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British stars need bumper Bafta win to end US run of success

Published 11/02/2016

Henry Cavill is one of the stars backing the Bafta campaign to encourage emerging talent to enter the film, television and video games industries
Henry Cavill is one of the stars backing the Bafta campaign to encourage emerging talent to enter the film, television and video games industries

The UK will need to raise its game at Sunday's Bafta film awards to stop the US extending its lead in the battle for the top gongs.

American stars picked up almost all the top honours in last year's ceremony, with only Eddie Redmayne flying the flag for Britain by winning best actor for The Theory of Everything.

Redmayne has been nominated again this year for his role in The Danish Girl, but faces a tough battle against four big names: Matt Damon (for The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo).

While Britain has a good track record of winning best actor, its poor performances in other categories has allowed the US to pull ahead in the overall tally of awards.

Since 2006, the UK has picked up a total of 30 of the top gongs, while the US has won 39.

The Press Association's analysis of Bafta winners in 10 key categories over the past 10 years reveals t he UK and US were level-pegging until 2010, since when America has moved ahead.

Big years for the US included 2013, when Ben Affleck won best director for Argo, which was also named best film, while Quentin Tarantino won best screenplay for Django Unchained and Anne Hathaway picked up best supporting actress.

In 2015 it was Boyhood's turn to take the bulk of the honours, winning best film, best director for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.

The UK's best performance in the past decade was back in 2008, when it picked up six of the top 10 awards, including best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood) and best film (Atonement).

A UK production hasn't been named best film since The King's Speech in 2011. This was the same year Britain also triumphed in the categories for best actor (Colin Firth), best supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter) and best original screenplay (David Seidler), all for The King's Speech.

Alongside Redmayne, Britain's best chance for a win this year could be Dame Maggie Smith, who is nominated in the best actress category for her role in The Lady in the Van.

She is up against Alicia Vikander, Redmayne's co-star in The Danish Girl, plus Room's Brie Larson, Carol's Cate Blanchett and Brooklyn's Saoirse Ronan.

If Dame Maggie fails to win, Christian Bale may be Britain's next best hope. He is up for best supporting actor for his role in The Big Short.

This year's ceremony is taking place at London's Royal Opera House, and is being hosted by Stephen Fry.

It will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.

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