| 9.6°C Belfast

Carpet rolled out for Bafta awards


The elite of the film industry are gathering for the Bafta film awards

The elite of the film industry are gathering for the Bafta film awards

The elite of the film industry are gathering for the Bafta film awards

The champagne is on ice and the red carpet is being rolled out as some of the biggest names in Hollywood gather for the Bafta film awards.

The event, hosted by Stephen Fry at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, is the biggest movie bash of the year in the UK and is seen as an accurate pointer for Oscar success.

One of the night's most intriguing contests sees Margaret Thatcher face screen siren Marilyn Monroe as the actresses who play two of the 20th century's most famous women go head-to-head.

Black-and-white silent film The Artist is the award frontrunner with 12 nominations, while Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has 11 nods despite being shunned at the Golden Globes.

Meryl Streep looks set to continue her awards run, with a nod for best actress for her portrayal of the former prime minister in The Iron Lady. She is up against Michelle Williams for her role as Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, and Tilda Swinton as the mother of a killer in We Need To Talk About Kevin. Argentinian actress Berenice Bejo is also in the running for The Artist, alongside US star Viola Davis for The Help.

The Artist cements its reputation as an awards heavyweight, competing for the top prizes of best film and director. Its French director Michel Hazanavicius admitted he had been a "bit mad" to embark on a black-and-white silent film, but said he was "thrilled, delighted and honoured" to be recognised by Bafta voters.

Nominations for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy include best film, director, British film and leading actor for Gary Oldman, whose rivals at the awards include heart-throbs Brad Pitt for Moneyball and George Clooney for The Descendants. Irish-German star Michael Fassbender is up for leading actor for Shame, the movie about sex addiction, and French actor Jean Dujardin is nominated for The Artist.

Hugo, Martin Scorsese's first children's film, has nine nominations, including best director. My Week With Marilyn has six and The Help - set in the early 1960s racially-segregated American South - and War Horse are each nominated five times.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Artist compete for the top prize of best film with The Help, The Descendants and crime thriller Drive.

Drive's Carey Mulligan and My Week With Marilyn's Dame Judi Dench are among the rivals for supporting actress. Kenneth Branagh is among the nominees for supporting actor for his portrayal of Laurence Olivier in the film about Monroe.