The nominations for the Baftas, announced yesterday, include Caine for his role as a sleazy agent in the film Little Voice, a role for which he has already received a Golden Globe. Otherwise, the British Academy's choices are remarkably in line with the Oscar nominees, with period dramas Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth dominating the list.
The Titanic actress Kate Winslet unveiled the shortlist for the 51st British Academy Film Awards at the Bafta building in Piccadilly, London. Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love are in the running for best direction and best actress and Geoffrey Rush earned nominations as supporting actor for both films.
Shakespeare in Love picked up another supporting actor nomination for Tom Wilkinson, a best actor nomination for Joseph Fiennes and a supporting actress nomination for Dame Judi Dench - who is also in the running for an Oscar.
Brenda Blethyn, another Oscar hopeful, is also up for a supporting actress title for Little Voice, while Jane Horrocks is nominated for best actress for the same film - a nomination she failed to receive in the Oscars. She is against three other Oscar nominees - Emily Watson, for Hilary and Jackie, Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love, and Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth.
Saving Private Ryan and The Truman Show are the other shortlisted films in the "best film" category. There was no nomination for Sir Ian McKellen, who had been short-listed for an Oscar for his role in the film Gods and Monsters. However, his co-star Lynn Redgrave was nominated best supporting actress for the same film.
Kate Winslet paid tribute to the state of the British screen industry. "This year it really does feel like it's been a great year for British film," she said.
This year's event is to be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London, on 11 April and will be hosted by Jonathan Ross, the new presenter of BBC1's Film '99. He said yesterday he regarded the Baftas as the "thinking person's Oscars".
The shortlist for the main categories at the 51st British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) are as follows:
n Best Film - Elizabeth, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love, The Truman Show.
n Best Performance by an actress in a leading role - Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth), Jane Horrocks (Little Voice), Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love), Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie).
n Best Performance by an actor in a leading role - Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful), Michael Caine (Little Voice), Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan).
n Best Performance by an actress in a supporting role - Kathy Bates (Primary Colors), Brenda Blethyn (Little Voice), Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters).
n Best Performance by an actor in a supporting role - Ed Harris (The Truman Show), Geoffrey Rush (Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love), Tom Wilkinson (Shakespeare in Love).
n Alexander Korda Award for the outstanding British film of the year - Elizabeth, Hilary and Jackie, Little Voice, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, My Name is Joe, Sliding Doors.
n David Lean Award for best achievement in direction - Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth), Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), Peter Weir (The Truman Show).
n Orange Audience Award for most popular film of 1998 - A Bug's Life, Armageddon, Doctor Dolittle, Enemy of the State, Godzilla, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love, Sliding Doors, There's Something About Mary.