'The Grand Budapest Hotel' leads BAFTA nominations
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" led the pack Friday with 11 nominations for the BAFTAs, the British film awards seen as a pointer for Oscar success.
Wes Anderson's stylish comedy is nominated in the best film category, where it is up against "Birdman", "Boyhood", "The Theory of Everything" and "The Imitation Game".
Dark comedy "Birdman", which is tipped for glory at the Golden Globe awards in Los Angeles this weekend, and Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything" both received 10 nominations each.
Movie stars are expected to pack out London's Royal Opera House for the awards ceremony on February 8, hosted for a 10th time by actor Stephen Fry.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts gongs are a useful guide to which way the Academy Awards might go on February 22.
Last year's best picture, "12 Years a Slave", best actress Cate Blanchett and best director Alfonso Cuaron went on to replicate their BAFTA success at the Oscars, while Cuaron's "Gravity" won the most awards at both.
"Boyhood" is the bookmakers' odds-on favourite for best film this time around in London.
Anderson was nominated in the best director and original screenplay categories for "The Grand Budapest Hotel", a touching story of a concierge and his employee for which Ralph Fiennes also received a best actor nod.
"Birdman" was also nominated for best director for Alejandro G. Inarritu, best actor for Michael Keaton as a washed-up movie star, and best supporting actor and actress for Edward Norton and Emma Stone.
- Redmayne versus Cumberbatch -
Eddie Redmayne is the favourite to win the best actor gong for his portrayal of the disabled astrophysicist Hawking in "The Theory of Everything", which looks at Hawking's relationship with his ex-wife Jane.
He is up against Benedict Cumberbatch for his role as another troubled British genius, mathematician Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game", for which co-star Keira Knightley is nominated in the best supporting actress category.
Redmayne insisted there was no rivalry between him and Cumberbatch, both products of England's elite public schools.
"I absolutely adore that man and think he's the most brilliant actor. And for me it's a real privilege to be in a list alongside him," he said.
Redmayne and Cumberbatch are nominated alongside Keaton, Fiennes and Jake Gyllenhaal for "Nightcrawler".
Redmayne said the real honour had been spending time with mastermind Hawking.
"The most rewarding part of it was getting to meet Stephen, Jane and the Hawking family," the 33-year-old Londoner said.
"The whole film was this extraordinary mixture of great privilege and great responsibility and just being able to enter the lives of these people for a few months and to hear their stories."
His co-star Felicity Jones, who played Jane Hawking, is nominated in the best actress category.
She is competing against Reese Witherspoon in "Wild", Rosamund Pike in "Gone Girl", and Amy Adams in "Big Eyes", though Julianne Moore is the bookmakers' clear favourite for her eponymous role as an Alzheimer's sufferer in "Still Alice".
© 2015 AFP