Baftas 2014: Gravity leads pack as Chiwetel Ejiofor gets best actor nod for 12 Years a Slave

British actor faces stiff competition from veteran Bruce Dern and Hollywood stars Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks

Nick Clark@MrNickClark
Wednesday 08 January 2014 09:26
Space drama Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, leads the pack with 11 nominations
Space drama Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, leads the pack with 11 nominations

Box office blockbuster Gravity led the way at the nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, but faces strong competition from acclaimed slavery film 12 Years a Slave.

Judi Dench also became the most nominated actress at the Baftas, after she received a nod for Philomena. She has been nominated 15 times and won six. She overtakes Meryl Streep, who missed out on a nomination for August: Osage County.

The nominations for the 2014 Baftas were revealed by actors Helen McCrory and Luke Evans at the organisation’s headquarters in Piccadilly this morning.

Click here to see the nominees in full

Amanda Berry, chief executive of Bafta, said: “It is a fantastic year, and what's really great is to see British talent throughout the nominations. Whether it's British directors, actors or behind the camera talent. It really shows the strength of the industry at the moment.” Ms Berry added that this trend marked a change from recent years.

Gravity, the effects-laden thriller set in space, received 11 nominations including best film, as well as nods to director Alfonso Cuaron and star Sandra Bullock, her first Bafta nomination. Another first is the nomination for Oprah Winfrey, in the best supporting actress category for The Butler.

Despite the US stars and a Mexican director, the vast majority of Gravity’s crew were from the UK, where it was shot, including the special effects team from Framestore, which made it eligible for the award for outstanding British film.

12 Years a Slave, directed by British artist-turned-director Steve McQueen received 10 nominations including for McQueen, as well as best film, Chiwetel Ejiofor for leading actor and Lupita Nyong’o for supporting actress.

Chiwetel said he was "proud" of the recognition the film had received. “I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world. There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a Bafta nomination from home,” he said.

Also with 10 nominations was American Hustle, including best film, its director David O. Russell, and stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence received a nomination as best supporting actress.

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The best actress competitive category also includes early favourite Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine and Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks.

The best actor category is rounded out by Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street and Bruce Dern for Nebraska.

Competing with Gravity for outstanding British film is Philomena, also up for best film. Steve Coogan, who produced, wrote and starred in the film, said: “ Philomena has been a labour of love, to make a film with the very best people, where comedy and pathos sit side by side is not easy. We all wanted to make something sincere and uncynical without being naïve. To have it acknowledged by Bafta is very satisfying.”

The best British category is rounded out by Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Rush, Saving Mr Banks and The Selfish Giant.

Another strong category was for documentary, with the hugely acclaimed The Act of Killing going up against The Armstrong Lie, about cyclist Lance Armstrong, Blackfish, Tim’s Vermeer and We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.

Video: Bafta film nominations announced

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