'Lincoln' leads race for British Academy Awards

'Lincoln' heads British Academy Film Awards nominations list with 10 while both 'Les Miserables' and 'Life of Pi' follow close behind with nine each

LONDON — The historical drama "Lincoln" leads the race for the British Academy Film Awards, with 10 nominations including best picture at the U.K. equivalent of the Oscars.

Epic musical "Les Miserables" and adventure saga "Life of Pi" received nine nominations each on Wednesday. "Skyfall," the 23rd James Bond film, received eight — a rare feat for an action movie — and Iran hostage thriller "Argo" took seven.

"Lincoln" focuses on the last months in the life of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, as he struggled to end the Civil War and pass a constitutional amendment banning slavery.

Britain's Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated for leading actor for his uncanny embodiment of the iconic president, and there are supporting nominations for Sally Field as his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens. But the film's director, Steven Spielberg, failed to get a nod.

In addition to "Lincoln," the best picture nominees are "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Argo" and Osama bin Laden thriller "Zero Dark Thirty."

"Les Miserables" is also a contender in the best British film category, alongside "Anna Karenina," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Seven Psychopaths" and "Skyfall."

Ben Affleck is nominated both as director of "Argo" and as its leading actor. The other male acting contenders are Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper for "Silver Linings Playbook," Hugh Jackman for "Les Miserables" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."

"Skyfall" star Daniel Craig was snubbed, but the film received supporting acting nominations for Judi Dench's spy chief and Javier Bardem's scene-stealing villain.

The best-actress shortlist includes 85-year-old "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva — who was nominated for the same prize 52 years ago for "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" — Helen Mirren for "Hitchcock," Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty" and Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone."

The heavyweight best-director list includes Affleck, Michael Haneke for Cannes Film Festival prize-winner "Amour," Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi" and Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty."

"Amour," a poignant portrait of old age is up for best foreign-language film, along with Norway's "Headhunters," Denmark's "The Hunt" and French films "Rust and Bone" and "Untouchable."

In recent years, the British awards, known as BAFTAs, have helped underdog films including "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" gain momentum ahead of the Oscars.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Feb. 10, two weeks before the Hollywood awards.

 

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