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Cold Mountain leads Bafta shortlist

Story by: Jack Foley

AS predicted by many pundits, Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain leads the nominations for this year’s Bafta awards, with 13 nominations.

The American Civil War epic gained one more nomination than The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and looks to be the favourite in the best film category, which it will contest with the likes of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Lost in Translation.

Failing that, Cold Mountain could also triumph in the best British film category, where it is up against the likes of Love Actually and Calendar Girls, while Jude Law and Anthony Minghella are both nominated for best actor and director, respectively.

The shortlist was officially announced by presenter, Stephen Fry, at a ceremony on Monday, January 19, and is said to ‘demonstrate the depth of British talent’.

Of the other British biggie of the year, Richard Curtis’ Love Actually picked up three nominations, including one for best supporting actor, for Bill Nighy, although it was expected to perform a little better.

Hollywood’s big guns were in abundance, however, with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings finale expected to be the biggest challenger to Minghella.

It is in the running for best film, as well as a number of technical categories, mirroring the Bafta recognition for the other two films in the successful trilogy.

The biggest surprise, however, came in the acting categories, where both Sean Penn and Scarlett Johansson unusually scooped two nominations each in their respective sections.

Penn is nominated for his roles in dramas Mystic River and 21 Grams, which will pitt him against 21 Grams co-star, Benicio Del Toro, as well as Bill Murray (Lost in Translation) and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), while hotly-tipped Johansson is shortlisted for Girl with a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation.

Also up for best actress are Uma Thurman, for Kill Bill: Volume One (which wasn’t recognised in the best film category, despite making the long-list), Anne Reid, for The Mother, and Naomi Watts, for 21 Grams.

Best director nominees include Peter Jackson, Sofia Coppola and Peter Weir.

The awards will be presented on February 22.

Best film shortlist

Big Fish
Cold Mountain
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

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