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It's battle Royal at the Baftas as UK takes on US in hunt for awards

By Ian Jones

Published 12/02/2016

Colin and Livia Firth joined a host of stars of film and TV at the Bafta dinner
Colin and Livia Firth joined a host of stars of film and TV at the Bafta dinner
Natalie Dormer
Ellie Bamber
Jenny Agutter

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

As the A-list partied at the Bafta Film Awards Gala Dinner in London's Royal Opera House last night, the pressure is growing on British nominees this year after American stars picked up almost all the top honours in 2015.

Only Eddie Redmayne was able to fly the flag for Britain by winning best actor for The Theory of Everything last year.

Redmayne is nominated again this year for The Danish Girl, but faces a tough battle against Matt Damon (The Martian), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and Bryan Cranston (Trumbo).

While Britain has a good record for 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.

A Press Association analysis of Bafta winners in 10 key categories over the past 10 years reveals the 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, also best film, while Quentin Tarantino won best screenplay for Django Unchained and Anne Hathaway best supporting actress.

In 2015 it was Boyhood's turn, with best film, best director for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.

Alongside Redmayne, Britain's best chance could be Dame Maggie Smith, nominated as best actress for The Lady in the Van.

She is up against Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Room's Brie Larson, Carol's Cate Blanchett and Brooklyn's Saoirse Ronan.

Christian Bale may be Britain's next best hope. He's up for best supporting actor for The Big Short.

This year's ceremony at London's Royal Opera House is hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.

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