‘Gravity’ and ’12 Years A Slave’ lead Bafta race

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12 years a slave

Space drama “Gravity” received 11 Bafta nominations on Wednesday, one more than the Oscar-tipped “12 Years A Slave”.

“Gravity” star Sandra Bullock was nominated for best actress, while Alfonso Cuaron is in the running for best director in Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars.

British filmmaker Steve McQueen was nominated for best director for his brutal slavery epic “12 Years A Slave”, while its star Chiwetel Ejiofor is nominated for the leading actor gong.

Michael Fassbender and rising Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o received supporting nominations for their role in the film, which is hotly tipped for Oscar glory.

Ejiofor, who was raised in London, said: “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.”

“American Hustle”, the drama about two con artists embroiled with the FBI in the 1970s, equalled the ten Bafta nominations for “12 Years A Slave”.

Its star Christian Bale will go up against Ejiofor, Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips”, Bruce Dern for “Nebraska” and Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street” for the best leading man award.

Bookmakers immediately made Ejiofor favourite to win his category with odds of 1-4, while “12 Years A Slave” is their favourite for best film.

In the best actress category, Bullock will challenge “American Hustle” star Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine”, Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr Banks” and Judi Dench for “Philomena”.

“Captain Phillips” and “Philomena” — based on a true story about the Catholic Church in Ireland selling babies to wealthy Americans in the 1950s — complete the five-strong list of contenders for best film.

The awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Opera House in London on February 16.

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