Director Steven Spielberg's film "Lincoln" leads the field with 10 BAFTA film nominations, with "Les Miserables" and "Life of Pi" close behind. James Bond movie "Skyfall" garners eight nominations, but not in the coveted best film category.
DREAMWORKS PICTURES - "Lincoln", the story of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, won 10 BAFTA nominations on Wednesday (January 9), putting it ahead of the pack at Britain's top film honours.
The biopic was shortlisted in categories including best film, actor, supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones) and supporting actress (Sally Field), but director Steven Spielberg was not nominated.
Added to its domination of the Golden Globe contenders going into Sunday (January 13) night's awards ceremony, British critics said the film appeared to be in pole position to sweep Oscar nominations which are announced on Thursday (January 10).
Iranian hostage thriller "Argo" won seven nominations and "Anna Karenina", an adaptation of the Russian novel, earned six.
Quentin Tarantino's quirky slavery-era Western "Django Unchained" and "Zero Dark Thirty", about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, were just behind with five nominations apiece.
"Les Miserables", the movie version of the global hit stage musical, and shipwreck saga "Life of Pi" followed with nine BAFTA nominations each, while the latest instalment of James Bond, "Skyfall", garnered eight.
Skyfall's Judi Dench was nominated for best supporting actress as Bond's spymaster M and Spanishactor Javier Bardem was nominated for best supporting actor as the villain Silva. There is likely to be disappointment, however, that the movie which has become the most successful in British box office history, with critical acclaim to match, was not included on the most coveted shortlist - best film.
That award will be contested by Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty.
Up for best actor alongside Day-Lewis is Ben Affleck (Argo), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook),Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) and Joaquin Phoenix in Scientology tale The Master.
The best actress award is between 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock),Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Marion Cotillard(Rust and Bone).
Alongside Germany's Michael Haneke (Amour) and Ben Affleck (Argo), Ang Lee is in the running for best director (Life of Pi) as is Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty).
The BAFTAs have a patchy record in predicting which films go on to scoop the biggest movie honours, the Oscars, although last year the main winner in London, "The Artist", also swept to success at the Academy Awards.
The awards ceremony for the BAFTAs, formally called the EE British Academy Film Awards, takes place in London on Feb. 10.