Jan 9, 2015 4:12 AM

'Grand Budapest Hotel' leads British film award contenders

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) Comic confection "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is the surprise front-runner for the British Academy Film Awards, while English acting darlings Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are competing in the best-actor category.

Wes Anderson's "Hotel" received 11 nominations Friday, including best picture and best director. Ralph Fiennes was nominated for best actor as the unflappable concierge of a chaotic European hostelry.

Acting nominees also include Michael Keaton, as a washed-up actor aiming for a comeback in "Birdman." The Alejandro Inarritu-directed movie was nominated in 10 categories, as was James Marsh's "The Theory of Everything," which stars Redmayne as physicist Stephen Hawking.

Redmayne said his acting nomination was "beyond imagination." He insisted he feels no rivalry with Cumberbatch, nominated for playing World War II code-breaker Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game." That film received nine nominations.

"One can try and create a rivalry but it will not happen!" Redmayne said from Los Angeles. "We both absolutely understand people wanting to pitch us against each other, but we are old, old friends and I think he is the most wonderful actor. He is sensational in 'The Imitation Game' and I love watching him. "

Jake Gyllenhaal is also nominated for his performance as a sleazy journalist in "Nightcrawler." But there was no recognition for Timothy Spall, whose performance as artist J.M.W. Turner in "Mr. Turner" took the best-actor prize at Cannes.

Best-actress contenders are Felicity Jones for "The Theory of Everything," Amy Adams for "Big Eyes," Julianne Moore for "Still Alice," Rosamund Pike for "Gone Girl" and Reese Witherspoon for "Wild."

Other front-runners include Richard Linklater's decade-spanning "Boyhood" and Damien Chazelle's drumming drama "Whiplash," with five nominations each.

The best-picture nominees are "Birdman," ''Boyhood," ''The Grand Budapest Hotel," ''The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything."

The separate category of best British picture includes "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything" alongside tense Northern Ireland drama "'71," alien chiller "Under the Skin" and animated ursine adventure "Paddington."

Winners of the awards, known as BAFTAs, will be decided by 6,500 members of the British film academy and announced at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 8.

The British prizes are seen as an indicator of likely success at Hollywood's Academy Awards, whose nominees are announced next week.


Online: http://www.bafta.org/

Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless


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