Sweeping epics Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Gladiator dominated the British Academy Film Awards nominations announced today, with 14 nods each, including one apiece for best film.
Besides the de rigueur nods to Erin Brockovich's Julia Roberts and Cast Away's Tom Hanks, acting noms went to Tiger's Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi and to Gladiator stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, and late British actor Oliver Reed.
Crowd-pleasing Billy Elliot earned 13 BAFTA nominations, including ones for best actor (Jamie Bell), most promising newcomer (director Stephen Daldry), best film, and best British film.
The BAFTAs are not given only to British-made pictures; homegrown films can be honored with the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film. Besides Billy Elliot, contenders for the Korda award this year include Chicken Run, The House of Mirth, The Last Resort, and Sexy Beast.
The BAFTA ceremony, which usually is scheduled after its American counterpart, the Oscars, has been bumped up this year to Feb. 25, a full month before the Academy Awards.
A new eligibility ruling means that Chocolat, Almost Famous, and The Last Resort, none of which are even in theaters yet in the United Kingdom, were able to sneak in as contenders. The eligibility window also means that Hilary Swank is nominated for a BAFTA this year for her role in Boys Don't Cry, the same part that won her an Oscar last year.
Another oddity in the BAFTA noms is that Almost Famous' Kate Hudson is competing in the lead category, not the supporting one, for which she won a Golden Globe.
The nominations were announced today by writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry (the star of Wilde), who will host the awards show Feb. 25. The London ceremony will be shown live on satellite channel Sky One.
BAFTA nominations for major categories:
Almost Famous Billy Elliot Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Erin Brockovich Gladiator
THE DAVID LEAN AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTION
Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Steven Soderbergh, Erin Brockovich Ridley Scott, Gladiator Steven Soderbergh, Traffic
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Juliette Binoche, Chocolat Kate Hudson, Almost Famous Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich Hilary Swank, Boys Don't Cry Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Jamie Bell, Billy Elliot Russell Crowe, Gladiator Michael Douglas, Wonder Boys Tom Hanks, Cast Away Geoffrey Rush, Quills
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Judi Dench, Chocolat Frances McDormand, Almost Famous Lena Olin, Chocolat Julie Walters, Billy Elliot Zhang Ziyi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Benicio Del Toro, Traffic Albert Finney, Erin Brockovich Gary Lewis, Billy Elliot Joaquin Phoenix, Gladiator Oliver Reed, Gladiator
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon The Girl on the Bridge Harry, He's Here to Help In the Mood for Love Malèna
Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe Billy Elliot, Lee Hall Erin Brockovich, Susannah Grant Gladiator, David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Chocolat, Robert Nelson Jacobs Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, James Schamus, Wang Hui-Ling, Tsai Kuo-Jung High Fidelity, D.V. De Vincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg Traffic, Stephen Gaghan Wonder Boys, Steve Kloves
THE ANTHONY ASQUITH AWARD FOR ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC
Almost Famous, Nancy Wilson Billy Elliot, Stephen Warbeck Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tan Dun Gladiator, Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard O Brother, Where Art Thou?, T-Bone Burnett, Carter Burwell