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Bafta 2007: The Queen leads nominations

Dame Helen Mirren in The Queen

Story by Jack Foley

STEPHEN Frears’ royal drama The Queen leads the nominations for this year’s Orange Bafta film awards with 10 nominations.

The picture, which follows the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death, is in the running for best film, as well as best actress (for Dame Helen Mirren) and best director (Stephen Frears).

But it faces some pretty tough competition from the likes of Bond film Casino Royale, which picked up nine nominations, and fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth, which attracted eight nods.

Indie hit Little Miss Sunshine and fashion comedy The Devil Wears Prada have also attracted more than five nominations each.

In the best film category, The Queen is up against Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Departed, Kevin Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland, Little Miss Sunshine and Brad Pitt drama Babel.

Dame Helen, 61, meanwhile, is up against Dame Judi Dench, for Notes On A Scandal, as well as Penelope Cruz (Volver), Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) and Kate Winslet (Little Children).

Bond star Daniel Craig is one of three British actors named in the best actor category, along with Richard Griffiths (The History Boys) and Peter O’Toole (Venus). But they also face tough competition from Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed) and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland).

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary and prizes will be handed out at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden on February 11, 2007.

However, this year will mark the first time in six years that the ceremony will not be hosted by comedian Stephen Fry, who stepped down last year. His replacement is yet to be announced.

The Baftas have grown in prominence since 2001 ever since being rescheduled to take place before the Oscars. It’s now viewed as one of the most important awards gatherings and regularly attracts the cream of Hollywood’s stars.

Last year’s guests included George Clooney and Nicole Kidman.

Last year’s big winner was Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, which rode off with four awards, including best film and best director.

The nominations in full