Entertainment & Arts

Slave drama tipped to sweep Bafta film awards

Media captionLIVE: BBC News Baftas special programme

Dame Judi Dench, Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio will be among the stars on the red carpet later for the Bafta film awards.

Space thriller Gravity leads the way with 11 nominations, including best film, but 12 Years a Slave is tipped to be the night's big winner.

The Baftas are the last major movie awards before the Oscars on 2 March.

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will attend Sunday's event at London's Royal Opera House.

The awards, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 21:00 GMT, are hosted for a ninth time by actor Stephen Fry.

Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, about a free black man who is kidnapped and enslaved, has 10 nominations - including best film, best director and best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Bookies think the harrowing historical drama will scoop five of the major categories.

"The odds suggest that 12 Years A Slave will sweep the boards on Sunday night," said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.

American Hustle also has 10 nominations, and its stars Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence appear in all the acting categories.

The 1970s drama, about two con artists who get entangled with the FBI, is also up for best film, with David O Russell nominated for best director and original screenplay.

Other movies competing for best film include Somali piracy thriller Captain Phillips, and Philomena, based on the true story of an Irish woman trying to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption.

Captain Phillips has nine nominations while Behind the Candelabra, with Michael Douglas as Liberace, and Disney story Saving Mr Banks have five nominations each.

Philomena's Dame Judi competes in the best actress category against American Hustle's Adams, Gravity's Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks and the runaway favourite Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine.

The nominations saw Dame Judi set a Bafta record, with her 15th acting nomination.

Media captionLizo Mzimba looks at the contenders for the Baftas 2014

In the best actor field, Ejiofor is the bookies' favourite against Bale, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street.

The outstanding British film category sees blockbuster Gravity up against the tiny-budgeted drama The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard's contemporary English fable about two Bradford schoolboys who collect scrap metal on a horse and cart.

'Bradford to Baftas'

Speaking to the BBC recently, Barnard joked about turning up at the Baftas "in spacesuits on horseback".

The film's producer Tracy O'Riordan added: "It is like David versus Goliath. We are a tiny film - it was made for $2m, while Gravity was $100m - so it's strange but wonderful to be in the same category. We're bringing a bit of Bradford to the Baftas."

Also nominated in the outstanding British film category are Philomena, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Saving Mr Banks and Rush.

Gravity, Saving Mr Banks and Rush all qualified for the British film category because they were either filmed in the UK, utilised British effects companies or employed other British talent.

The Baftas can be an indicator of which films go on to win Academy Awards two weeks later.

Last year Argo won best film, Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor, and Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway took the best supporting acting prizes. They all went on to win Oscars.

Other nominees at the Baftas on Sunday night include Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender, Paul Greengrass, Sally Hawkins, Martin Scorsese and Oprah Winfrey.

Highest accolade

Presenters and guests include Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Irons, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stanley Tucci and Uma Thurman.

The ceremony will open with a duet from Tinie Tempah and Mercury Prize nominee Laura Mvula.

Prince William, the academy's president, will present Dame Helen Mirren with the British Academy fellowship, its highest accolade.

Previous winners have included Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick.

Peter Greenaway will receive the outstanding British contribution to cinema award.

The winner of the public vote for this year's Rising Star award will also be unveiled.

12 Years a Slave's Bafta-nominated actress Lupita Nyong'o is up against Kill Your Darlings actor Dane DeHaan, Sunshine on Leith's George MacKay, Blue is the Warmest Colour star Lea Seydoux, and Will Poulter from We're the Millers.

The BBC News Channel/ BBC World will be reporting from the red carpet at 17:15 GMT. A special red carpet show will be broadcast by BBC Three at 20:30. The ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One at 21:00 GMT.

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