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And the winner is… London rolls out red carpet for BAFTA Film Awards

file photo: foundry workers make the castings of the iconic british academy of film and television awards (bafta) masks, ahead of the annual awards ceremony, london
A mould and a finished mask as workers at NewPro Foundries make the castings of the iconic British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) masks

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

Hollywood stars descended on London on Sunday for the annual BAFTA Film Awards, where U.S. historical drama “Oppenheimer”, one of the highest-grossing films of 2023, leads nominations for Britain’s top movie honours.

The three-hour epic about the making of the atomic bomb during World War Two has 13 nods, including for the night’s top prize – best film – which it is the current favourite to win.

Also leading betting odds are the film’s Irish star Cillian Murphy, who plays the American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, to win the leading actor prize and Briton Christopher Nolan for best director.

“Really deeply impactful stories resonate with audiences through the ages, and it is a story for the ages,” Anna Higgs, chair of the BAFTA Film Committee, told Reuters on the ceremony’s red carpet at the Royal Festival Hall, by the River Thames.

The other contenders for best film include Emma Stone’s sex-charged gothic comedy “Poor Things”, “The Zone of Interest” – about the commandant of Auschwitz and his family living next to the death camp, Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”, about the murders of members of the Osage Nation in the 1920s, courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall” and “The Holdovers”, a comedy set in a boys’ boarding school.

“Poor Things” has 11 nominations, including one for previous BAFTA and Oscar winner Stone, who is the favourite to win the leading actress category.

“We just hope that people feel like this is a unique cinema experience and it says something about the world,” writer Tony McNamara, whose “Poor Things” script is nominated for adapted screenplay, told Reuters.

None of the best director contenders has previously won the award and four out of the six are first-time director nominees.

“Anatomy of a Fall” director Justine Triet is the only woman on the list, with the omission of “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig raising some eyebrows.

“Barbie”, the highest grossing film of 2023, has five nominations overall, including leading actress for Margot Robbie and supporting actor for Ryan Gosling.

As well as a spate of celebrities, BAFTA President Prince William is also expected at the awards, albeit without his wife Kate, who recently underwent surgery.

Known as the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), the ceremony will be hosted by actor David Tennant.

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