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Glitz and grit as movies do battle for top accolade at Baftas

By Laura Harding

Glittery Hollywood musical La La Land will do battle with gritty British drama I, Daniel Blake for the top prize at the EE British Academy Film Awards tomorrow night.

Emily Blunt, Andrew Garfield and Hugh Grant are among the UK stars hoping to walk away with Bafta acting gongs.

Seamus McGarvey, an Armagh-born cinematographer, is also up for an award for his work on Nocturnal Animals.

La La Land, a whimsical love story about an aspiring actress and a jazz musician, leads the nominations with 11 and has already made Oscar history by landing more nods than any other musical.

It will go head-to-head with Ken Loach's unflinching examination of life in the welfare system for the best film Bafta, after winning the coveted Palme d'Or prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Also vying for best film is sci-fi movie Arrival, melancholy drama Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight, a coming of age story about a gay black man growing up in Miami.

Blunt has received a leading actress nod for her role in The Girl On The Train, while Garfield is nominated for leading actor for playing a US Army medic in Mel Gibson's latest film, Hacksaw Ridge.

While Garfield's performance won critical praise, he faces stiff competition from Casey Affleck, who has already won a Golden Globe for his performance in Manchester By The Sea.

They will both compete against La La Land's Ryan Gosling, who also scored a Golden Globe, Jake Gyllenhaal for Nocturnal Animals and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic.

Blunt will go head-to-head with Meryl Streep for the film Florence Foster Jenkins, Amy Adams for Arrival, Golden Globe winner Emma Stone for La La Land and Natalie Portman for her portrayal of former first lady Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.

Grant received a supporting actor nod for his role opposite Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins and will compete against fellow Brits Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who is nominated for Nocturnal Animals, and Dev Patel, who got a nod for Lion.

They will take on American stars Mahershala Ali and Jeff Bridges, for Moonlight and Hell Or High Water respectively.

Skyfall star Naomie Harris is nominated in the supporting actress category for playing a drug-addicted mother alongside Ali in Moonlight, while I, Daniel Blake star Hayley Squires is nominated in the same category for her role as a young woman scraping by in the welfare system.

They will compete with Manchester By The Sea's Michelle Williams, Lion star Nicole Kidman and perceived front-runner Viola Davis for Fences.

Philosophical sci-fi Arrival and Tom Ford's noir thriller Nocturnal Animals both receive nine nominations, while Manchester By The Sea got six.

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