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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 December, 2004, 16:30 GMT
Honour for veteran film director
Ken Loach
Ken Loach's career has spanned 40 years
Award-winning movie director Ken Loach is to be honoured for his outstanding contribution to cinema.

Loach, 58, will receive a special award from the London Film Critics' Circle for a 40-year career.

Loach shot to prominence with his hard-hitting 1966 television drama Cathy Come Home.

Mike Leigh's Vera Drake is in the running for seven honours - including best British film - at the ceremony to be held in London on 9 February.

Best newcomer

Imelda Staunton, who stars in the gritty abortion film, is nominated for best actress along with Oscar-winner Charlize Theron for Monster and Nicole Kidman for Birth.

Best actor nominees include Johnny Depp for Finding Neverland, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Aviator and Geoffrey Rush for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

The main nominations for Film of the Year include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Aviator, House of Flying Daggers and Sideways.

Vera Drake will be up against Ae Fond Kiss, Shaun of the Dead, Finding Neverland and My Summer of Love in the best British film category.

Freddie Highmore, the 12-year-old star of Finding Neverland, is up for best British newcomer, while Kate Winslet has been nominated for best British actress for her role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Mariella Frostrup will host the 25th annual awards, which are held in aid of the NSPCC, at London's Dorchester Hotel.

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