Mother who was previously best known for her roles in Victoria Wood comedy dinnerladies and as Ken Barlow's first wife Val in Coronation Street.

Reid is up against Uma Thurman for Kill Bill Vol 1, Naomi Watts for 21 Grams and the young actress Scarlett Johansson.

Johansson, 19, is nominated for her roles in two of the most critically acclaimed films of the year - Lost In Translation and Girl With A Pearl Earring.

Sean Penn similarly has two nominations in the best actor category, for 21 Grams and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River.

The other contenders are his 21 Grams co-star Benicio Del Toro, Bill Murray for Lost In Translation, Johnny Depp for Pirates Of the Caribbean and Jude Law for Cold Mountain.

There was disappointment for the makers of British hit Love Actually, which picked up only three nominations despite its success at the box office.

Hugh Grant does not get a mention, although Bill Nighy is up for best supporting actor and Emma Thompson for best supporting actress.

Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation has eight nominations, as does Russell Crowe's seafaring epic Master And Commander.

Tim Burton's Big Fish, starring Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney, has seven.

Another surprise omission is Calendar Girls, a hit at the box office but snubbed by Bafta voters.

Stars Helen Mirren and Julie Walters were overlooked for acting honours and the film failed to make the shortlist for best British film.

The Baftas also have an additional "people's choice" award, voted for by the British public. The Orange Film Of The Year category comprises the top 10 box office hits of 2003.

They are Bruce Almighty, Calendar Girls, Finding Nemo, Love Actually, Johnny English, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of the Black Pearl, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, X2: X Men United, The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King and The Matrix Reloaded.

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